Autumn is a time when temperatures cool down, and appetites ramp up.
Maybe it’s something primordial in our collective, culinary DNA that says, “Hey, buddy. Winter’s coming. You can put on a few extra pounds and cover it up with ugly Christmas sweaters.”
Perhaps it’s due to football season, and everyone knows you don’t go tailgating with a salad (unless it’s potato salad!).
Maybe it’s just because they are so darn good, but guilty pleasure dishes are what you eat when you’re not counting calories. They’re also perfect grab-and-go options for tailgating or watching football at home.
We picked these dishes because, well, they are delicious, but also because each one is an example of a classic comfort food or pub grub. Dig in!
Who doesn’t love nachos, that dichotomy of crunchy and gooey goodness? At Benjamin’s the Red Neck Nachos Y’all start with a base of housemade chips and are topped with slow smoked, pulled pork barbecue, melted smoked gouda cheese, and adobo and barbecue sauces.
The plate is garnished with scallions and tobacco onions.
Benjamin’s is at 14900 Forest Rd., Forest. Call (434) 534-6077
or visit www.CowsAndCrabs.com
Onion rings are frequently the forgotten side dish, often overlooked for french fries. But don’t overlook the Black & Tan Onion Rings, a stack of stout and lager beer-battered slices of onion served with a side of housemade Bräuburgers’ Sauce for dipping.
Another pick: Käse Mond, cheese-filled breaded wedges, offered up with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
Bräuburgers is at 14805 Forest Rd., Forest.
Call (434) 525-2727 or visit
We love a good dip—the perfect mix of rich creaminess and flavorful additions. At Hill City House Grille, try the Hot Crab Dip, a cheese-based dip filled with crab and served with herb flatbread.
The Feta Cheese Dip also gets our attention: a cream cheese-based dip spiked with feta cheese and sun dried tomatoes.
Hill City House Grille is at 7001 Timberlake Rd., Lynchburg. Call (434) 237-6110 or visit
We aren’t sure who got the idea to scoop out a potato and gussy up the skins for a spud-tacular side dish, but we’d like to shake their hand. At The Neighbors Place, a platter of six skins comes filled with a mixture of melting cheese and some awesome options: bacon, chili or pulled pork barbecue.
The Neighbors Place is at 104 Paulette Cir., Lynchburg. Call (434) 455-4300
or visit www.TheNeighborsPlace.com
We love fries—fluffy, moist potato encased in a crispy exterior. And while we love them just about any way they come, we do love to dip them. But ketchup is so 20th century. At The Corner at Rivermont, there are 16 different dipping sauces, from house ketchup to cocktail sauce, maple bourbon bacon vinaigrette to horseradish ranch and even a secret sauce.
The Corner at Rivermont is at 2496 Rivermont Ave., Lynchburg. Call (434) 219-6035 or visit www.TheCornerAtRivermont.com
Wings are king in the appetizer realm, and while there are many variations, in our book, you can’t beat traditional Buffalo style. But variety is the spice of life, so at Shakers there is also Honey Garlic, Chipotle BBQ and Sweet Thai Chile, all served with ranch or blue cheese dip.
Another favorite snack, potato chips, are served here, freshly fried and tossed in Buffalo seasoning, also with ranch or blue cheese dip.
Shakers is at 3401 Candlers Mountain Rd, Lynchburg. Call (434) 847-7425 or visit www.Shakers.com
How does mac and cheese get any better than it already is? How about taking a rich, creamy housemade variety, roll it into two balls, bread them and deep fry them? Want it better still? Your balls are then topped with savory chili and Colby jack cheese. Yum.
A new classic comfort food, Jalapeño Poppers, are also served up ready to pop in your mouth; these spicy jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese are served with a side of ranch.
Stoney Badger Tavern is at 3009 Old Forest Rd., Lynchburg. Call (434) 384-3004
or visit www.StoneyBadgerTavern.com
Photos by Jim Pile