Hometown Eats: Dogwood Restaurant

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 4:25 PM EDT
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VINTON, Va. (WDBJ) - There are all kinds of restaurants with unique and different flavors but every now and then you get to craving country cookin’.

Vinton has been home to a restaurant serving up momma’s favorite fixins’ for decades and they have the loyal fan base to prove it in this week’s Hometown Eats.

“Home cooked food, you watch them cook right in front of you. It’s the best,” said regular customer Lisa.

The Dogwood Restaurant planted it roots back in the 1940s as the place eat in Vinton. And 30 years ago, buying it was the second-best decision Keith Poff ever made.

“Me and my dad came down here and tried some of the food and the next week we bought it. Came home and told my wife, we just got married, she goes ‘What are you doing buying a restaurant!?’” said Poff.

Freshly married and the new owner of a restaurant, Poff began to build a loyal following of customers with a menu that tastes just like momma’s cookin’.

“I want the customers to feel at home and I think they do,” said Poff.

“Got the hometown feel, got everything good on the menu that good stick to your ribs kind of food,” said regular customer Brandon.

“They really care about the customers. They know most of the people who come in the door,” said Lisa.

And Poff doesn’t do it alone, he’s a staff that is more like family and his best friend, Jamie McCarthy, who has been by his side since the second grade, on the stove working on the special of the day, pork chops and chicken livers.

“We bread them ourselves and fry them in cast iron frying pans which is what I call the old fashion way of cooking and everyone loves it,” said McCarthy.

If chicken livers aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of others to choose from starting with breakfast.

“The omelets, the pancakes are really good,” said Poff.

From there, the menu is wide open. Baked spaghetti, salads, sandwiches to the numerous homemade sides like green beans, mac and cheese, hand cut fries and chips, coleslaw, and potato salad.

“Their chicken and dumplings is the best in the area,” said Lisa.

“Whenever I’m out of town I try to find a burger that’s better than ours and so far, I haven’t,” said Poff.

Enter the Big Lick burger, local grass-fed beef smothered with cheese slaw.

And my favorite dish I tried, the Caribbean chicken with red onions, jalapenos and cheddar cheese topped with Jamaican relish.

Save room for homemade desserts which change daily, we saw the chocolate cake and blueberry cobbler.

“We do different cobblers like blueberry, black cherry, mixed berry, peach, and apple cobblers,” explained McCarthy.

Much like a flowering Dogwood this restaurant is about to give new life to the space next door. By Christmas, it will expand with more seating, a bar and stage.

“We want that to look like a brewery,” said Poff.

Plus a big patio.

“We’re going to have a bar so you can sit at the window and order. Two TVs on the wall down there and two nice gas firepits,” said McCarthy.

Just like they’ve been doing the past 30 years, Poff wants to keep a smile on your face when you stop by.

“I want to have fun when I’m down here working, and I want my employees to have fun and we really do we joke around and pick on each other,” joked Poff.

Dogwood Restaurant, a growing hometown eat.

Dogwood Restaurant can be found at 106 E Lee Ave, Vinton, VA 24179.