By Chef Ian Boden
About Chef Ian Boden
Boden is the owner and executive chef of The Shack in Staunton, VA. He started his career working at Payard Patisserie and Bistro, Judson Grill, and Home Restaurant in New York City. In 2007, he returned to his home state of Virginia to open his first restaurant called The Staunton Grocery. He closed it in December of 2011 and became the executive chef at Glass Haus Kitchen in Charlottesville in early 2012, where he earned a James Beard nomination for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. In 2013, Boden returned to Staunton to open The Shack and earned a second James Beard Best Chef nomination in 2017. The Shack is a 400-square foot restaurant where you can dine on dishes like lamb schnitzel topped with a fried egg and sip local Virginia ciders and wine. Our tip: book in advance.
The Shack is an homage to my wife's grandma Tissy. She raised six kids in a shack, which is the logo for the restaurant. On the wall in our restaurant are pictures of Grandma Tissy and my wife as a kid. We incorporate a lot of Appalachian family traditions. I'm a Russian Hungarian Jew, so we cook everything in schmaltz. It's kind of a mash up of both of family traditions.
CHEF IAN BODEN'S STAUNTON GUIDE
One of the unique things about Staunton is the architecture. It's one of the biggest draws. During the Civil War most of the Southern towns were burnt down, but when the Northern troops came through Staunton there was a deal struck -- basically saying you guys can take whatever you want, but please don't burn down our buildings. So there are a lot of spectacular antebellum homes and buildings still standing.
Breakfast & Coffee
Réunion Bakery & Espresso
The pastries are spectacular. The canelé is my favorite pastry in the world. It is gooey on the inside and crisp on the outside. It is just perfect. The owner and head baker, Bryan Hollar, makes them in the old school brass mold using beeswax, which is the traditional way and they are just delicious.
26 South New Street, Staunton, VA 24401
Bill Willett makes amazing bread that we use at our restaurant. Whatever we are not making at the restaurant, we are buying from them. They also have a wood-fired pizza oven, so at night they turn into a pizzeria.
960 West Beverley Street, Staunton, VA 24401
Chicano Boy Taco
It's a little taqueria and the owner, chef Justin Hershey, used to be one of my cooks. He does a great job making somewhat traditional, somewhat non-traditional tacos. He makes all his tortillas in-house. We always order the Chicano Boy 'Taters which are fried potatoes with a cheese sauce, chorizo, corn salsa, and all kinds of other goodies.
240 North Central Avenue #6, Staunton, VA 24401
Mike Lund used to be the executive sous chef at the Inn at little Washington. He and his business partner, James Harris, are both chefs and own a catering company. They have expanded their storefront to incorporate a dining room and they do lunch. It's comfort food. They make delicious homemade brats and Mike's soups are always really good. Order their killer french fries.
835 Springhill Road, Staunton, VA 24401
Beverley Street Convenience
This is a convenience store that used to be called Cashes. It’s an old 7-Eleven that a local guy bought and he makes the best friend chicken on the face of the earth. It’s greasy, salty, crunchy and delicious. They also cater, so every time we have a family gathering, their fried chicken is on our table.
2103 W Beverley Street, Staunton, VA 24401
Wares on Beverley
A cool housewares store that is like a small Williams-Sonoma.
34 East Beverley Street, Staunton, VA 24401
Staunton Antiques Center
If you are into antiques, Staunton is a great place to visit. There are probably six or eight thousand square feet of antiques in the downtown area. This store is owned by my mother and my wife has a stall here.
19 West Beverley Street, Staunton, VA 24401
This is a local institution. It's a family-owned, drive-in burger joint and they have soft serve ice cream.
346 Greenville Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
The vineyards are on the slopes, but their tasting room is around the corner from us. We consistently keep three of their wines on our menu at the restaurant: Grü-V (Grüner Veltliner), Riesling, and rosé.
44 Middlebrook Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
Gloria Gerber is the owner and her mother and grandmother both ran pupuserias in El Salvador. She started here at the local farmers market, then moved to a food truck, and now has a brick and mortar storefront. It is just fantastic.
300 North Central Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
We come here almost once a week. I like their aguachile, which is like a ceviche. It has shrimp, avocado, a ridiculous amount of lime juice, chili, fresh tomatoes, and red onion. For an entrée, I like the beef tongue stew in a red chili sauce.
401 N Poplar Avenue C, Waynesboro, VA 22980
American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse
This is the only Blackfriars replica in the world. They have two troops, one that performs here and one that travels. It is all wood inside and really neat.
10 S Market Street, Staunton, VA 24401
Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing
They do all blown glass and have demos at their studio.
202 S Lewis Street, Staunton, VA 24401
Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia
They do historical reenactments about the frontier lifestyle representing the immigrant populations that first came to the valley: Germans, Irish, English, and West Africans.
1290 Richmond Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
Take Home a Souvenir
Catoctin Creek Organic Watershed Gin
They create small batches and they do a really good job. It is so aromatic. If you are a big gin fan, you'll love it. If you are kind of a medium gin fan, you may not appreciate it though.
Staunton is a great jumping off point. Drive 15 to 20 minutes in any direction and there's something to see and do. Lexington is thirty minutes away, Charlottesville is forty-five minutes away, and Roanoke is an hour and a half away. There is Luray Caverns to visit and twenty-plus vineyards and breweries surrounding us.
101 Cave Hill Road, Luray, VA 22835
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