top of page
  • Writer's pictureSandra Aranegui

Backstage: The Village Grill

Updated: Feb 22

A look into restaurant owner, Nathan Webster, and what it means to support local live music in the community.


By Sandra Aranegui

Photography by Cloud Bobby


In the vibrant city of Roanoke, Virginia, lies a hidden gem that captures the essence of community and culinary delights. Welcome to The Village Grill, an inviting American restaurant nestled in the heart of the city's Historic Grandin Village Community. With its warm and cozy tavern-like setting, this charming eatery offers a haven for comfort food enthusiasts seeking a memorable dining experience.

 

As you step inside The Village Grill, you're instantly enveloped in a welcoming atmosphere that combines rustic charm with contemporary flair. The interior exudes a sense of nostalgia, with wooden accents, vintage photographs, and soft lighting that creates an intimate ambiance. The walls are adorned with memorabilia, reflecting the establishment's rich history and deep connection to the local community. 

 

One of the defining features of The Village Grill is its commitment to fostering the thriving local music scene. This establishment has become a beloved pillar in the live music community, hosting a multitude of talented local musicians every week. From soulful acoustic sets to energetic jazz performances, the sounds of live music fill the air, adding a touch of magic to the dining experience.


Whether you're seeking a hearty brunch, a satisfying lunch, or a comforting dinner, The Village Grill's menu is a treasure trove of American classics. From juicy burgers and signature Redneck Nachos to their famous mouthwatering Hummus Platter, each dish is thoughtfully prepared with a focus on quality ingredients. The kitchen team takes pride in their culinary craftsmanship, infusing each plate with flavors that evoke sentiments of home-cooked meals with a twist. 

 

For those who prefer to savor their meals al fresco, The Village Grill offers a delightful outdoor seating area.  The patio provides a serene setting where guests can bask in the sunshine while enjoying their favorite comfort foods and live music performances.




Beyond its delectable cuisine and musical ambiance, The Village Grill remains deeply rooted in the local community. The restaurant actively supports local farmers and artisans, sourcing ingredients from nearby farms and breweries to create a menu that celebrates the region's heritage.

 


Whether you're a resident of Roanoke or a visitor passing through, The Village Grill beckons you to experience a slice of Americana in the heart of Historic Grandin Village.  From the tantalizing aromas wafting from the kitchen to the soul-stirring melodies that fill the air, this cozy establishment captures the spirit of community, good food, and live music—a true haven for all who seek comfort, camaraderie, and the joy of a shared meal.

 

Restaurant owner Nathan Webster acquired the restaurant in January 2009 after recognizing its potential. The building was in dire need of attention and care, but its location in a pleasant neighborhood made it a promising opportunity.  Nathan stumbled upon the restaurant while flipping a house in the Grandin area, and decided to have a beer at the Village Grill, which led him to discover that it was up for sale. Recognizing the potential, he seized the opportunity.



Owner, Nathan Webster showing off his two most popular dishes: Redneck Nachos and Hummus Platter


Despite lacking prior experience in the restaurant industry, Nathan, whose background was in real estate and appraisal work for conservation easements throughout Southwest Virginia, followed his instincts and dived into the venture headfirst. His expertise lay in commercial properties, large land, and flipping houses. However, he believed that the location and neighborhood were a perfect fit. Although restaurant ownership was a crash course for him, he embraced the challenge and started learning everything from scratch.



"Visitors can come and experience live art.  Music is art, and people enjoy witnessing its different styles."


The restaurant already had its unique vibe and personality, and Nathan was dedicated to carrying on its legacy while making necessary adjustments. One of the defining characteristics he aimed to preserve was the hosting of live music.  Nathan expressed his admiration for the talent in the area, considering it a hidden gem that extended beyond Roanoke to surrounding communities. He believed that the restaurant offered a diverse range of music that surpassed what was typically found in towns of similar size. "We live in an artistic neighborhood," Nathan explained. "Visitors can come and experience live art. Music is art, and people enjoy witnessing its different styles." 


