Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Before McDonalds

Rays Restaurant  - next to Radford Brothers on North Main Street

Before Ronald McDonald rolled into town there was Ray's.  In fact, there were two of them..... one on North Main and one on South Main.  Ray's served yummy charbroiled burgers and plump roast beef sandwiches, french fries, and other delicious fast food treats.

I need help from my readers out there who remember Ray's.  The one on South Main was up in the vicinity of what was then the Blacksburg High School.  It seems that particular restaurant either BECAME a Hardees, or WAS a Hardees and changed to Ray's.  Or were they two separate places?  See what 40 years does to your memory!!!!

I just remember, being a teenager, how much I liked the food.  By the way, they also went by the name of Ray's Kingburgers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bluegrass Music

(click to enlarge)

Despite the fact that in the late 1960's and into the 1970's many saw the youth of the day as "hippies" or just generally long-haired, disheveled, acid rock lovin' kids there was one type of music that brought this scruffy bunch together with the regular mountain folk, both young and old, and that was good old fashion Bluegrass.

Whether it was down the road at Galax Fiddler's Convention or, as the picture above shows, at a local farm this grass-roots music was enjoyed by all ages.  The gathering in this photo looks like "Woodstock Lite" and it may have been at Hawthorne's farm ...... it looks like the stage and the rolling land that I remember seeing.

Other festivals happened all over the New River Valley.  There was at least one or two weekends at Yellow Sulphur Springs in the early 70's and who knows how many others that were more private affairs.

The point is that this music has a wonderful way of bonding otherwise dissimilar souls.  Bluegrass is still a big draw at outdoor concerts.

Anyone out there have a good memory or two to share?

Monday, September 5, 2011

That Steak Place

"A new kind of dining" is what the local newspaper called "That Steak Place".  We all thought it was a pretty elegant restaurant with a couple of marketing ploys that kept us coming back.

As the name suggests, beef was their specialty but you could also order crab, shrimp, or lobster too.  When you entered, you knew by the gold and red decor and candle lighting that you were in an upscale eatery.  The tables were surrounded by captain's chairs and you might immediately notice there was a salad bar where you could create your own first course (a fairly new concept then).  If you came in to have a steak (and why wouldn't you?) then that's when the fun began.  A waiter would wheel a cart beside your table with the house specialty, Choice Rib-Eye steaks, and you could select the size of your entree by telling him to move the knife over just a little more !  You were then charged by the weight, and when they first opened that was only 50 cents per ounce .... just think, a half-pound steak for 4 bucks.  Filet Mignon and New York Strips were priced at $5.50.

That Steak Place was located in the front of the University Motel, the place that now hosts a laundromat just beyond the hospital and Dairy Queen on Rt. 460 South.

The co-owners were George Nettleton, a Tech graduate, and Vernon Roberts, both from Richmond.  Vernon was director of operations and manager of That Steak Place in Richmond as well.

The best part of this great dining experience was that you could get a free steak on your birthday.  Do you think many starving VT students showed up there?