Downtown eateries emerging for 2023

Watch & Warrant
Watch & Warrant, a new Luray eatery in the former Artisans Grill location at Broad and Main, is expected to open in early 2023. (Photo by Eleanor Arrington)

By Randy Arrington, publisher

Locals and tourists alike have complained about a limited selection of eateries in the area in recent years. As the pandemic shut down restaurants, many — even the old mainstays — struggled to staff their kitchens and pull themselves out of months of dormancy. Some closed their doors for good.

Renovations to the former Browns American Chinese Restaurant and the Old Bridge Theater building are going a little slower than some would like, but tons of potential still rest within those historic walls. Uncle Buck’s remains dormant, and it appears that won’t change anytime soon. Moonshadows is currently for sale, and now at a reduced price, this property could be a great opportunity for an entrepreneur that wants to get in on the Luray renaissance that’s building momentum.

As 2023 approaches, the promise of new culinary offerings is simmering in conversations throughout Downtown Luray and beyond.

The most noticeable beacon of new things to come sits at the corner of Main and Broad, as both interior and exterior work continues on the former Artisans Grill. The new Watch & Warrant Restaurant plans to offer medium to up-scale entrees, including an extensive seafood lineup. The new owners from Washington, D.C. have installed a long, granite bar in the downstairs dining area, with a mini-bar and seating upstairs overlooking Main Street. A new commercial kitchen has been installed in the basement, complete with a new “dumb waiter” to shuffle hot food to the serving area. The 1930s art deco environment will serve customers six days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to initial plans shared with town officials. The initial goal is for a “soft opening” prior to Page County’s annual “Restaurant Week” in March.

The former Chapman House further west on Main Street is being transformed into Porch & Vine by new owners Tony Villa and Isaac George. The up-scale environment will provide indoor and outdoor dining with guest chefs — or “pop-up chefs” — appearing to match special meals with wines. Seats for the revolving menu and chefs will likely require reservations. A full service wine bar and its unique food pairings will set this venue apart. Porch & Vine’s opening is anticipated in either March or April.

Asian Station (company name) has purchased the former Baby Moon’s location next to the railroad tracks on East Main Street. The transaction closed on Nov. 17, as the owners of Talk Thai (an eatery in Front Royal) inked the deal. The two women from Warren County plan to offer Thai food at the unique location that was beautifully renovated by former owner and Luray Councilman Jason Pettit. Future plans potentially call for enclosing some of the current outdoor seating. The two entrepreneurs also purchased the Liberty Tax building on the opposite hill along West Main Street and are currently discussing options for renovations.

The addition of a beer garden at West Main Market this past year proved successful and is expected to continue to add to that thriving deli and sandwich shop in 2023. The Speakeasy has increased its hours and offerings, including a full bar; Ollie Cats and Ill Vesuvio’s remain steady as well.

The new kid on the block — Blue Shepherd Spirits — has seen dozens of visitors since opening on a limited basis on the weekends earlier this year, and there is talk of working with food vendors in the future. Hawksbill Brewing continues to coordinate with local food trucks to increase their food options, and Valley Cork continues to be another tourist favorite with a great selection of wines. And Gathering Grounds…well, just try to get a table for lunch on the weekends (it’s hard enough during the week sometimes).

And while there may be only a couple of tables for sit-down guests, we highly recommend stopping by and getting something to take home from the Main Street Bakery, where you won’t be disappointed in the smells and tastes that will tempt your pallet.

Who says there’s nowhere to eat in Downtown Luray?

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Perfect time to ‘eat locally’

11 Comments

  1. A good read, but doesn’t Broad Porch deserve at least an honorable mention?

    I do hope someone purchases Moonshadows now that you’ve reported the asking price has been reduced. It wouldn’t need to be reinvented. It was always fantastic just the way it was.

  2. And yet Mrs B’s Pizza(Betty’s Pizza) has been open and operated in Luray and served locals for over 45 years in this community ! Just because we are not considered “downtown” doesn’t mean we are not a part of Luray !

  3. So sad to see you didn’t mention Broad Porch Coffee. We are open 7 days a week with regular hours even when tourists aren’t here including all winter. We were even open during the snow storm on Thursday. We roast all of our coffee in downtown Luray and make our all our baked goods from scratch on site. Come visit us! Every day and all winter long!

  4. Also Jesse’s Lunch in the east end of town is one more option, especially if you’re looking for a good hotdog.

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