In the era of hip restaurants and foodie culture, we at The Peedmont would be remiss if we didn’t tap into this trend and search for the best meals Virginia has to offer. Rather than tour the obvious culinary centers of Richmond or Williamsburg, we wanted to take the road less traveled and explore some authentic Mecklenburg County cuisine in the town of South Hill. Unfortunately, the reporter assigned to this story straight up didn’t go.
Now, the first rule of journalism is to never assume anything, but since our designated food critic decided to spend the rest of their sick days to blow off this assignment, we used our imagination to rank the four restaurants you could find in the event that your questionable life choices lead you to spend a weekend in the rickety, podunk town of South Hill, Virginia.
A Café Bistro at the Train & Doll Museum
Yes, you read that right; there is in fact a museum in South Hill completely dedicated to the procurement of puppets, marionettes, and model steam engines. This would be the ultimate place to take your great-aunt Estelle, who dressed you up as Pinocchio that one Easter Sunday in 1993. Childhood trauma aside, we can speculate this museum is creepy as shit, and the café (likely located in the basement) is no different. Run by a quiet woman who looks more like a porcelain clown than a human being, this eatery is great if you don’t mind being flanked by toy cherubs while you thumb through a menu only featuring tiny miniature versions of normal food. You have a better chance of being poisoned to death and turned into a doll than satiating your hunger here, which is why the Doll & Train museum bistro falls last on our list.
A Plantation-Themed Bed and Breakfast
Nothing says romance like the cultivation of an addictive substance. With South Hill’s long history of tobacco farming, we figured there has to be at least one old plantation house that’s been converted to a bed and breakfast, ideal for any couple’s vain attempt to salvage a broken relationship. Though just visiting South Hill itself is like traveling back to the mid-19th century, this B&B truly immerses you in the antebellum era so accurately you would think Paula Deen furnished the place herself. Complete with a cotton gin tour and culturally insensitive staff uniforms, this is the perfect place to eat grits and feign interest in stories of “the good old days” told by the elderly owners while your wife fantasizes about a life with her old college boyfriend Brad.
Duke and Rusty’s Down Home BBQ Pit
Presumably named after the owner’s two bloodhounds, Duke and Rusty’s is where you can lace up your boots and bolo tie and cut a rug to a smorgasbord of interesting meat sandwiches. It doesn’t matter if it has two legs, four legs or even three legs, old crazy-eye Eddie will smoke up anything that will fit into the back of his El Camino. He’ll even sell you some illegal moonshine as long as you sympathize with his anti-government rhetoric. The food here will be undeniably delicious, just don’t look too far into the fact that there is noticeably less roadkill in the surrounding area than the rest of South Hill. Also be sure to test that moonshine before drinking it. Remember, if it burns red, it’s got lead.
With almost 900 locations in the country, Olive Garden is the undisputed hub for uncreative diners unwilling to experience local cuisine and there totally has to be at least one around South Hill. Given the circumstances we could never blame anyone for choosing this franchise over listening to crazy-eye Eddie’s UFO stories or taking their chances at the doll museum. With it’s banal, unintimidating menu and endless breadsticks, Olive Garden tops the list of best restaurants in South Hill. We wish we could have sent someone down there, but someone had to call out of work for a “vaping-related lung infection.” We all know you’re at home watching reruns of “The Office,” Calvin.