By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Oct. 17 — Three business partners from Harrisonburg said they felt a certain “vibe” when they visited Luray, and that vibe permeated through a number of new businesses in Downtown Luray. Being friends with the folks that opened Broad Porch Coffee next to the Main Street bridge (who are also from Harrisonburg and have another shop location in the Friendly City), they saw — like their friends — a scene that they wanted to expand to, and invest in.
“It’s nice to see a good community of business owners,” Brad Reese said. “For a community to thrive, it takes a group of good business owners that want to make Luray a cool place, and we really want to be a part of that.”
Reese is the managing partner of The Chop House Bistro, which first started serving meals a couple of weeks ago in the former location of Moonshawdows, just up the hill from the Luray fire hall. On Tuesday, the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony at 132 East Main Street to celebrate the official opening of another downtown eatery.
“We are super excited to have you investing here on Main Street,” Chamber President Gina Hilliard said. “I’ve heard nothing but fantastic reviews so far.”
“I brought my wife here not long ago and had a lovely evening,” Mayor Jerry Dofflemyer said on Tuesday. “I think this makes a great addition to our restaurant offerings.”
The “pasture to boat” menu offers selects cuts of beef and seafood delicacies. Salads and burgers are also on the menu, as well as several veggie options.
“We want to be approachable and casual, but elevated in a way that you feel comfortable and very well taken care of,” partner Kate Hill said.
Kate’s husband was in the hospitality industry for many years, and they moved from place to place before finally relocating back to the Shenandoah Valley, where her husband grew up. In 2009, they opened The Local Chop & Grill House in Harrisonburg, along with executive chef and partner Ryan Zale.
“You can call me the good lookin’ one,” Zale joked with a crowd of about 30 or more that gathered on Tuesday for the ribbon cutting. “We have been busy…we’re just happy to be here and grow with Luray.”
Zale first hired Reese as a dishwasher in 2010. After working through every position in the business — and a brief hiatus in real estate — Reese now stands as a managing partner of the new Luray location.
“We’ve been open two weeks, and we’re thrilled with the welcome we have received from Luray,” he said on Tuesday. “I thought Luray had a great everything…I felt like it was untapped…just everything about it.”
The cozy interior of the Bistro has been newly remodeled, and as the weather allows, outdoor seating is available on the front porch overlooking Main Street.
Rumors first started circulating in the spring that the Harrisonburg restaurant was going to expand to Luray. Then in late summer, a social media post made it official — the Rockingham County trio was bringing great food and great atmosphere to the already expanding offerings in Downtown Luray.
“I too have heard nothing but great things,” Luray Downtown Initiative Program Coordinator Jackie Wood said prior to the ribbon cutting. “We had heard great things about your restaurant in Harrisonburg as well.”
“I too had lunch here with my mom, an the service was great, the food was great,” Chamber board member and local Realtor Sable Ponn said. “Thank you for investing in our town and branching out with your second location in Luray.”
The executive chef says that they stress using Virginia-based products in preparing their meals, and they “want to reach out to local producers” as well.
“Just visiting Luray, there is a really cool vibe everywhere,” Zale said. “It feels more like home…not city ‘foo-foo’ stuff…”
“Once we found this space,” Hill added, “it felt right…like home.”
The Chop House Bistro, 132 E. Main St., Luray, is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner — 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (last table seated) Monday through Saturday; and Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For reservations (recommended), call (540) 860-5605.
Visit them online at https://www.chopbistro.com/