Think about it… you probably can enjoy lunch or dinner anywhere, but it isn’t always just about the food. People want “an experience.” Eating a meal in a historic building with its own unique story greatly enhances the ambiance and culinary experience. Let’s face it, historic buildings have soul. That soul comes from the many stories of life’s events that took place in that building, which cannot be replicated in a new space.
Just a short few miles from Ashland, you can dine in the Hanover Tavern, which has been serving county courthouse users, residents, travelers and stagecoach passengers since 1733. Located directly across from the Hanover Courthouse, Patrick Henry, Hanover’s greatest native son, served guests and was exposed to the legal world by lawyers working at the Courthouse. In April 1760, at the age of 24, he obtained a license to practice law. Throughout the years, the Tavern hosted many famous men, including George Washington. (He stayed everywhere didn’t he!)? During the Civil War it was turned into a home for refugees, fleeing the Union Army.
Let’s talk about food, we’ll get back to the history lesson shortly. My husband and I recently ventured out on a sunny day for lunch at the Tavern.
Do you like oysters? After considering the daily specials and reviewing a well-balanced menu, we chose a starter of Rappahannock Fried Oysters with clementine tarter & pickled cauliflower and the soup du jour, a tomato soup. Both were delightful as we waited for our entrees. The fresh oysters were lightly breaded and fried to perfection. The soup was hot and smooth in texture. Our entrees were served in perfect timing and we were eager to sample the food.
I feasted on the Roasted pepper wedge salad – Baby iceberg, roasted bell peppers, red onion, blue crumbles, pumpkin seeds, and a pear vinaigrette dressing. Instead of adding chicken or shrimp to my salad, I added fried green tomatoes. I can never resist them! The salad light and very favorable. Sam chose the Barbecue sandwich – slow cooked pulled pork on a Kaiser roll with a choice of VA or NC sauce and southern coleslaw with a side of fries. Being a connoisseur of barbeque, he gave it a thumbs up! We concluded our lunch by sharing a warm brownie, topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Let’s just say, magnificent! And the service was superb.
We checked out the dinner menu and will return. They have seasonal menus and intriguing specials.
Back to the side of history. This restored community icon is also home to the Virginia Repertory Theater hosting performances in a modern 150 seat theater. This site also offers student field trips, educational history programs, historical exhibits, heritage musical events, lecture series, and family-oriented specials events. This is all in addition to the full service restaurant and pub, meeting, wedding, party and events space.
I can say with confidence that it goes to show that a side of history can make the dining experience even tastier.