I’ve lived in Roanoke on & off for 20 years. In that time, we’ve gained some excellent restaurants (finally!). Local Roots, River & Rail and Blue Apron (technically Salem) are three that come to mind as top tier places to dine. They’re all very focused on local, sustainable offerings in a cool ‘hipster’ atmosphere.
But I don’t want to talk fine dining. I want to talk about really really great burgers. I have found the quintessential burger place in Roanoke. It’s been around forever, and consistently wins Best of Roanoke awards. It’s Burger in the Square, which used to actually be in the Square downtown, but is now in a little nondescript hole-in-the-wall place on Brambleton Ave. They’re the bar I use to judge all other burgers. Fresh ground beef, hand pattied daily, cooked on a flat grill, locally made buns, lots of toppings and cool spreads. Not much else on the menu. They do use frozen fries, which is a mark against them, but their burgers are so darn good, it doesn’t really matter.
Friends have told me the new burger joint downtown is excellent too. I’ve tried to eat there a couple times, but it’s tiny (maybe 20 seats) and always packed. I’ll admit I haven’t tried all that hard to eat there. BITS calls my name, loudly, when I’m craving a burger. If you’re in Roanoke anytime soon, check it out!