Distillery and grill in Roanoke fulfills all your eating and drinking needs
The city of Roanoke is home to an ambitious new spot that's a restaurant and distillery in one. Called Anderson Distillery and Grill, it just opened at 400 S. Oak St., right by Roanoke City Hall, where it's serving a roster of spirits made in-house, along with cocktails and a menu of bites.
Anderson is from two friends, Jay Anderson and Andrew Frank, who met when their kids were in scouting. The two would cook on camping trips, often using a spice rub infused with coffee that Andrew created. By 2013, they launched Joe Rub, a seasoning company, which served a prequel of sorts that led to the opening of this festive Roanoke restaurant and bar.
"After we'd done that for few years, we decided, 'Let's do a restaurant where we use our Joe Rub product on our menu items," Anderson says. "Separately, I'd been doing distillery stuff for years, and decided that would be another fun element."
Their lineup includes vodka, rum, gin, bourbon, whiskey, and flavored liqueurs.
"It sounds like a lot, but we're a micro-distillery so we're making small batches," Anderson says. "Each batch is under 150 gallons at the start and only produces around 15-20 gallons of drinkable alcohol."
The distillery can only sell the liquors they produce, and that means no beer or wine.
People order flights and cocktails, from a huge selection that includes martinis in flavors such as vanilla pear, and flavored infusions such as vodka with lemon or jalapeno.
The food encompasses an appealing menu with a centerpiece of sliders in a dozen varieties such as pulled pork, Polish sausage & sauerkraut, Akashi beef, prime rib, meatball, and grilled portobello, the majority sporting a good shake of their signature Joe rub. You can order a single slider for $5.50 or get a plate with two and a side of fries.
Other dishes include salads, mac & cheese, crispy Brussels sprouts, cheese curds, mini corn dogs, a loaded baked potato, and fries, either plain, truffle, or loaded.
They have an amusing signature dish called the World's Ugliest Breakfast, consisting of an omelet with spinach, red onion, pancetta, and cheddar cheese. The "ugly" part comes from the liberal dose of Joe Rub which gives it a dark hue.
Five desserts include cheesecake, brownie, and pies, as well as a decadent assortment of milkshakes in flavors such as grasshopper (chocolate mint sauce with cookie crumbles) and orange cream, which you can get plain or spiked.
Their distillation equipment includes 125-gallon and 26-gallon column stills, a mash tank, and four fermenters, housed behind glass walls so you can get a peek. You can also purchase a limited batch bottle from their merchandise area to take home.
It's a highly personal enterprise, right down to the decor. Frank spent 30 years as a custom cabinet maker and built the back bar using reclaimed wood from the DFW area, and hand-built their tables as well. Anderson runs the day-to-day operations, and his two sons assist in the distillery.
"My younger son loves gin and my older son oversees the whiskey," he says. "We got a warm welcome from Roanoke when we first opened — we almost ran out."