Blue Ridge Country Store.
Back around Halloween I started craving candy. This isn’t odd, but I didn’t want your typical chocolate bar. No, I was feeling nostalgic, remembering all those summer bike trips to our local corner store to spend my hard-earned allowance. I craved gummy coke bottles. The coke bottles shaped from the stuff you find in gummy bears. Except they taste like soda. And they’re really good. But where would I find an old-fashioned, classic candy like this? I knew of only one place. The place that saves me every time I have a food crisis of this sort. The store that lifts me with its offerings when I’m having a bad day, a good day, or just a day. Blue Ridge Country Store on the Downtown Mall.
Owners Dan and Patty Pribus are WAY overdue for some recognition. BRCS is a Cville-locals secret for yummy lunch under $8. To me, they are the “Crunchy-Granola 7-Eleven” because you can find just about anything you’d want to eat that’s healthy: Kashi bars, green tea, kombucha, tortilla chips with flaxseed, Kefir, whatever! Maybe you don’t want healthy, they can cover that too. Candy bars, bulk items like yogurt pretzels, and 50 cent homemade-every-day cookies are just some of the things that can keep your sweet tooth happy.
Maybe you want something hearty? Their soups, meatloaf, and jerk chicken over rice will fill you up nicely. And every one of these entrees is $5 or less. But you must get there early. I still haven’t forgotten that dreary November day I went in for some turkey meatloaf to warm my soul only to find they had sold out. Sold out?!?! But it’s only 12:45pm?!?! Sigh.
Don’t even get me started on their salad bar! There are OVER 100 ITEMS including local organic produce, diced ham, actual turkey breast, roast chicken, tofu, artichoke hearts, edamame, wasabi peas, rolls from Albemarle Baking Company, you name it. If they don’t have it on the bar, you can ask for it and someone will run in the back and get it. Did I mention the 25 different house-made salad dressings? You could get salad every day for a month and never get the same dressing twice. Not that I’ve done this or anything….well, maybe just the one time.
Need something to get going in the morning? Stop in for homemade breakfast sandwiches, scones, or muffins, but again, get there early (before 10am), or they’ll be gone! Add a $1 cup of coffee from Shenandoah Joe’s and it will still be under $3. Sit in one of the rocking chairs by the wood stove and pass the time with Dan, Patty, or Bree, who’s usually behind the register.
I heart Dan and Patty. Every summer when they go on vacation I go through withdrawals for their fat-free peach muffins and apple cinnamon scones. Whether I’m having a great day, a horrible day, or just a day, these guys always seem to have something that will take it up a notch.
As far as my gummy coke bottle odyssey, Blue Ridge didn’t have any, much to my dismay. But they did have other tasty old-fashioned candy like Bit-O-Honey, Fruit Stripe gum, Charms hard candy, and Sugar Babies. Aaaahhhh…..nostalgia candy heaven! BRCS does it again! But I still don’t know where to find gummy coke bottles…anyone have a clue?