|Irene Karageorge with a lot of happy diners.|
I discovered her Veranda Bistro, a Greek/Italian eatery with a whole lot going for it, today and I'm telling you to go eat lunch there asap. The prices are on the upper lunch end, but so's the food. It's fresh, tasty and in proper proportions. The ambiance inside is marvelous, even if the outside gives you no hint of anything but maybe a filling station.
Irene, a former banker with a long background in restaurants, has the marvelous Mediterranean dishes (which have the special benefit of being both tasty and healthy), along with brick oven pizza and a raft of pasta dishes. She does calzones and strombolis and she'll even do a custom cater for you.
Once a month, Irene does a celebrity chef dinner for the chef's favorite charity and she asked if I'd be the chef at one in the near future. Of course, I agreed to show up (anything for attention) and maybe bring my mac 'n' cheese recipe (with Kalmata olives and authentic Feta for the Greek effect).
Irene's is yet another in that line of Williamson Road International Corridor businesses that I hope the city and county will recognize with their own flag soon. This is a real selling point for an overlooked section of the city. There is so much good food on Williamson Road that it must be recognized soon.
The Karageorge family (which owns or owned the Roanoke Weiner Stand, City Lunch, Pete's Deli and La Maison du Gourmet) has more than 100 years in the business.
Go sit on the Veranda. I think you'll like it, if you can find it. The address is 8201 Williamson Road in Roanoke and the phone number is 540-563-4445. The Web site is www.verandabistro.com.