Old Town sees surge in eateries for local foodies

Cameron Rosberg is general manager of Benny Meleto's in Old Town. Meleto's offers its customers a laid-back atmosphere with large slices of pizza. Ashley Miller/Daily

WINCHESTER – Stan Paskel Jr., originally from Winchester, now residing in Myrtle Beach, has fond memories of Benny’s Pizza. It was one of the last memories he shared with his father. When Paskel occasionally returns to Winchester to visit family, he finds himself gravitating to Benny Meleto’s in Old Town to enjoy a slice or two of pizza.

“While my dad was in the hospital in Charlottesville, I discovered Benny’s,” Paskel said. “I remember it being some of the best pizza I had ever had. And I wanted my dad to experience it more than anything.”

Before his father’s death, Paskel had the opportunity to treat his father to the Benny’s in Harrisonburg. He said it was one of those moments he’ll always remember.

“Food invokes memories,” he said. “And that’s one I’ll never forget.”

There is one thing Old Town is not lacking, and that’s good food choices. With a surge in restaurants, foodies have a wide assortment of menu options, from fine dining to informal, global to good old American, and everything in-between.

Benny Meleto's customers can buy pizza by the slice or a whole pie. Ashley Miller/Daily

Jennifer Bell, downtown manager, said people like good food and variety – it’s that simple.

“We have over 35 restaurants in Old Town that draw all types of food lovers to the community,” Bell said. “For some, we’re a culinary destination with a variety of options to choose from. One day you can have American, the next Caribbean or French.”

With more than $7 million more spent at downtown restaurants in 2017 than 2012, Old Town continues to rank among community favorites.

Old Town dining and libations include Union Jack Pub & Restaurant, Brewbakers, Thai Winchester, George’s Food and Spirits, Espresso Bar & Café, Old Town Snow White Grill and Lloyd’s Tropical Island Coffee and Café.

“People love to come to old town, not just for good food but for socialization and people watching,” Bell said. “There’s always something being served to suit your palette.”

David Russell, of Winchester, known to many as the Old Town ambassador for more than 20 years, enjoys his favorite tea, chamomile and mango, at The World of Healing on the Walking Mall. Ashley Miller/Daily

New restaurants in Old Town include The World of Healing, Sexi Mexi, Benny Meleto’s and Moe’s Donuts.

Benny Meleto’s, 19 E Boscawen St., offers its customers a laid-back atmosphere with large slices of pizza and a smile.

Cameron Rosberg, the general manager, said everyone on the East Coast knows Benny’s. What started as a small pizza establishment now has 17 locations from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.

“It’s pizza,” Rosberg said. “Everyone loves pizza.”

Benny’s pizza is sold two ways, by the slice or by the whole pie.

“The best thing about buying a whole pizza is we have to open both doors for it to fit,” Rosberg said. “Our customers typically feel really special and leave with huge smiles on their faces.”

An entire pie is 28 inches. Or the same size of a bike wheel.

Pizza by the slice: cheese $4, pepperoni $5 or sausage $5. Whole pies are $30 for cheese, $38 for pepperoni or sausage. Specials vary each month.

Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

The World of Healing, 33 South Loudoun St., opened its doors over six months ago and offered its customers an entirely organic menu including teas, soups, and desserts.

Dori and Mati Gotzmann, owners, pride themselves on offering the “Best of Europe.”

“Understanding what you put into your body is the first step,” Dori Gotzmann said. “From there, it’s just making the right choices based on your [dietary] needs.”

World of Healing is also a retail store focused on products for health and well being, an art and heart gallery providing art for healing and consulting, education and therapy center.

“We offer seminars, lectures, and short courses because we want to teach the public on health benefits,” Dori said.

Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Sexi Mexi, a burrito bar at 21 East Boscawen St., serves up freshly prepared, cross-cultural fusion made with a blend of regionally sourced and homemade ingredients. It is 0pen from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

“The more restaurants you have, the more people we attract,” Bell said.

To learn more about Old Town restaurants visit www. http://oldtownwinchesterva.com