Sperryville column for May 2

A new deli at the Emporium

I smiled reading the banner above the Sperryville Emporium’s newly opened deli: “This Little Piggy is at the Market.” The newest addition to the remade Emporium is a most welcome one.

Beverly J. Samuels, a familiar face for years at F.T. Valley Grocery, takes a photo break at her new post — at the Sperryville Emporium’s new deli. Photo by Molly M. Peterson.
Beverly J. Samuels, a familiar face for years at F.T. Valley Grocery, takes a photo break at her new post — at the Sperryville Emporium’s new deli. Photo by Molly M. Peterson.

Last Saturday afternoon, I initially strolled into the Antique Tables Made Daily, its showroom thick with customers admiring the beautiful table sets. “Sold” signs were visible everywhere, and it was hard for me to resist running my hands and fingers over the gloriously crafted tables and chairs –  all of them so not Marlo Furniture-like. And nearby, the Emporium and the outdoor picnic tables were filled with folks and families.

Smiling at the sight, I walked inside and Darren McKinney, the quick-witted and charming proprietor, looked up with his signature mischievous grin, and said, “Orders taken here, you on?” So much to choose from: Boar’s Head roasts and turkeys, deluxe ham, imported Swiss, lettuce and tomato, banana peppers, deli dressing and pepper house gourmaise, definitely a savory combo. And the prices are beyond reasonable, a great lunch for under $6. No wonder families were aplenty!

Boar’s Head also offers a complimentary recipe book, so naturally I grabbed one and quietly stood by the deli counter poring over the creative fare. It was chock full of delectable ideas, like stuffed portobello mushrooms with chicken and pears, chicken and brie one-bite sandwiches with cranberry walnut mayo. Congrats Darren and Jan McKinney, we wish you the best as you continue to expand and grow your new endeavor.

Reaching higher at the Hog

The charming, irascible JD Hartman, proprietor of Sperryville’s High on the Hog, hasn’t been open lately, leaving some to worry he was closing. It turns out he’s not; JD’s simply been busy helping his son Tyler, recently back from Afghanistan, open up a new place over the mountain in Luray – another High on the Hog.

According to Jamie Brunell, High on the Hog’s chef, it’s going to be a barbecue pork, southern coastal venue, replete with shrimp and grits. It’s located in the old Frost Station Diner, seats about 50 and will be open in about two weeks.

Self-described hippie JD shared lots of stories with me, some of which had me in tears from laughing so hard. As it turns out, he’d left a full-time job years ago to chase one of his myriad passions, and traversed the Caribbean in search of the elusively fabulous pulled-pork barbecue and the equipment that makes it so. He opened up places over the years and then followed up with a journey into the world of wine and grapes. In fact, he partially owned the Misty Mountain vineyard (at what is now the Blue Rock) a number of years ago. Who knew?

He’s bustling with energy and authenticity, and shared with me his passion for bikes – naturally, he is a Harley man. He rides like some folks I know ride their horses, meaning 24-7. He says he’ll be riding it over the mountain daily to help Tyler when he’s up and running in Luray.

“My boy is more like a friend, as well as a son,” he says, and I can see the emotion ripple across his face as he tells me this. He’s a man of depth and has had many a sorrow, many a challenge, but he’s a survivor.

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Chris Green
About Chris Green 130 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.