It is a Friday evening and you have exhausted all on-campus options. You want something new, but not too pricy. Downtown Harrisonburg is less than a mile away from Wilson Hall and a beautiful walk from the Quad. There, you can find cute shops, great bars and most importantly, great eats. Here’s a list of the best five places to eat in the downtown ‘Burg. All places listed are perfect for a college kid’s budget.
Clementine is a great spot for live music and yummy grub. The menu is pretty straight forward, with burger, salad and wrap options. Vegetarian options are also available. The restaurant concentrates on Americana tunes, but you can also see Funk, Indie Rock and Jam bands.
Downstairs is a 21+ bar named “Ruby’s” where you can go hear your fellow Dukes as well as Harrisonburg locals play open-mic night on Wednesdays. There is also an outdoor patio where you can eat and drink. Covered in sparkly lights and green shrubbery, it is a great place to enjoy that sweet autumn air.
Foodbarfood is a groovy dining establishment with a sophisticated menu, art collection and atmosphere. With items such as “Beer Braised & Seared Pork Belly” and “Grilled Rosemary Focaccia,” Foodbarfood brings a high-brow menu to Harrisonburg without the high-brow attitude. Located across the street from JMU’s new “Ice House,” this up-and-coming area is an easy walk from campus; While it is off the beaten path of Main Street, it’s worth the tiny detour.
3. The Little Grill Collective
The Little Grill Collective is exactly that – an intimate dining experience brought to you by the employees that are also the owners of the restaurant. The Little Grill is best known for their brunches with eight different pancake options and over 10 breakfast specials. The ingredients are mainly local and vegetarian options populate the menu.
The Grill has occasional music acts. They also have board games and fun knick-knacks to occupy your time as you wait for your meal. If you wish to support not only local businesses but local farmers, this is the place to eat.
4. The Artful Dodger
Named after everyone’s favorite character in “Oliver Twist,” this cafe and bar is a fun joint to get your greasy fix. “Pot of Tots” is a famous menu item, which includes an actual plant pot full of tater tots. Other menu items include sandwiches, wraps, and flats, as well as a brunch menu that makes it a popular spot for Saturday and Sunday mornings. The vibe is relaxed with seating outside and a large dance floor inside. Local art decorates the walls and is available for purchase.
5. Arepera Las Chamas
Sometimes you feel worldly and want to try exotic cuisine. “Las Chamas,” which sits below Urban Exchange on S. Mason Street, offers all kinds of dishes that are native to around and below the equator. This Caribbean restaurant specializes in Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, Colombian, Cuban and Dominican cuisine and offers delicious juices and smoothies to accompany your global meal. ¡Cuidado! Food can be spicy and they are closed on Sundays.