Beer: good ‘n local, always in bottles
Meat: good ‘n absent, sometimes fishy
Service: good ‘n friendly, occasionally slow
Noms: good’n tasty, never disappointing
Bathrooms: good ‘n existing, there is one
She said: Gillies is a local joy for Blacksburg meat-haters. It was the first restaurant I ever tried in my new hometown and nowadays I go once a week. They have rotating fresh soups daily, yummy sandwiches, and a ton of GF options. I’m not a vegetarian (can’t live in a world without bacon) or a gluten-phobe, but I love Gillies. It’s one of the better, more interesting eateries in Blacksburg. No mystery meat here (or meat at all).
This particular visit I had the Somona Sandwich. Nothing too fancy – lots of grilled veggies on French bread with some melted cheese. The Kalamata olive relish and stone ground mustard was a nice touch. Simple & tasty. Most Gillies dishes come with their signature red cabbage slaw. It’s a nice crunchy side flavored with sesame oil.
A bonus on certain nights is live music. Again, nothing fancy but it’s nice to enjoy a meal with some live tunes. The crowd in Gillies varies from older townsfolk/professors to students. The dinner crowd skews older than the lunch rush.
Note: the only people I’ve met who don’t like Gillies are folks who won’t eat at restaurants where you can’t find dead cow. These people are morons.
He Said: I haven’t come anywhere close to trying all of the restaurants in the Blacksburg area yet, but I’m almost positive that I don’t need to in order to tell you that Gillie’s has the chops to tell them all to suck it. How nice it is to have a place around that locally sources its ingredients and puts forth more effort than regularly changing the frying oil.
No, you won’t find any meat in the kitchen; Gillie’s is herbivorous. Yes, a lot of the clientele are a little on the Hippy side, a little on the alternative side, a little on the snooty side.
But damn it, alternative, snooty Hippies know how to eat.
I’ve had many a meal at Gillies, and enjoyed each just as much as the first. The wait staff is knowledgeable and typically prompt. The breakfasts have great nontraditional breakfasts and a killer egg and cheese biscuit. And though there’s no beer on tap, they do have bottles.
The sandwiches made with the chickpea buns are absolutely delicious. On this particular visit, they were out of the buns, though, so their veggie burger had to be delivered on toasted wheat bread, which they also get fresh every day. For all of you vegetarian doubters out there, I dare you to try the Gillies Burger and come back to tell me that you didn’t eat all of it and come away satisfied. No, the patty has no meat in it. Instead its a blend of black beans, corn, green peppers and probably a dozen more ingredients. It’s crisped up on the flat top and delivered with delicious chipotle mayo. The result is a burger that is crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, incredibly flavorful, and even a little bit healthy for you.
Or, if you prefer, try the mushroom seitan burger. I couldn’t tell you what seitan is if the correct answer would bring me a night with Emma Stone, but it sure is tasty.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to put dead animals in my belly as often as it’s put in front of my face. I’ll hide in the closet while shamefully slamming down a triple baconator with cheese. But not every meal must have meat in it. Surely you enjoyed a grilled cheese and tomato soup at some point in your life? Or had half of a chocolate cake for breakfast?
As my grade school gym teacher Mr. Hartman used to say whenever some of the more unathletically inclined try to bow out of activities, “Try it. You might like it.”
Don’t be the scrawny dork of the culinary playing field.