Bread Craft- A Roanoke Restaurant Review

Hey Roanoke bloggers! Today’s guest post is from David who blogs at From Ballparks to BBQ. If you find yourself in Roanoke, be sure to check out this local bakery! If you’re interested in submitting a guest post, click here


When a place calls itself an “artisanal bakery,” I get skeptical. Everyone is now making sandwiches on artisan bread and I don’t even know what it means anymore. I think some restaurants take store bought bread and let it get stale and hard and then voila – “Artisan!” When I saw Bread Craft in Downtown Roanoke and the phrase “artisanal bakery” on the window, I figured “yeah right.” Well…I was wrong.


I have now been to Bread Craft on three different occasions, and the baking has been impressive each time. For my first visit, I had breakfast with a co-worker and tried the croissant with spinach, feta, and artichoke. The croissant was light, flaky, buttery and delicious. My previous two visits have been for lunch and I’ve ordered paninis both times, which were both very good. The Turkey Florentine Panini was my favorite of the two. It comes with turkey, bacon, spinach, artichokes, feta, and fresh mozzarella on flatbread. I don’t even like artichokes but I guess I do when I’m ordering them at Bread Craft. The other panini I’ve tried is the Roast Beef, which was also good, but I would recommend the Turkey Florentine if I had to choose between the two. It makes such a difference when the bread is one of the highlights of a sandwich, and that’s what you get at Bread Craft. Sandwiches are around $6.50 and are served with a side of a salad I don’t really know how to describe. I think it’s pickled cauliflower and mixed with a couple other vegetables.

The atmosphere at Bread Craft is great because it feels like an authentic, European café. It reminds me of the cafes I’ve visited in France and Switzerland. The fresh pastries on display, baskets of fresh baguettes, unique loaves that are only made on certain days of the week, and a friendly staff that knows its customers by name all help create this unique vibe. Even the touch of having small, round tables that are designed for parties of two help create the European café ambiance. It’s something people probably would have laughed at in Downtown Roanoke 15 years ago, but it now appears to be thriving.

Between On the Rise and Bread Craft, Downtown Roanoke has two great bakeries. And the fresh baked breads and pastries at Bread Craft help it meet the description of a true artisanal bakery.

Bread Craft
106 South Jefferson Street, Roanoke, VA 24011

Restaurant Review: The River City

One of our newest bloggers, David, who writes at From Ballparks to BBQ recently tried a new restaurant in Roanoke, VA called The River City. Check out his delicious review!

The River City

The River and Rail is a new restaurant in the Crystal Spring neighborhood of South Roanoke. It is located in the old Lipes Pharmacy building along one of Roanoke’s most beautiful and quaint streets. The restaurant features outdoor seating, a cozy dining area, and a lively bar, all beautifully decorated and classy looking. Everything about the décor gives the impression that a great deal of planning and thought went into putting this restaurant together, and that feeling continues when looking at the menu.Nicole and I are trying to start a new tradition of having Sunday brunch together. It gives us the chance to spend some quality time together on Sunday mornings and talk about the past week and life in general. It also gives us an excuse to try some unique foods at different restaurants. Roanoke doesn’t have a ton of restaurants that offer Sunday brunch, but a decent number of them do and I look forward to discovering some cool new places we haven’t tried before. One of the first new places for us was The River and Rail, which we visited a couple weeks ago.

We decided to sit outside because it was a beautiful day and it was fun to see people coming by on their Sunday morning walks. The menu featured a number of items that looked very appetizing and I was torn between the Grass Fed Beef Burger or the Carolina Smoked Shrimp & Grits. Even though I’d heard great things about the burger, I ordered the shrimp & grits because it felt more appropriate for a brunch setting. Nicole decided to try the Hanger Steak & Eggs.

Shrimp & Grits
Our food came out and we both agreed that it looked incredible. My shrimp and grits were served in a large bowl and were topped with wild mushrooms, scallions, & a poached egg. The wild mushrooms were outstanding and offered such a different flavor than the typical mushrooms you get at the store or in most restaurants – so much more hearty, robust, and flavorful. The large shrimp were cooked perfectly and the grits (which I believe were rice grits) were also very good. And the poached egg added a rich, creamy flavor when I mixed it in with the shrimp and grits. Everything about my dish was excellent and I could say the same for Nicole’s. Her hanger steak had terrific flavor and was tender and juicy. I also really liked the sweet potato wedges and homemade ketchup that were served as one of her sides.

The prices for The River & Rail weren’t cheap, but this was a different experience than what we are typically used to in Roanoke. These dishes are being created using local ingredients and they are really featuring the great flavors of the ingredients – like the wild mushrooms in my dish. We paid $40 for brunch (including tip) but I would say it was $40 well spent. The service was good, the atmosphere was perfect, and the food had us telling everyone we knew about how good it was. It’s exactly what we were hoping for on our Sunday brunch date.
The River & Rail is the sort of place you’d expect to find on Highland Avenue in Atlanta or in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, and the type of restaurant that will make people want to visit Roanoke.
The River and Rail Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Guest Blogger: Eating Appalachia

Hi fellow VA bloggers—so fantastic to join you all in celebrating Virginia! I’m Jes of Eating Appalachia and I hail from Roanoke down in the southwestern corner Virginia. Originally from Atlanta, I made my home here after earning my MFA at Hollins University in Poetry (I was in it for the money…wink wink) and falling in love with the mountains, local produce, and a fantastic fellow who goes by G here on the internet. My blog centers on food (hence the “eating!”) and features vegan recipes and omni restaurant reviews from around the world. I guess you could say I live to eat—and now I’m even making a little bit of a living off it. Can’t beat that!

