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Lunch in Sperryville, Dinner in Front Royal

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Lunch in Sperryville, Dinner in Front Royal

zora | Jul 26, 2004 02:44 AM

We took our daughter to camp near Madison, VA today through Rappahannock County and spent the rest of the day meandering over the mountains and down into the Shenandoah Valley.

We had lunch at the Sunnyside Organics Burger Barn in Sperryville, which other posters here have mentioned. The 8-ounce Kobe burger was excellent, an incredibly juicy, flavorful patty cooked to a perfect medium rare. It even had diamond-shaped grill marks in the crunchy char. It was served with vine-ripe tomato slices, and they even had Grey Poupon mustard on every table (I usually have to ask for it.) Hub ordered sides, which were disappointing. I just had a bag of Route 11 potato chips. The burger looked and smelled so good, and we were making such contented noises, that our daughter relaxed her resolve to be a vegetarian again, and devoured a good part of my burger. The bun was of the forgettable fluffy-bread ilk, and this resulted in an unfavorable comparison to Palena's Kobe-burger, which hub has decreed was the best burger he'd ever eaten in his life. The bun wasn't enough to distract from my pleasure. I was a happy camper! We do agree with other posters here, that fresh-cut fries would significantly enhance the experience.

We drove around in Front Royal looking for a place to have dinner--many places are closed on Sunday evening. We had almost given up and gone looking for fast food, when we wandered into Royal Dairy to check out the menu, and found ourselves in a time warp soda fountain cum diner circa 1948--that's when it opened, and not too much has changed since then. This place is for real what Johnny Rocket's tries to be, but it is funky. Big, oval 40 seat counter, and lots of booths. The menu had dinner choices like country ham steak (*salty), meat loaf, fried chicken, open face roast beef, chicken fried steak. But then on the bottom was a short list of "Oriental food"--which had three Korean dishes. The friendly (Anglo) waiter explained that the place had been bought by a Korean gentleman, and though he hadn't been successful at converting the entire menu, still included a small selection of "home-style" Korean dishes, which the waiter opined were "really tasty" and included a side of homemade kimchee. So I ordered bul go gi and hub ordered fried chicken, which was delicious and a bargain at $7.99 for a half chicken cut into four pieces with sides of a baked potato and mixed greens. The bul go gi was $11.99 and was a huge serving of thinly sliced and then chopped, marinated rib eye steak with onions, which had been grilled on a griddle. A large helping of steamed rice filled the other half of the plate and a small bowl of mild, but fresh-tasting kimchee on the side. What a trip! We could easly conjure up images of The Royal Dairy's past, when it was packed with high schoolers and families, eating burgers and drinking shakes, and throwing coins into the jukebox. It has changed owners numerous times, and struggled in and out of hard times. But it has survived without being gentrified, and we had a meal emblematic of the American melting pot experience-- and it was good!

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