To ensure that live music complements the dining experience without overwhelming it, the layout of the establishment provides guests with the option to either sit near the music or enjoy their meal in a separate area. This thoughtful arrangement guarantees that the sound and overall ambiance are just right for both musicians and customers.


Music plays a vital role in enhancing the dining experience, particularly during warmer weather when people expect to enjoy live performances.  After a long day at work, individuals seek a relaxing and enjoyable environment. The recently paved patio and outdoor fireplace at The Village Grill perfectly cater to these needs, allowing patrons to bask in the warmth of spring and summer while savoring their meals and enjoying their favorite bands.



When asked about the significance of community engagement in his success as a restaurateur, Nathan emphasized that it is an essential piece of the puzzle for every business owner. He explained, "Without community support, no small business can thrive. Positive change starts with the community, and business owners often find themselves on the front lines, as they serve as social venues for the community to gather."

 

Nathan's tenacious passion is the driving force behind his continued creativity and growth. "No matter what stage of life you're in, it's important to feel challenged so you feel like you have a purpose," he stated.


All of the captivating music at The Village Grill is meticulously curated by long-time employees, Cara Lowe and Finley Vinson. With their strong footing and established relationships in the local music scene, they possess an innate understanding of the perfect fit for the restaurant's atmosphere. Drawing from their extensive connections, new talent is often drawn to the venue through powerful word-of-mouth recommendations. The Village Grill serves as a nurturing space for emerging artists to hone their craft and gain exposure. 


The Village Grill not only provides a platform for artists to showcase their talents but also introduces customers to new and exciting music that they may instantly fall in love with. The restaurant actively fosters and nurtures the thriving community that revolves around local live music, creating an environment where creativity flourishes.

 


Nathan emphasizes the importance of carefully selecting artists who resonate with the demographic, ensuring that the musical offerings do not alienate any patrons. He describes The Village Grill as falling in line with the spirit of Appalachia and Southern rock, a genre that is abundantly represented in the area. This alignment reaffirms the authenticity and connection to the local culture that the restaurant embodies.


While the future of live music is constantly evolving, its enduring presence in every community remains unwavering. Nathan explains, "People yearn for the experience of live entertainment in their lives. When musicians and artists are able to forge a genuine connection with your client base, it becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved." The Village Grill serves as the conduit, seamlessly bridging the gap between music and the hearts of its patrons, solidifying its role as a cultural hub within the community.


Reflecting on the dynamic journey of the past 15 years within the vibrant realms of the restaurant and live music community, Nathan delves into the multifaceted nature of success, acknowledging its deeply personal and subjective nature. With a sense of profound gratitude, he shares, "I've surpassed my wildest expectations and found myself exactly where I aspired to be. I've scaled new heights that I once only dreamed of reaching. I'm thankful for every second of it, because I know how quickly things can come crashing down."



Among the thriving landscape of local live music venues, The Village Grill stands as an illustrious beacon, beckoning all to immerse themselves in its captivating offerings. Allow yourself a moment to step into its enchanting ambiance and witness its allure firsthand. Indulge in an array of delectable old favorites and tantalizing new dishes, accompanied by an extensive selection of beverages. Amidst tasteful decor, The Village Grill sets the stage for an unforgettable experience, seamlessly blending the culinary arts with the mesmerizing power of live music. No matter your discerning taste, rest assured that there is a symphony of flavors and melodies waiting to delight your palate.


Follow the Village Grill on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on upcoming events. You can also check them out online at VillageGrillRoanoke.com.


Upcoming:

February 2: Bunco 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

February 7: Kyle Forry 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

February 10: Thax Rowe 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

February 14: Bob and Becki 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. 

                  Valentine’s Day

February 17: Seph Custer 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. 

February 21: Matt Powell 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. 

February 24: Ben Trout 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. 

February 28: $2 Shake with Daniel & Aaron  8:00 - 10:00 p.m. 



April 20, 2024: Village Lūʻau! Grab your loudest Hawaiian shirt and join us for the very first Village Lūʻau!  Celebrate warmer weather with live music, tiki torches and a whole lotta smoked meats!  From 2:00 - 10:00 p.m.



 The Village Grill is located at 1802 Memorial Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24015





Advertisement



236 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page