Best of the Blue Ridge

National magazine highlights two local restaurants

By Ryan Cornell

Readers across the country got a taste of the Shenandoah Valley due to an article printed in the latest issue of Saveur Magazine.

The issue, which hit newsstands this month, features an article titled, “Best of the Blue Ridge,” written by food writers Jane and Michael Stern about six area restaurants.

Two of those include the Hi Neighbor Restaurant in Strasburg and The Apple House in Linden.

Last fall, the writers approached Shenandoah County Tourism Director Jenna French with an idea. They would taste and review the restaurants truly authentic to the area.

What they discovered was a little something called puddin’ meat at the Hi Neighbor, which restaurant owner Sam Mumper defined as the trimmings from a pig, including the liver, heart and “all the different pieces not necessarily eaten by itself.”

The Saveur article states: “The texture of soft oatmeal, puddin’ meat is best enjoyed on pancakes or waffles, topped with a scattering of raw onion. It is enough of a local delicacy to warrant the sign above a shelf of boxed cereals that boasts, WE HAVE PUDDIN’ MEAT.”

In addition, the authors raved about the restaurant’s scrapple, country ham and skillet-fried chicken.

Mumper said they received a bump in customers wanting to try out the fried chicken soon after the article was published.

“Look, we’re the real deal if they want authentic valley,” he said, “and that was the focus, from what I understood.”

The writers also visited The Apple House, where they bit into “velvety, crunchy-skinned apple-butter donuts plastered with cinnamon sugar” as well as apple fritters and the deli’s famous apple dumpling.

“It’s a muddled mess of soft-baked Golden Delicious apples, buttery pie crust, and caramel glaze that demands a fork,” the Sterns wrote about the dumpling, “and it’s delicious enough to warrant unwavering concentration, especially in autumn, when Virginia apples are at their peak.”

George McIntyre, owner of the Apple House, described Saveur as “one of the premiere food magazines there is.”

“It’s really rewarding for us to get that kind of attention and notoriety,” he said, “because we’ve been here for 51 years and people like what we do.”

Earlier this year, Zagat published a list of “50 States, 50 Donuts” with the restaurant’s apple butter cinnamon doughnut representing the Old Dominion.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com