153 College Ave
On our way back to Memphis from Massachusetts, we stopped in Blacksburg, Virginia to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends, Hope. She's from Memphis, but has made Blacksburg her home. While we were in town she took great care of us. On our last night I told her I wanted to eat at one of the hippie joints in town. Without blinking, she led us to Gillie's (which I failed to snap a photo of from the outside). It's pretty much an institution. From the website:
Back in 1974, Jan Gillie opened Gillie's, serving only ice cream, but within a year Gillie's became one of the first places in Blacksburg to serve soup and bread. Ranae Gillie joined the business in the 1980's, the menu grew, and these days, Gillies offers inspired vegetarian and seafood cuisine with a wide variety of choices.The monkeys (Satchel, 9, and Jiro, 7) really wanted to go back to the Cellar where we had some really great pizza the night before, but they know better than to think I'm going to condone eating at the same place twice in two days. (I do make the rare exception!) When told that they couldn't go to the Cellar, they merely requested that we go somewhere with wifi.
Hope, a self-described hillbilly, has no wifi at her house. Since we'd dragged the monkeys through a blueberry orchard, up a mountain, and through a waterfall that day, I was okay with them tuning out during dinner so we could have some adult conversation. Alas, there was no wifi, but they managed to find other things to do on their iPods.
Once they were settled, our first order of business was getting a cold beer. I went for a Brooklyn Lager.
Warren totally one-upped me by getting a tall boy PBR!
Refreshed, we were able to tackle the menu. While Hope & Warren thought only of themselves, I focused on the monkeys. The kids menu was actually quite nice.
Once I saw that they had pizza, I thought my job was done. Sadly, the waiter soon informed us that the pizza had been 86'd. Dang! Oh well, it gave me an excuse to try and make the monkeys order something more exciting. I failed. Satchel went with the closest thing to pizza--a quesadilla filled with black olives and artichokes, his favorite. Jiro basically followed suit with a grilled cheese. As you can see in the picture it comes with tomato and sprouts, but he definitely did not want those. Undeterred, I tacked on a third dish for them--A kid sized portion of rice & veggies with tofu and a side of veggies.
Once they had decided, the rest of us quickly put in our order. Our adventurous day had left us all starved. We smartly decided to start with the pacos, which is Gillie's version of nachos. It's tortilla chips topped with vegetarian chili, melted cheddar, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, black olives, Jalapenos, sour cream, Guacamole and salsa. And it was YUM.
The generous portion coupled with our beers made us wonder if we'd even be able to eat our dinners. No worries, we were.
Warren went with a light choice--buckwheat soba noodles tossed in a soy-sesame dressing over organic spring mix topped with marinated shiitake mushrooms and sprouts.
Hope had the south meets southwest--pan-fried catfish over goat cheese grits and baby arugula, accompanied with chive oil and chipotle butter. So pretty!
I had the build your own stir fry with tempeh and Thai sauce.
It was pretty good, but I wondered if they had given me tofu by accident because it didn't look or taste like tempeh.
The kids' meals were equally pretty and hearty. Not surprisingly the rice, tofu, and veggies was their favorite. Satchel was thrilled that they had long grain Indian rice--another one of his favorites.
One standout at Gillie's is the service. Our waiter was great and our food came out quickly. When Jiro started losing it near the end of the meal, our waiter kept things light and told us he could arrange for Jiro to wash some dishes. Believe me, had we not been ready to crash ourselves, we might have taken him up on it! I appreciated his sense of humor.
I was also very glad to see that they are anti-styrofoam at Gillie's. Our to go box was a biopack.
If you are ever in town, give Gillie's a try. I hear that their lunch is pretty awesome too.