Our host for the evening, the ever-energetic Adam from the Danville-Boyle County Convention & Visitors Bureau, led the tour of six establishments. Our first stop was V the Market. We first sampled some delicious prosciutto di parma -- not your typical supermarket variety prosciutto. Then, we tasted a fabulous goat-bleu cheese (a combination I had never tried) and a white Lincolnshire Cheddar. Each selection was complimented by the Life & Limb beer that was on tap. Not only was the food fantastic, but the store owner, Mary Robin, was fabulous. Mary Robin's knowlegde about her offerings was superb. Her passion for food and drink was evident and impresive.
We then moved on to Mermaids, an intimate, fine-dining establishment. Mermaids was recently award the 2011 BLOOM Award "Best Restaurant Experience". Our experience that evening was led by restaurant owner, Kelly, an entertaining and attentive host. Kelly started us out with Mermaid Punch and Porch Punch, two drinks, both with a hint of Southern and Tropical flavors. We also tasted an appetizer selection -- seared tuna, wrapped with locally-grown greens and cucumber with wasabi sauce, a prawn wrapped in prosciutto and a filet from Hubble Meats, a local pork and beef producer. The filet was perfection! The fresh beef from Hubble Meats was seasoned and cooked perfectly by Mermaids.
The fun atmosphere at Mermaids is punctuated by the beautifully lit blue bar and the hanging, ceramic mermaid, Bubbles, that greets you as you arrive. Mermiads also has a well-appointed second floor room that can be used for entertaining larger parties.
The next stop on our tour was 303 W. We sampled a wide selection of the restaurant's appetizers. One of my favorites was the pretzel breadstick with fantastic pimento spread. The restaurant includes billards in the back, but this is not your typical billiards hall. The stamped tin roof, refurbished hardwood floors and wood-paneled and brick walls create a warm, inviting atmosphere. 303 W's owner, Mark, and his staff were friendly and helpful.
We then moved down Main Street to The Bluegrass Pizza Pub to sample the Mediterranean Pizza, Cheesesticks and Breadsticks. In the past, I have also had the chance to sample the Mighty Meat and Main St. Veggie Delight. The brick oven pizza never disappoints. The homemade crust and fresh toppings marry for a sublime pizza. The small, cozy space is the perfect meeting spot for a casual dinner.
After leaving the Bluegrass Pizza Pub, we walked about a block to a new micro-brewery in downtown Danville, the Beer Engine. The Beer Engine serves its own brews and other craft beer on tap. I am not a big beer drinker, so I didn't do much sampling. However, my fellow bloggers seemed to enjoy all of the selections. With the many selections offered at the Beer Engine, all beer drinkers would be sure to find a beer to their liking.
While at the Beer Engine, our colorful bartender also gave us a sample of his fabulous granola. Made by Food Leaf Farms, this fresh, tasty granola was a bonus treat. We tasted the Chocolate Granola, but the Food Leaf Farms also makes Sorghum Granola and Cinnamon Raisin Granola. You can check out their website to see where the granola is sold.
Our last stop was The Hub Coffee House and Cafe. By the time we finished up our tour, the Hub was actually closing, so had the rest of the dessert spots in town. Fortunately, even though the Hub was closing, they allowed us to hang out and sample many local desserts. We tasted cupcakes from The Twisted Sifter, my go-to spot for cupcakes. I used Twisted Sifter cupcakes in the All American Brass Band Festival party featured on Hostess with the Mostess.
We also took home gourmet caramel treats from Karamel Kreations. My favorite treat was the Karamel Klub -- a small pretzel, dipped in caramel, rolled in rice krispies, covered in chocolate. We also sampled treats from Burke's Bakery, a local institution. Burke's donuts and cookies make you feel like you've stepped back in time. Burke's recipes have remained unchanged for decades, a constant source of quality, not trendy, baked goods.
Within the last year, Danville has become a spot for locally-sourced, thoughful, and delicious food and drink. This quaint town has been tranformed into a dining destination within a matter of months. Make a trip to Danville and you won't be disappointed!