Roanoke Revealed

The Market in Roanoke Virginia

The Market in Roanoke Virginia

The Market (also known as the City Market and Market Street), generally refers to the downtown restaurant scene – Roanoke boasts 60 total, with most concentrated in this “Market” area.

Technically speaking, the boundaries encompass the Historic district, which is (according to Wikipedia):

“Roughly bounded by Williamson Rd., Norfolk Ave., S. Jefferson St., and Church Ave. The district area was increased to include 302 Campbell Ave., SE, and 9 Church Ave, SE, in 2002. The district encompasses 51 contributing buildings and 1 contributing object. The focal point of the area’s grid-plan is the City Market Building (1922) set in the middle of the central Market Square. Other notable buildings include the Lampros Building (1909), the McGuire Building (1914), Goria Brothers Grocery Building (1924), and the E & M Market (1946).

But, for practical purposes, park your car on Jefferson Street near Church or Campbell and head east, or on Franklin Road (near Jefferson Street or Williamson Road) and head north. There are lots of parking spaces in The Market central area, but you’ll avoid the cluster and enjoy the scenes as you get some exercise walking a few blocks. There are also a number of parking garages in the City. Most are free in the evening but I’ve found it tough to get out headed in the right direction.

There’s also an extensive daily farmer’s market in the same general area. It hasn’t been open when I’ve been there (mostly 8-5 hours are listed – apparently only during the growing season).

Most times, when locals point to the place, they’re referring to the eclectic and copious shop & restaurant mix that occupies about an eight-block area.

I was first introduced to this wonderful concentration of personalities as varied as the cuisines and curios offered when I came to Roanoke house hunting. It was about 8 p.m. on a Sunday night after a drive from Connecticut, house tour, paperwork signing session and hotel arrival. I was tired and HUNGRY.

The clerk offered an alternative to the hotel restaurant that was a straight shot down Jefferson Street – something even my weary, foreigner brain could handle. This wonderful surprise not only had me feeling completely safe walking alone in a city I didn’t know, but I was also amazed at the vibrancy (not to mention finding restaurants open DOWNTOWN at 8 p.m. on a SUNDAY).

As it turned out, my dining intent morphed to a slice (the biggest pizza piece I’ve ever been handed – glad I didn’t order two) as most of what I found still open were high-end restaurants and bars. Neither appealed to my tired body and wallet lightened from the house offer deposit.

The man who delivered the sinful delicacy (I suspect he was the owner) was a hoot – along with everyone hanging out at the place. I’ll be back.

If you’re visiting Roanoke for the first time, looking to entertain company or merely seeking a fun place to hang (lots of live bands performing here too), don’t skip The Market. You’ll fondly remember the experience.

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