Landmark Hi Neighbor restaurant put up for sale

When motorists drive down King Street in Strasburg, they will see an assortment of shops, antiques and restaurants. One restaurant in particular, the Hi Neighbor Country Restaurant, has been a local institution since 1949.

The Hi Neighbor, established by Tommy and Marguerite Hart, has changed hands over the years. However one thing that has not changed is their reputation for blue-plate special delights, like fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Times are changing again at the Hi Neighbor, because it has recently gone up for sale.

Sam Mumper, owner and executive chef, said the sale is not a result of financial woes, but of family illness.

“We’ve been making a profit for the past five or six years and our sales have been growing every year,” Mumper said. “We just realized we were on the upswing and with this illness, we could sell the restaurant and attend to our loved one.”

Mumper bought the restaurant in 2003. Seeing competition from fast food and corporate restaurant establishments in the area, Mumper said he decided to focus his attention on providing fresh, quality food.

“When we saw the Arby’s and the Denny’s come to town, we realized we needed to reinvent the restaurant,” Mumper said. “So we tried to stay out of the freezer section of the grocery store and serve down home cooking made from scratch.”

According to Mumper, dishes at the Hi Neighbor are hand made, with the gravy made from butter, the country fried steak fresh from a local farm and breaded at the restaurant and the chicken fried in a pan.

“We want to give people a taste for how things were made in the old days,” Mumper said. “There’s getting to be fewer and fewer places that offer down home country cooking.”

Mumper said the restaurant is well known among travelers along the Interstate 81 corridor and residents in the Washington, D.C., area.

“For a lot of people, especially from D.C., when they visit the Shenandoah Valley, they make a point to stop by for a bite to eat,” Mumper said. ” And people who are just passing through, they’re on the road a long time and eat a lot of fast food. They get tired of it. We offer them something different.”

Mumper said he hopes whoever buys the restaurant would continue the legacy he and those before him have established.

“I’d love to see another chef come and buy the place,” Mumper said. “Somebody who is passionate about cooking fresh, farm to the table meals could make a name for themselves owning this restaurant.”

The Hi Neighbor Country Restaurant is located at 192 W. King St. The current asking price is $460,000. Those interested in purchasing the restaurant can direct inquires to John Coontz of Sperry Van Ness in Winchester.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com