Introduction aside, today I’ve decided to share with you all a recipe that incorporates everything I stand for food-wise (fresh local produce, booze, and preservation)—Strawberry Bourbon Brown Sugar Preserves. While strawberries are now a bit out of season, this is definitely a recipe to hold onto for next year or one to make with some of the strawberries you might have frozen. And what beats a recipe with bourbon? (I swear, if you can put liquor in it, chances are I’ve already made it or it’s on my list!)

A few years ago I jumped on the canning train and even worked for an entrepreneur who opened a small local foods restaurant & store here in Roanoke. While the business venture didn’t pan out in the end, the time that I spent culling through boxes and boxes of fruits and vegetables, slicing & seasoning, and standing over giant pots of boiling water instilled what I think will be a life-long infatuation with fresh food preservation. It’s amazing all the different ways you can pickle and preserve. If you’re looking for a good place to learn how to can, check out the blog Food in Jars or the book Canning for a New Generation–love them both.

This particular recipe focuses on the sweeter side of preserved food and is a great way to honor the late spring’s bounty. While I love strawberry jam, I found myself wanting to make a more updated version of the classic recipe. A quick Google search left me wondering why on earth no one else had thought to add bourbon to strawberry preserves—seems like a no-brainer, right? So I decided to run with it. The resulting preserves are light and tart with a mellow, caramel-oak backtone, perfect to serve on freshly baked biscuits. While not overtly boozy, the bourbon adds a nice warmth to the preserves and gives them just a little more depth than you’d normally find in strawberry jam. Light. Sweet. Tart. Dark. These preserves pack a lot of differing flavors that definitely complement each other—Southern to the core with a bit of Appalachian flair.

Strawberry Bourbon Brown Sugar Preserves

  • 6 c Crushed strawberries (about 1.5 quarts whole)
  • 3 tbsp Low or no-sugar pectin (I used Ball’s)
  • 2/3 c Bourbon
  • 1 c Brown Sugar
  • Jars & lids for canning
  • Canning supplies

In a medium stock pot, combine the crushed strawberries and pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Add brown sugar and bourbon. Return to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

If canning, process in a hot water bath per these instructions for 10 minutes to fully preserve and seal.

Makes 2 ½ pints.


Virginia Love,

Jes of Eating Appalachia

Secondhand Sundays @ The Roanoke Market

Hello there VA Bloggers, and friends, my name is Bekuh and I blog over at Secondhand Sundays. Secondhand Sundays is my personal blog that showcases my love of vintage, food, crafts, and the great outdoors. I live in the southwest corner of Virginia with my husband Ryan and our pup named Nellie. I’m here today to share a little bit about our recent adventures at the historic Roanoke farmer’s market. It’s important to Roanokers that you add the word historic before farmer’s market whenever you mention the downtown area, just a little tip if you ever visit, wink wink.

Ryan and I are committed local shoppers and a huge portion of our monthly food budget goes towards locally sourced fruits and veggies. For a lot of people, my family included, this seems like a crazy budgetary decision considering we’re newlyweds with more than a few student loans to pay off, but it doesn’t have to be expensive to live this way. Farmer’s markets do have pricier booths, and organic can get outrageous quick, but with a little effort and menu planning you can find great deals on real produce. A bonus, you get to spend a morning with the one you love picking out all the goodies.

We love to go to the markets early when the booths are still being set-up and the crowds are sparse (this was right after the freak storm so the crowds were even more tame last week). We scope out what looks good, and what vendors carry items we’re anxious to look at, and then we get coffee or some goodies to eat while we plan our attack.

Now I’m not saying we don’t make some rash decisions on what to buy based on looks, like those carrots above. We had no plans to buy carrots but I couldn’t resist snatching up a bunch and they made a delicious addition to our grilling that night. You also have to remember to browse all of the stands for a good deal, the tomatoes below were beautiful but we ended up finding the same gorgeous tomatoes for $1.50 a pound just a few stalls down.

Farmer’s Markets are also a great source for floral and fauna and I love checking out the flower stalls both growing, and cut for bouquets. It usually inspires me to go home and redesign our centerpieces, or buy a bunch of flowers for our bedside table. They had giant succulents for $7 and I found it really hard to resist such a great deal.

Buying in bunches seems to be the best method for saving money at the markets; containers full of potatoes, or cucumbers that they sell at a discount. You can usually tell when something is hitting it’s peak season because they have bunches and bunches of it at every stall. I’ve also been told you can haggle with the stall vendors, though they’re mostly older farmers and I feel terrible asking them to make things cheaper. Their sweet old faces always melt my heart.

We left the market with a container of cucumbers, potatoes, three tomatoes, a basket of peaches, and a bunch of carrots having only spent $14. Take that Walmart and Kroger, I kick your chemical and pesticide covered veggies in the face. I hope I’ve inspired you to visit your local farmer’s market and try out the delicious foods that live there. I promise you won’t be disappointed by the quality or the price. You are what you eat, at least that’s what I’ve always been told.

big kiss,