in the rearview mirror, we find our Intrepid Travelers headed east on Route 8 in search of lunch. Yes, there were restaurants in Floyd that we had yet to try (Natasha’s, Mickey G’s Bistro, the Blue Ridge Restaurant), but we were drawn by the lure of a name—Tuggles Gap Restaurant & Motel.
“Built in 1938 by General Boyd in anticipation of the future Blue Ridge Parkway, Tuggles Gap initially operated as a gas station with soda pop and candy. Soon after, the first eight motel units were built. Descendants of General Boyd ran the business until 1985 when it was purchased by Retired Marine Bill Mills.
“In 1992, Neil Baker…bought Tuggles Gap from Mr. Mills. She arrived with years of restaurant management experience, great recipes, love of the business, and her cherished Rottweiler, Captain Midnight…. Neil retired in the fall of 2003 and with her guidance and support, daughter Cheri (Baker) has continued to manage Tuggles Gap using Neil’s recipes and credo, ‘We love to serve you’” (tugglesgap.biz).
I am not sure if Tuggles Gap meets the strict definition of a roadhouse as found on wikipedia.org: “A local inn or restaurant…commonly serving meals, especially in the evenings, with a bar serving beer or hard liquor, featuring music and dancing for entertainment, and often gambling. Most roadhouses are located along highways or roads in rural areas or on the outskirts of towns. Early roadhouses provided lodging for travelers…”
Well, Tuggles Gap does serve dinner (along with breakfast and lunch). It does serve alcohol in the form of beer and local wines. And it periodically offers bluegrass music on the side patio. But “roadhouse” conjures the image of a slightly disreputable establishment and such is not the case at Tuggles Gap. Would a true roadhouse offer such reading materials as The New Yorker and the Holy Bible?
Art by local artists decorate the walls. This “portrait” of Albert Einstein which contains Einstein’s quote: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one” is by Floyd artist David Hall, who is a member of the Floyd Artists Association.
This representation (below) of Tuggles Gap Restaurant is done in a technique called giclee. Having no idea what this is, I had to come home and do some investigation. “Giclee (zhee-klay)…is a feminine noun that means a spray or a spurt of liquid. The word may have been derived from the French verb ‘gicler’ meaning ‘to squirt.’…Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art, and photo-base paper. The giclee printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction.” (gicleeprint.net)
The lunch menu contained a surprising number of southwest items. “…(C)urrent owner Cheri Baker…with her mother…moved cross-country from Grants, New Mexico, and brought with them recipes for making green and red chilies. Those sauces are slathered over a beautiful breakfast burrito, stuffed with scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, tomato, and onion. The menu offers red or green chili…The red is the bolder of the two, made from an old New Mexico recipe using dried Anaheim peppers” (patrickchamber.com).
But none of these appealed to me, nor did any of the sandwiches listed on the menu or the daily specials. But I noticed that breakfast is served all day, so I asked to see that menu. Still seeking the ultimate biscuits and gravy, they were my choice.
This was the best rendition of this diner classic that I have eaten during our Blue Ridge stay. Finally, a gravy with a generous amount of sausage bits and one that tasted of more than thick white sauce into which some meat had been tossed. I might have elevated my assessment from very good to great if they had not been served somewhere between lukewarm and warm. With the biscuits and gravy came two small sausage patties, which were nicely flavored with sage, but unfortunately were a bit overcooked and dry.
Chuck had the All-American lunch of the Big B Cheeseburger with sides of fries and onion rings. The fries were OK. Perhaps I have eaten too many restaurant French fries in our four years of travel that it is hard to impress me—unless they are the patatine fritte (Italian French fries) cooked in olive oil with strips of leeks as served at Andreoli Italian Grocer in Scottsdale, AZ. I was not impressed with the onion rings which had a thick and somewhat chewy coating. The burger had great taste with a nice crust.
This was a satisfying, but not a great meal; but is still worthy of 3.5 Addies.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.