Monday, January 19, 2009

Elmwood at Sparks Restaurant

24 W. Main St., Orange (opposite the post office)
Lunch Mon-Sat, 11a-3p; Dinner Thu-Sat 6-9p; 540.672.0060

Considering that the restaurant in the Montpelier Visitor Center offers only pre-packaged sandwiches and soup served in styrofoam bowls, it is a delight to discover a destination-worthy restaurant just four miles away in Orange. Housed in a c. 1830 Federal style brick building, Elmwood at Sparks replaces a deli that had occupied the site since 1902.

Luncheon menus items priced from $2.50 (a cup of soup) to $12.50 (an 8-oz. rib eye steak salad); sandwiches (croissant or open face), quiches, salads, full-meal main courses (chicken cordon bleu, grilled salmon, shrimp & penna pasta). A dessert case divides the dining room from the open kitchen. Lunch prices are absurdly modest for the quality of ingredients and culinary skill of award-winning owner/chef Randy Cooper, whose menu features local products and changes seasonally. Dinner is a more serious affair (starters $7.50-$10, mains $17-$33).

Chef Cooper and staff at work in the kitchen.