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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Buchanan Grill




Trying to find the history on this little drugstore/grill is nearly impossible. All I can find on their website is "step back in time" but I want more than that, I want to know exactly how far back into time I'm stepping and exactly who is Ransone? Well I still don't know who Ransone is but I did find out that this place is from the 30's and here's a little more that I found:


Botetourt County, Va.: Seven-Inch-tall Burger and a ‘55 AMI Jukebox

“Once you get ahold of it, you don’t turn loose unless you want to eat it with a fork.” That’s Eric Pelton’s advice on how to consume a Big E Burger at the Buchanan Grill in Buchanan, Va.

This flame-grilled wonder rises some seven inches above the plate. Consider the elements: six ounces of freshly ground beef, double cheese, grilled onions, bacon, horseradish, mushrooms, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, raw onions, pickles, lettuce and tomato.

Pelton, a former truck driver who took over this Buchanan landmark in March of 2010, says most diners cut the Big E Burger in half or attack it with a fork. “And it’s surprising to me that more women order it than men,” he adds.

The restaurant also plates up what Pelton calls “good old Southern home cooking,” and the booths, counters and floors are original, from The Fountain Grill of the late 1930s. The 1955 AMI jukebox still plays 45-rpm records from the Elvis era, all free of charge to customers. Citizens of Buchanan once bowled in the basement of the building.

In this town on the James River, on the first weekend in April, the 1864 raid by Union General David Hunter is re-enacted, with shots ringing out right in front of the restaurant. The Buchanan Grill, in fact, is the only restaurant I’ve found that features video of a Civil War reenactment on its web page.

For customers visiting in the spring to experience the drama of the Civil War, kayakers floating on the James River, and the many locals whose orders Pelton can predict as they walk in the door, the Big E Burger at the Buchanan Grill on Main Street ranks as one of the Blue Ridge’s most memorable attractions.

Blue Ridge Country .

We ate there a few years back, after the Civil War Re-enactment and have to say that we were a bit disappointed in the fact that they have a soda fountain but we were served cokes from a can. Really? This was before the new owner so maybe they've fixed that now. I mean seriously, you're at a soda fountain, the big thrill is to get your cokes from the fountain! Oh, and they played old I Love Lucy re-runs while we were there, loved that!

The grill is across the street from the Buchanan Theater I showed you a couple of days ago :)

Linking up for the first time with
and
 then, she {snapped}

30 comments:

  1. The Ransones were a well-known local family who settled in the Buchanan area circa 1886. Toler Ransone is the name that sticks in my mind. The family owned several businesses in Buchanan in the early 1900s, including a livery stable. And I would guess the drugstore. There are still some Ransones in the area, I think.

    Nice photo.

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    1. Ha, I knew if anyone would know, it would be you! I love that they keep the original owner's name up. You know me, I have to have the history on a place, all the other stuff just isn't important to me :D

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  2. I want one of those 7" burgers, but the soda needs to be fountain. It look inviting.

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    1. yes, i need to go for another visit and see if it's a soda fountain coke! maybe my husband and i can go split that burger, sounds a bit huge but good!

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  3. Ransone--such an old southern name. I think of a dark-haired, devilish guy--but maybe I'm reading too much summer fiction! I remember the combo drugstore/grill in my hometown and the hamburgers and fountain cokes were memorable there too. This meme fits perfectly with your blog, doesn't it?

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  4. skip the food - i am all over that chevelle!

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  5. Great photo and i love old diners. I would be disappointed too, being served a can of soda when there is a soda fountain.

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  6. How nostalgic! I so wish these places were everywhere like they used to be, i never got to experience a real soda fountain!

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  7. I don't care for burgers but I'd love to hear that jukebox!

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  8. interesting post...
    enjoyed it...

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  9. Everything about this place I like!

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  10. This is such a beautiful picture !


    Please have a good Tuesday you all.

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  11. I occasionally craved a great burger!

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  12. It's really such a sweet little place -- looks like it might have been a drug store at one time... :)

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  13. Sorry you don't really like your new camera...it takes great photos! :-) This was an interesting post!

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  14. So glad you joined us. Great shot...interesting!!

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  15. Hmmmm...suddenly I'm craving a hamburger! LOL!!
    I'm with TWG, the car parked out front is killer and lends a nice touch to the picture! Great photograph Tanya! :)

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  16. Love this shot, the colors are wonderful and the car does add to it! Great.

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  17. Bet they have great ice cream sundaes.

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  18. I'd be willing to try one of those burgers mentioned in the story. I think the car in the photo is pretty neat as well.

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  19. We have eaten there and loved it. Great ice cream sundays. The owner is a neat guy, and the gals behind the counter are perfection. We love going there. genie

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  20. What a wonderful photo- a lovely store and mustard yellow car.

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  21. As a teen in the era when cherry cokes at the drug store was the thing for kids to do, this brings back some memories.

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  22. William A. "Willie" Ransone, Jr. was one of fourteen children, raised in Buchanan, VA on Boyd Street by my great grandfather William A "Will" Ransone and Charlotte "Lottie" Ransone. Will Ransone ran a livery stable in downtown Buchanan by the James River until the automobile replaced that mode of transportation. My grandfather, Willie, was born in 1910, and originally owned two pharmacies in Buchanan during it's heyday in the 50's. The store that you visited was the social hub in downtown Buchanan for many years, and featured a pharmacy, general store, soda fountain, and a bowling alley in the basement with several apartments upstairs. The soda fountain served homemade pies, old fashion milkshakes, limeades, burgers, soups, etc. The booths each had their own "mini-jukeboxes" so you could play tunes while you ate. My grandfather also sold hunting and fishing licenses, and served as the Greyhound bus terminal. He ran the store until he was well into his eighties. Willie was well known and loved by people from all over the state of VA, and throughout the south, and they visited him frequently at the store. He was a wonderful, generous man who loved children, horses, farming, and good southern cooking. He passed away in 2000. His sister Charlotte,who is 100 years old, and his youngest sister Isabel, still reside in Buchanan. His daughter, Katherine Sue Booze, also resides in Buchanan, and lives in my grandfathers house. If your interested in learning more about the Ransone family, and the history of Buchanan, I suggest you read "Buchanan, VA: Gateway to the Southwest", by Harry Fulwiler. BTW, I stumbled across this blog when I was looking for a picture of my grandfathers drugstore on Google.

    Best regards,

    William A.Ransone IV

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    1. Hi William! Thank you so much for this super account of your grandfather and the history. I will have to check out the book you recommended and if there is anything you would like me to photograph for you, please let me know, I'd be happy to. I also am into genealogy and have a separate blog for that...I find it so interesting!

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    2. Willie Ransone served the Buchanan community and helped many people in their times of illness as a druggist. He was such a kind and understanding man and one I will never forget. Although his professional ethics were questioned later in his career my regard for him never changed. He helped so many people in so much pain and distress.

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  23. Hey Tanya,

    Thank YOU for your interest, and for the cool pictures and historical information. Your blog is awesome, you definitely have a natural talent. It makes me homesick when I see familiar places from my childhood. I sent you a direct e-mail, so I could attach a picture of my grandfather for you to see. My daughters and I will be back in VA in early June to spend time with my sisters and their families at Smith Mountain Lake--it's an annual event that we all look forward to. I'll also be making a day trip to Buchanan to see a few relatives, and will definitely stop by the drugstore. Hope you have a great Mothers Day, thanks again.

    Will

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    1. I SO appreciate your emails and replies with all this great information! Keep it coming! And have a wonderful trip!!

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Hi! I'm so happy you've stopped by and always enjoy your comments :)