Hometown Eats: Lush Lounge in Floyd
FLOYD, Va. (WDBJ) - Whether you’re getting together with friends or looking for a fun date with a significant other, who wouldn’t want the allure of a speakeasy?! Not only is Lush Lounge a hidden bar, but it’s a speakeasy themed speakeasy.
Here’s how WDBJ7′s Katey Roshetko stumbled upon this local phenomenon.
It was a hot July day and she was walking down Main St. when she got really thirsty.
Katey decided to go inside The Blind Pig to see if they had any Coca-Cola.
“Hello, I was wondering if I could borrow a nickel for a coke,” she asked the apothecary clerk.
“Sure thing,” Magen Adderley, also the Lush Lounge general manager, said. “We’ve got one right here for you if you like.”
“If you’d like to try out our coke machine right here. We have the best coke in town.”
She led Katey to the back of the store. She inserted the nickel. And the door swung open!
“Hello, hello! Welcome to Lush Lounge,” Alana Baker, also known as Dolores, said. “Quick, let’s close the door before the Feds see. You ever been here before?”
“No never,” Katey said.
“Okay, well the first question is, can we trust you?” Dolores asked.
“I think so,” Katey said.
“Okay, I’m trusting you here.”
And just like that they were off.
“So here on the wall, we got all my dead relatives,” Dolores said. “They’re so happy to meet you.”
Dolores led her upstairs where there were two rooms for folks to mingles.
“Here to our left, we have the traveling carnival room,” she said. “We’ve got some games you can play. We got the freak show on the wall.”
And then there’s the silent theater room.
“This is definitely the most romantic room in the building,” she continued. “We got several choices of film. We like to keep it nice and quiet in here for the couples.”
But the showstopper of the tour was of course the prohibition bar.
“If you want to grab a seat over there,” Dolores said ushering Katey into the elaborate room.
“Hi! Is this your first time in?” The bartender, Lindsey Parks asked.
“It is!” Katey answered
“I’m Lindsay. Nice to meet you!”
“Nice to you meet you! I’m Katey.”
Lindsay is also the proprietress of the building. She and her husband renovated the house that was built in 1919 - just before the prohibition began, which was their inspiration for the restaurant.
“We started to really think about the theme of a speakeasy,” Lindsey said. “So my husband, Glenn built the bar from a lot of reclaimed wood from the house itself and from other projects done in that time period.”
Here, their signature cocktails would be the star.
“We make all of our own bitters and syrups in house,” Lindsey explained. “We don’t feature anything here at Lush that’s post 1933.”
And because it’s the cocktails they’re known for, it was the cocktails Katey had to try.
“Okay, we’re going to make for you the Havanas Bananas,” Lindsey said.
She starts with bananas infused bourbon.
“We really want the taste of Cuba in there.”
Next, add some raw sugar.
“Demerara house made syrup,” Lindsey added. “We use a lot of tinctures and bitters here. This is a scorched caramel one.”
Add some ice and give it a swirl.
“This is called a julep strainer,” Lindsey explained. “We’re going to use that for all our stirred cocktails.”
But she wasn’t done yet.
“We do something a little crazy with this one. We top it with a smoked cricket,” she said with a laugh.
You heard that right. A cricket!
“Do I have to eat the cricket?” Katey asked suspiciously.
“Well, that depends on what kind of experience you want this to be,” Lindsey said mischievously.
“Bottoms up,” Katey said and then ate the cricket. “Doesn’t taste like much. But it’s all in my head. I just ate a cricket.”
Cricket aside, the cocktail was delicious. So if it’s an experience you want, an experience is exactly what you’ll get at the Lush Lounge. Because it’s not only great drinks you can get here, there’s also a menu full of upscale bar food.
“Bar food is meant to be eaten with your hands,” Lindsey said as she and Katey began sampling food in the Cuban themed room of the speakeasy.
But that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the quality.
“People always ask, what on the menu is good? And we say if it wasn’t good, it wouldn’t be on the menu,” Lindsey said.
Lindsay and Chef Rissy Berliner gave WDBJ7 the hook up when they shared six delicious dishes for this week’s Hometown Eats.
First up, the amuse-bouche which literally translates from French to “mouth-amuser.”
“It’s a fermented garlic,” Rissy said. “It’s just a little teaser to get your taste buds going.”
It’s more than just your typical chips and dip starter.
“I don’t even know what to compare it too. It’s so unique,” Katey said.
“Certain things like garlic, there’s not much like garlic,” Lindsey said.
“Next, we’ve got our beet salad. It’s really light. It’s really fresh.” Rissy said.
Now Katey’s not someone who would ordinarily order beet anything, however-
“She nailed it. That is delicious,” Katey laughed.
Because these beets are smoked in the smoker.
“We try to utilize that as much as possible,” Rissy explained.
Then they’re topped with an orange beet vinaigrette, goat cheese, mint and orange slices.
“Just give it a little zhuzh,” Rissy said as she poured the vinaigrette.
“Beets are earthy,” Lindsey said. “A lot of people don’t like root vegetables in general because they taste like dirt.”
But this was definitely not dirt which is exactly what Katey told chef who was hiding off camera watching them eat.
“I see you over there,” Katey smiled. “That is so good!”
Our third dish was Chef’s take on a summer watermelon tuna salad.
“This is one of my favorites,” Rissy said. “It’s just so pretty.”
It’s simple too. Just layer cucumber, watermelon and tuna. Pour a mustard ponzu vinegarette on top. .
“Every little bit can taste it but not so it’s soaked,” Rissy said.
Then sprinkle on scallions and everything bagel seasoning.
“So I think the most important thing is probably to get an element of everything,” Katey said.
“I would agree,” Lindsey said.
“That tastes like summer,” Katey said after taking a bite. “Oh! With a kick! Summer with a kick!”
“You got a little heat on the tongue,” Lindsey said.
That was certainly unexpected!
“It was so sweet, cool to the touch, but then all of the sudden, I was like, ‘Oh! There’s the heat,’” Katey said.
“You almost have to go back for another bite to refresh the heat,” Lindsey said.
The fourth dish is latkes, a traditional Hanukkah food.
“I like to bring a little bit of my culture and heritage here,” Rissy said.
Latkes are really just like hashbrowns, but here they are also a fine dining experience.
“This is a dill lemon aioli,” Rissy said adding a spoonful to each potato pancake.
Next, it’s topped with smoked salmon, chives and pike roe.
“Let’s do it,” Katey said taking a big bite. “I love a good potato pancake like this.”
It’s definitely something she would order again and again!
But they weren’t done yet. Up next, a brussels sprout salad.
“A lot of people are trying to do crispy brussels right now,” Lindsey said. “They’re trending.”
Especially when you add cherry preserves and bacon!
“Adding bacon to anything,” Katey laughed. “That’s killer.”
And last but not least, an upscale take on Mexican street corn.
“The exact same spices that you would traditionally have on the corn, we just do it off the cob,” Rissy said.
So like mayonnaise and Cojito cheese.
“Never hurts to put a lot of that in,” Rissy said .
Add chili powder, hot sauce and a little tajin. Mix it all up, top with smoked pork belly and voila! You have the perfect side dish for any gathering.
“I love all these flavors together,” Katey said. “I hate choosing, but that’s really good.”
“It is really good,” Lindsey agreed.
Both the food and cocktail menus at the Lush Lounge chang every three months.
The restaurant and bar is open Tuesday-Sunday night. Reservations are recommended. More information on the Lush Lounge can be found here.
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