As the last of the snow melts and warm temperatures greet us, it’s time to go exploring! In case you missed some of these exciting openings while holed up over the cold months, check out this list of regional restaurants and culinary experiences that have recently popped up. Whether looking for a fresh take on date night or a fun family night out, there’s something for everyone!
Graziano’s Italian Restaurant, Forest. Calzones. Large salads. Fresh Italian soups. Half-pound burgers and “smashed” fries. Philly cheese steaks. And the pizzas… NY-style pizzas! Gluten-free pizzas! Stop by to see why so many 5-star Facebook reviews say “amazing!” Open since November, this family-owned and -operated eatery seems to be building on the foundation they inherited from the former Lil’ Cucci’s. Open Tuesdays to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call (434) 525-9510.
Azul, Bedford. Enjoy their fresh-Mex menu and find out for yourself why they’ve earned so many 5-star Facebook reviews since opening last fall. Focused on providing quick, fresh, from-scratch offerings where you select a protein (ranging from chicken to venison and tofu) and a method (in a bowl? in tortillas?) finished off with your preferences from a range of toppings. Brought to you by the Siehiens who also own Bedford Social Club. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (540) 583-5088.
Culinary Classes, Lynchburg. Are you the next Emeril? Come put your cooking skills to the test in classes focused on Indian cuisine or techniques such as sushi rolling. Ever wanted to bake a whole chicken but a bit too intimidated to try it on your own? Then this is your place to learn. Information on class times and costs can be found at www.LynchburgParksandRec.com; you can also register online. Variety of days and times; call (434) 455-5858.
The Tuscan Italian Grill, Altavista. Operated by the owners of The Pitted Olive, this eatery has people buzzing about their Douby bread. Curious? Stop by to explore their vast menu featuring Italian classics—calamari, bruschetta, stromboli—and some American favorites—bacon and cheese fries, chicken wings—as well. Open for lunch and dinner; visit www.EatTuscan.com.
By Jennifer Redmond