After a few hours of writing and being revived at the local coffee shop (Mill Mountain), I met up with friends for lunch in downtown Blacksburg.
My friend had been telling me about the place the previous night, a spot called The Cellar, located on the corner of College and Main. It’s really well-rounded: A bright, wood-paneled restaurant upstairs, a “cellar” bar downstairs, outside seating (recently renovated), and a brand new 6-PAK beer store (mix and match six-packs).
Kicking back and looking over the menu, I had to laugh – the deals in college towns are always interesting. I had been bitten by $2 doubles the previous night at Sharkey’s, and now a deal called “Luck of the Draw” was staring me in the face.
It was another two-dollar temptation, an indecisive person’s dream come true – the bartender would simply reach into a cooler full of bottled beers and pull one out at random. Beer drinkers have to love this concept, an affordable way to try new beers and make each round interesting.
Leave it to me to find a hint of intervention in a random process, and I shook my head as the waiter put the beer down in front of me. I was towing a boat across the country with a Toyota Corolla and a 50-year old trailer, and the “random” beer I get is a Full Sail IPA.
Universal conspiracies aside, it was right up my alley – a very mild IPA, more on the sweet/malty side with a modest hop finish (it didn’t coax my thirst or leave me smacking my tongue). The food was really good and reasonably priced, too. I had the lunch special, a nine-inch, three-topping pizza ($5).
I don’t expect the world to run off to Blacksburg to get pizza and beer, but I think businesses of a larger scale can learn a lot from small-town establishments. The message is pretty clear – don’t be afraid to offer deals that ring with personality, that make the customer feel like they’re getting a steal and a story for the next day.
Sitting there with the beer and the food and my friends, reminiscing about the four years of our lives we spent together, looking out the window at the streets where we used to walk – the beer was the least of my luck.
Until next time, Blacksburg – cheers!