Hometown Eats: Dilly Dally

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 4:22 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s a one stop shop with everything from silly socks to sweet treats with plenty of homemade dishes in between. We’re turning a lunch break into afternoon hangout at Dilly Dally in Salem for this week’s Hometown Eats!

“I hate when people accuse me of lollygagging when it’s quite clear I’m dilly dallying and it’s so true,” joked Dilly Dally Country Store owner Rebecca Mason.

It’s a southern thing, but if you have a few minutes, Dilly Dally owner Rebecca Mason will teach you the ways of an becoming expert dilly dallier.

“You can’t come to Dilly Dally and not have a smile on your face and not enjoy what you’re doing here,” said Mason.

The paint job might be new, but this building has been on the corner of Eddy and Front Avenues in Salem for over 100 years.

“People have been coming here since they were kids in one way or another,” said Mason.

True to its old country store roots, from the wood floor to the vintage shelving, Mason took over ownership in March 2022 and credits the bones of the space to the previous owner.

“I purchased it from a wonderful lady named, Lisa Garst, and she actually purchased this building and woke up Dilly Dally and did all the demo and I would always tell her I was so glad I came along after that was done. She did all the hard work and really reestablished it,” explained Mason.

Mason is originally from Lynchburg and has family in the Appalachian region of North Carolina, which she uses as inspiration for what goes on the shelves.

“A lot of my relatives come from Madison County, North Carolina so you’ll see on our Madison County moonshine jelly and BBQ sauce. That’s why I named it that. Lots and lots of Virginia made products, I love local, some very local makers some even from right around here in this neighborhood,” said Mason.

You’ll find everything from toys for the kids to live bat for the fishermen, a variety of pies from the Pie Shoppe in Fincastle and farm fresh eggs with a picture of the chicken they come from!

“I always say if I can’t buy a product from Virginia, I want to buy it from another Appalachian region,” said Mason.

One of her specialties is custom gift baskets, it’s something she started in college and never stopped doing. All she needs to know is who it’s for and a few things they like, she’ll do the rest.

If you’re not in a rush, step into the bistro and stay a while, just make sure you bring an appetite. I had to go for a Nathan’s hot dog with chili, slaw, and that homemade pimento cheese on top.

Keeping it Carolina, the pulled pork BBQ sandwich on a warm bun with that Madison County Moonshine sauce, topped with coleslaw.

If you haven’t figured it out, homemade is the name of the game at Dilly Dally.

“Homemade chicken salad, potato salad, pimento cheese, which is my favorite, jalapeno pimento cheese which is my second favorite,” Mason listed.

All of which are made in an apartment kitchen above the store. The chicken salad was on the prep table while we were there made with my favorite, Dukes Mayo.

Of course, no trip to this country store would be complete without an ice cream. They call this the roadwork, whatever flavor you’d like, whip cream, a crushed-up candy bar, and fudge on top.

“My favorite thing to do is stand there and talk to the customers when they come in,” said Mason.

“It brings back so many childhood memories with things like Stewarts Key Lime. It’s just like taking a walk down memory lane,” said regular customer Karly.

Being right off the greenway, Mason knows plenty of people walk or bike here, so if it’s your first time riding here, she presents you with a certificate and a large back yard complete with lounge chairs and picnic tables.

“Whenever we were growing up my grandmother would always use that expression, ‘You’re just a dilly dallier.’ So, I always say I’m now literally a professional Dilly Dallier,” joked Mason.

Dilly Dally, a hometown eat where old is new again.

Dilly Dally is located at 1511 Eddy Ave, Salem, VA 24153.