Vintage Restaurant

Southern traditions shine in Central Virginia

Travelers hailing from Richmond, Virginia; D.C.; or further afield seek out Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Inn at Willow Grove. This restored 1778 plantation house with overnight cottages and spa treatments turns a simple country excursion into a special occasion.

That’s due in no small part to the inn’s Vintage Restaurant and its varied offerings. Sunday brunch brings in crowds with a French toast “brick” with mascarpone and mixed fruit coulis, and a generous serving of fried green tomato bruschetta. Vintage revives the Sunday Supper tradition with dishes like peppermint-crusted rack of lamb with pineapple-mint jelly.

Visit the Four-Star restaurant on a Wednesday to sample the tapas menu. On Thursdays, executive chef Kenneth Hughes creates three-course prix fixe selections from seasonal produce. Whenever you go, you’ll be treated to upscale Southern cuisine in a warm exposed-brick space.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • The inn’s imposing white columns and boxwood gardens provide the aura of a historic plantation while the menus speak to a contemporary era.
  • On a recent visit, we were greeted with a basket of fresh-from-the-oven pastries and encouraged to take more than one. It’s just the way to start the morning.
  • Vintage specializes in farm-to-table cuisine using seasonal, regional ingredients. Meals include a dollop of whipped butter with a dot of local honey.
  • Recent renovations of the centuries-old building created a half-dozen different dining areas, meaning that dining can be an intimate or social experience, accommodating couples or larger groups, including wedding parties.
  • Sample smaller helpings of Vintage’s dishes, like pumpkin-seed-crusted fried oysters with remoulade, and pan-seared halibut with warm tomato, basil and cured olive compote and herb-infused couscous during Gourmet Tapas Wednesdays.

Things to Know

  • Restaurant hours vary by day. Weekends — especially Sunday brunch — are typically the most popular.
  • Since the Vintage Restaurant resides in The Inn at Willow Grove, you’ll see the full spectrum of resort wear, from crisp linen shorts and espadrilles to starched pocket squares tucked inside club jackets.
  • The Virginia restaurant closes on Monday and Tuesday.

The Food

  • The pub and lunch menu has more casual fare, including grilled fish tacos, chicken Parmesan on brioche and a burger with aged cheddar and housemade steak sauce.
  • At dinner, expect choices like coffee-covered filet of beef with pomme frites, sautéed spinach and smoked blue cheese, shallot and port wine butter, or grilled double cut pork chop with Yukon potatoes, cabbage, parsley, kale and candied bacon.
  • While the menu skews Southern, it does include more global offerings, including sesame-crusted ahi tuna with avocado and artichoke orzo, snap peas, orange soy glaze and wasabi oil, or chicken saltimbocca with buttermilk whipped potatoes, braised chard and sage pan sauce.
  • With an emphasis on seasonal produce, the menu is easy to navigate for vegetarians. The spring edition featured a “three way salad” with a spotlight on carrots (carrot pesto, roasted carrots and shaved carrots with arugula) as well as a hearty roasted asparagus and semolina fettuccine with almond pesto and tomato concasse.

The Bar

  • History buffs — and those dining solo — should belly up to the bar and chat up the local gentry, who have made the more casual pub their watering hole of choice and love to share stories of hunt races at nearby Montpelier, the former home of President James Madison.
  • If you’d rather sip your dessert than use a spoon, the bar has a number of sweet selections on the menu. A few post-dinner delights that caught our eye recently are the Dreamsicle (Bacardi rum, Cointreau, orange juice, vanilla simple syrup, egg white and cream) and Grasshopper (Godiva chocolate liqueur, crème de menthe, vanilla-mint purée and cream).
  • The Orange restaurant is a multiple Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner. Peruse the strong wine list for international pours, California varietals and some local Virginia selections.

Business casual
Gluten-free options
Outdoor seating
Private dining
Reservations recommended
Vegetarian options
Getting There
14079 Plantation Way, Orange, Virginia 22960
Vintage Restaurant
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