Almost a year ago, I visited the then-newly opened Bud Foster's Restaurant in Blacksburg, Va., named after Virginia Tech football's defensive coordinator. I decided to share my thoughts about the experience in this blog post.
If you don't feel like reading, I'll summarize it by saying me and several of my friends had been less than impressed with the restaurant, finding the atmosphere lacking, the service terrible, the menu limited and the food bland. The operator of the restaurant had contacted me about the post (probably because it's negative, and it shows up third in a Google search for the place), and I had promised to revisit when my life slowed down and do a new post. Well, now that I'm finished with grad school and had to run some errands in Blacksburg the other day, I decided to have lunch at BFR.
The first thing I'll give the place kudos for is finally getting a Web site. Being online in a college is town is a must for survival, as students are going to hop online and check out your menu and drink specials before they even bother heading to your restaurant — especially if it's not in the downtown strip of Main Street Blacksburg, which BFR is not.
BFR redid their menu in January of this year, five months after my blog post and after they received comments from several visitors, according to the About Us page on their site. Regarding that menu, it is less limited than it was before, allowing a bit more in the way of choices for customers. However, prices do seem to have gone up about $1 since the restaurant's opening (at least for the dish I ordered last time). Given the current state of the economy, I guess that's not bad, but the portions weren't really reflective of the prices before. I felt, however, that I got a pretty good value for my lunch of a Philly Cheese Chicken sandwich for $5.99 with fries and a pickle.
But what about the taste? Well, it really wasn't anything to write home about, but it certainly by no means was bad. The one complaint I had was that the bread on which the sandwich was made tasted a bit stale around the edges. There still seems to be a little problem with seasoning at BFR, as the chicken didn't seem to have any spices or marinated flavor to it. Which, maybe that wouldn't be traditional, but BFR really needs something to set itself apart from the rest of the sports bars in Blacksburg. Right now, it seems like they aren't willing to take that step to use unique flavors to do so, aside, that is, from having a dish like their white chicken chili. I really wanted to try that chili, but it was such a hot day when I dropped in for lunch.
As far as service goes, I had a very attractive and friendly young lady as my server who I can't complain one bit about. I did hear someone in the back yelling at her to hurry up and get drinks out to some customers, but I was catching up on some reading and didn't really notice.
The atmosphere of the restaurant doesn't seem to have changed any, so if you're interested in that, you can check out the old post. The only other thing I would mention is the host who greeted me as I came in the door. Talk about a way to make a first impression — this guy had a curly mustachey thing creeping up the side of his face and some tribal braided goatee to top it all off with his long hair. Not only was I creeped out, but I wanted to laugh at how ridiculous this guy looked (and at how naiive the management must be to think that someone like this would make a good first impression on customers in rural southwestern Virginia). Seriously, this Halloween costume almost represents what the guy looked like, but the costume is definitely cooler. Oh, here's where he got the goatee idea, I guess — I get it, he was a pirate! But Bud Foster's team isn't the pirates....
Overall, BFR has improved. Before, I would have given it a 4 out of 10. I'd say now the restaurant warrants a 6 out of 10. It's a nice little joint to stop by once in awhile to mix things up, but I doubt it'll be on anyone's favorites list in the NRV.