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 • Food & Drink  • TasteBudz Plus – January 18, 2018

TasteBudz Plus – January 18, 2018

We’ve been out and about eating (and on occasion, moderately drinking) our way around town. Why? Because we love you. I think it’s my self-sacrificing spirit that I like most about myself, except, of course, my humility. But, enough about me. Let’s talk some food. Then we’ll get to the Plus part – Some great weekend music.

MY BIG FAT GREEK CELEBRATION: “Opa!” Isn’t that what they say at Greek weddings and at other times of celebration? Well, there’s a new reason you may be hearing that exclamation throughout the Twin Hickory area as folks discover the recently opened Opa Greek Grill at 11363 Nuckols Road (you know, where Cheeburger Cheeburger used to be). I haven’t had the chance to dine there yet, but from all that I’m hearing, it’s worth a trip to enjoy some really excellent Greek cooking. Those who have eaten there tell me that the pastichio is wonderful. That’s my touchstone in determining the quality of any Greek restaurant. If the pastichio isn’t superb, I pass on by. So, as soon as I get to my next “blow your diet” day, it’s pastichio for me at Opa. I also hear the gyros are very good, too. I spoke with Maria, the manager and she tells me that they are available with either lamb, beef, chicken or falafel. Maria confirmed what I’ve been hearing from others – everything is delicious. Opa!

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A BIT OF THE IRISH: Whitney Kiatsuranon, one of our favorite Taste Budz, has been enjoying some Irish fare recently and shares her experience.

It is safe to say that one of my favorite pastimes is dining on Irish foods inside of a good ole’ fashioned Irish pub. One such place can be found at The Local Eatery and Pub at 1106 West Main Street. No frills, no fluff just good food and Irish spirits. Bartender, D.W. says, “I really like that we have a scratch kitchen; we make our salad dressings and sauces, and anything can be made to order. It’s the most authentic Irish food around and you have got to try the Shepard’s pie.” Local owner, who prefers to be identified as Thrasher, tells me, “We import a lot of the ingredients to make sure everything is authentic.” Should good pub-style food not be enough to peak your interest then maybe a good tug at your beer strings or heart strings will. Starting March 16, The Local will collaborate with 3 Notched Brewery and Old Dominion Emerald Society to give back to local firefighters of Irish descent, who have medical expenses. So, if you’re looking for good food, good beer and a good cause, I’ll see ya’ at The Local.

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TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: I also hit another great dining spot out in Goochland. I’ve always enjoyed the Hickory Notch Grill at 2031 Broad Street Road in Maidens. But I heard that it’s gotten even better. The popular family-style restaurant is now under the ownership of Rebecca Forbes. I spoke with Rebecca’s sister-in-law Tamara Hyde, who is the new GM there. Tamara, who has years of experience in the business, says that the restaurant will continue to offer the same wonderful service and great food for which the grill is famous. However, she adds that they’ll be taking things up a (hickory) notch or two and bringing some of their own personal favorites to the menu. Those favorites include fresh seafood, rib eye and T-bone steaks. But, don’t worry, they’ll still be serving the same great barbecue, including their very popular barbecued ribs.

Tamara says that currently, the grill offers beer and wine, but that there are plans to expand the bar menu to include your favorite cocktails come spring.

And if you like a little music with your meal, there are live country bands on Tuesday nights and live Bluegrass on Thursdays. Entertainment begins around 6 p.m. Tamara adds that Hickory Notch may be adding more live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights this spring. The restaurant is open for 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 ‘til 8 on Sundays.

WINTER FUN: Wegman’s food markets are holding a big Winter Menu Event at various stations throughout their stores this Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 20 and 21). They’ll be offering samples of their new seasonal menu from the winter 2018 issue of Wegmans Menu magazine. The fun runs from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. both days. Customers can taste and get meal inspiration for every night of the week – from starters to veggies to desserts.

Some of the highlights will include ready to cook brown sugar barbecue pork shoulder, Buffalo shrimp roll, Raspberry Fruit Delight yogurt and salted caramel cheesecake,

THE FRUGAL FOODIE: Every week, I’m going to share some of my finds – places where I can eat a lot and spend a little. One such place is JJ’s Grille at 10298 Staples Mill Road. They have some excellent nightly specials such as: Monday night you can enjoy a loaded baked potato for just $6. On Tuesdays, it’s a burger and fries for $6 and on Wednesday, sink your teeth into a tender sirloin for only $11. Thursday night is Wing Night, with wings just 79 cents each.

The Sports Page Bar & Grille restaurants offer some nightly specials. In Mechanicsville, the lineup includes, 85 cent wings on Monday, Tuesday night it’s burger night – burger and fries are $6. Wednesdays could called shrimp night for two reasons. First you get a pound of steamed shrimp for $12.95 and second, kids enjoy $2 meals. On Thursdays, it’s Philly cheesesteak and fries for $6. Now, there are several locations and the line up may vary from restaurant to restaurant. So check out their webpage for more details.

PLUS: Now, we come to the new and exciting addition to TasteBudz – TasteBudz Plus – The Plus is our new weekly pick for great weekend entertainment. If you’d like us to include your weekend event, send it to us at the address below. We’ve got a great weekend lineup.

Tonight (1/18)

Tin Pan –  Sorry to say (for fans who don’t have reservations) John Sebastian is sold out.

Friday (1/19)

Iron Horse Restaurant The Motorvators – “Kick-butt classic rock” – 9 p.m.

Rare Olde Times – I’ll admit it – I love The Taters – 8 p.m.

Tin Pan Lucy Kaplinsky and Heather Maloney – 8 p.m.

Saturday (1/20)

Bryan Park Bar and GrillCha Cha’s Cadillac is amazing. They’ll keep the joint jumping – 8:30 p.m.

JJ’s Grille – Another one of my very favorite entertainers – Kari Smith – 8 p.m.

Max’s Positive Vibe Café – It’s their 13th anniversary with Vibefrost ’18 featuring Cary Street Ramblers, Burrito Riders League, The Hullabaloos, The Taters and The Tin Can Fish Band – 6 to 10:30 p.m.

Rare Olde TimesWhiskey Business – a great local acoustic duo – 8 p.m.

Sunday (1/21)

Isley Brewing Company – It’s Acoustic Sunday with David Cavitt from Norfolk – 11 a.m.

Rare Olde Times – Have you ever been to a Robert Burns Celebration? Well, you can Sunday with Thistle & Shamrock Dancing Burns Supper – 3:30 p.m

Okay, that’s going to do it. Now. Go. Eat. And send your dining experiences and your restaurant news to us at


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