Hometown Eats: Gina’s Food with Flavor

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 3:38 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - “That kitchen is my happy place and the more people I feed, the happier I am,” said Gina’s Food with Flavor owner Peggy Fleming.

A good restaurant can be boiled down to a few things.

“Love, family, fellowship, all that wrapped into one. Fun,” exclaimed Fleming.

And that’s exactly what you’ll find at Gina’s Food with Flavor on West Main Street in Salem.

“The food is amazing; it’s like you’re eating at home,” said regular customer Rita.

Because it is an old home. Owner Peggy Fleming has been in the kitchen since she was 9 years old and in the catering business since the 1990s. This spot opened to her in 2020, but she’s known the name for years.

“Regina Jane Fleming was my mother-in-law and one of my best friends so when she passed in 2004 and I had been looking for a brick and mortar, I knew that when I got it I was going to name it in her memory,” explained Fleming.

That memory lives throughout the restaurant, especially in what Peggy calls her Inspiration Room.

“I can do nothing without my Lord and savior, so this room represents the foundation of this business and the foundation of our family. I have inspirational quotes and it pays homage to Gina, where we have her chef coat hanging in the back. When I started my catering business in the early ‘90s, she was right by my side ‘til the day she passed,” said Fleming.

Over the years Peggy has taken various recipes from her mother and her mother-in-law, then put her own spin on a few things.

“Most folks, they know when they come in, I say get that fried and smothered pork chop, the collard greens, mac and cheese, and the cornbread, then top it off with a warm cobbler and a scoop of vanilla ice cream,” said Fleming.

If you’re on a health kick, no need to stay home, everything fries, she can also grill.

The flavors have created a close following from some loyal customers over the years, like Mr. Dallas.

“Every day that I’m open, he’s here and if he’s not going to be here, he’s notified us in advance that he’s not going to be here,” said Fleming.

“The friendship and everything here and enjoy the food. I highly enjoy the food,” said regular customer Mr. Dallas.

From the games on the lawn to the fire pit and the big ol’ yard out back, Peggy’s hope is for you to put down the phone, reconnect, and create special moments with the people you love.

“They need to come on down to this hometown atmosphere,” said Rita.

“I just want people to come in and feel like they’re at home, all the way down to the food,” said Fleming proudly.

Gina’s Food with Flavor, the textbook definition of a hometown eat.

You can find Gina’s Food with Flavor at 311 W Main St, Salem, VA 24153.

Gina’s hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m., open for dinner Friday 4-8 p.m. and Sunday noon-4 p.m.

Local artist have provided the art you’ll find on the walls and from time to time, local jewelers have their jewelry on location to purchase.

Gina’s offers space for large groups and is available to cater for your next event!