Restaurants Near Rapidan Camps  
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This column was written by member David Whiteman, and was printed in the February 2002 Rapidan Rambler member newsletter.

So you’ve had a nice, relaxing visit to camp enjoying the calls of the birds, the rustle of the leaves, the rush of the river--and a diet of canned spaghetti and pop tarts. By this point, you may be wondering where you can eat out near Rapidan. In fact, there are many options spanning a wide range of prices and luxury. In approximate order from luxurious to simple, here are some restaurants I’ve tried. If you have any suggestions for future columns that may be of interest to other members, e-mail Tom Jones at

The Bavarian Chef (Shelby VA, south on US 29, about 4 miles south of Madison, just past Route 662.) It’s open Wednesday through Saturday, 4:30-9:30, Sunday 11:30-9:30, closed Monday and Tuesday. 540-948-6505. The Bavarian Chef has fine dining including linen tablecloths, napkins, and fresh flowers. Wait staff are dressed in traditional Bavarian style. They serve standard German entrées such as Sauerbraten (slices of marinated roast beef with a raisin sauce) and Yäger Schnitzel (egg-batter breaded veal in a mushroom cream sauce) as well as continental specials from their European-trained chefs. German beers are on tap. Expect to pay $20 to $35 per person depending on your drink and dessert choices. If possible, ask to be served by Fred (Alfred Dolezal), originally from Vienna, and now with an art studio in Charlottesville.

Bertine’s North (Main Street in Madison, 540-948-3463) offers a taste of the West Indies. Bernard and Christine Poticha (whose names combine to form “Bertine’s”) owned and operated another restaurant called Bertines on the island of St. Martin. With children nearing school age, they moved back to the US and established Bertine’s North. They offer a selection of fine Caribbean dishes including gumbo, steak, pasta, and seafood in Madison. They open at 6pm on Fridays and Saturday, and are open Monday through Thursday evenings with advance reservations only because they do an active catering business in the area. Prices are approximately $20 to $30 per person.

Graves Mountain Lodge (just outside downtown Syria, 540-923-4231). Innkeepers since the 19th century, the Graves family offers home-cooked meals served family style every evening between mid-March and Thanksgiving. They schedule a different entrée for each night of the week--the Friday evening trout fry is a particular favorite, featuring fresh trout from their own trout pond. Prices vary between $15 and $35 per person, depending on the menu offered. Children under 10 eat for half price. You can read more on their website at

Pig N’ Steak (Washington Street near downtown Madison, between business US-29 and the main US-29 bypass). Ribs and barbeque have been smoked a minimum of 12 hours. They also serve fresh-cut steaks and draft import beer. Dinner ranges from $15 to $20 per person.

Giovanna’s is an Italian restaurant approximately 3 miles south of Madison, on the left side of the road. They have a standard selection of pizzas and subs. They also have more interesting daily specials, including spaghetti carbonara, penne arabiata, and other Italian specialties. Don’t miss the local advertising on the plastic soda glasses. The cost is approximately $7 to $15 per person.

Two other, more distant but notable opportunities:

Frank’s Pizza, Pasta, and Subs in Charlottesville at 109 14th Street near the University. If you’re making a day trip into Charlottesville and are interested in sampling the closest thing to real Italian Pizza that you’re likely to run across, try Frank’s. The Italians claim the modern pizza was created in Naples in 1889. This was the "Pizza Margherita" with red tomatoes, white fresh mozzarella cheese, and green basil--the colors of the Italian flag. They named it for their Queen. The owner of Frank’s, originally from Calabria south of Naples, offers authentic specialty pizzas with an excellent crust. When I asked about his secret for the crispy, chewy texture of his pizza crust, he answered “Secret? What secret? It’s pizza.”

The Inn at Kelly’s Ford in Remington. Turn east off US-29 just south of the Clark Brothers Gun Shop with the bear on the roof. Continue about 5 miles to Edwards shop Road (Route 620). The Inn is another 1/2 mile. 540-399-1779. They offer luxury country lodging, a fine restaurant, and a pub in a country setting located on the site of the Kelly’s Ford Civil War Battlefield overlooking the Rappahannock River and next to a 4500-acre wildlife preserve. We tried the pub: hamburgers made from their own cattle, draft import beer in a cozy setting. If you’re returning toward DC around rush hour, this is a nice diversion for dinner that will give traffic time to settle down.

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