Head out of The Oaks Victorian Inn driveway going south on to Main St. (Route 8) and in a few minutes you’ll be in the town of Riner, one of Virginia’s lost communities. There you’ll find Buffalo and More, a fabulous little hole-in-the-wall that only the locals knew about, until recently. This past March, HamptonRoads.com wrote an article called The 30 places to eat in Virginia Before You Die. Buffalo and More is #9 on the list! Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives you need to come to Virginia and check it out!
Connie Hale, the owner/chef and her partner Carla George run this funky place that serves up some absolutely wonderful dishes made from buffalo meat. You know the meat is top quality and fresh because they have 43 buffaloes at their farm on Brush Creek Rd in Riner. Would you like to visit these big gentle creatures? Just call the restaurant (540) 381-9764 to set up a date for a tour. Let them know how many people are in your group and on tour day meet Carla at the restaurant. She’ll take you to the farm to meet the herd.
It’s an extensive menu with more than just buffalo. Connie makes lots of sides including traditional southern dishes like collards, pinto beans and macaroni and cheese. You’ll find nachos with buffalo chili among the appetizers, burritos and quesadillas made with buffalo stew meat and a great selection of dinner platters. Try the Brisket platter, hickory smoked buffalo brisket with 2 sides. The Cowboy Beans have 4 kinds of beans, diced onions and peppers with ground buffalo meat in a sweet BBQ sauce. Don’t forget to check out the specials board.
My favorite is the buffalo pot roast. It comes with loads of veggies and potatoes in a personal crock. It will really warm you up on a nippy day. Did you know that a 3-ounce serving of buffalo meat contains only 122 calories, 24.2 grams of protein and 2.1 grams of fat, including just 0.8 gram of saturated fat? It’s a great alternative to beef for those of us who are watching our weight. Bernie always orders the buffalo burger special with fries. You can add all kinds of toppings. He goes for grilled onions and ketchup.
If you are lucky enough to be in the area first Friday of the month you are in for a real treat. It’s Seafood Night! Not only will Connie be creating incredible fish and seafood dinners in the restaurant, the Indigo Farms Seafood truck will be selling fresh seafood, fish, Kobe beef and more outside in the parking lot from 3-7pm. Be prepared to wait in line at the truck because locals come from miles around to buy from “The fish ladies”. The Seafood Night menu is limited to the best of what the fish ladies have that week. Whatever you order will be wonderful and the place will be packed. If there is a crayfish appetizer on the menu I highly recommend it. You’ll think you died and went to New Orleans.
Did you remember to save room for dessert? Connie’s mother Reba makes some of the most decadent desserts you can imagine. I had to force myself to stop eating and take this picture of her Cherry Cobbler a la Mode before there was nothing left to photograph but an empty bowl. The Apricot Nectar cake is to die for and so far my absolute favorite. For 3 years I have begged Connie to share the recipe. I even gave her a loaf of Oaks Sweet Potato Zucchini Cranberry Bread with a copy of the recipe as a bribe. There are some great pies that have tempted me too. How does Oh My Chocolate Chip or Coconut Custard pie sound? One of these days I’ll try the Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. Peanut Butter Brownie Torte sounds really good too.