The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 138
Fork in the Alley:
'Knowing Enough about
Restaurants to be Dangerous'
That was the general perspective of Dave and Ann Trinkle 13 years ago when
they bought a South Roanoke property and its adjoining carriage house.
A wood-fired brick oven,
artisan-style pub fare
and outdoor seating
make FITA the coolest
alley in Roanoke.
106 | JULY/AUGUST 2017
MOST PEOPLE, WHEN THEY PURCHASE a restaurant property, have plans of opening a restaurant.
They are either chefs, or business folks with a food
background, or food lovers longing to gift the masses
with their foodie affections. Bottom line: They are
restaurateurs and restaurants are their thing.
Not so with native Roanokers Dave and Ann Trinkle. Dave is a medical doctor specializing in geriatric
psychiatry. Ann is an artist with a master's degree in
sculpture. They dated in college, married after medical school and moved away from Roanoke. When, in
1993, they moved back home, Dave became the director for Carilion's Center for Healthy Aging. Ann
was busy being a new mom. At no time did restaurant
ownership occupy their minds.
Then Dave started admiring a run-down carriage
house in the alley outside his office window that was
part of a larger property including a stately white
home being rented as a restaurant. Every day the
property's owner, an older, well-to-do gentleman,
would be outside tending to the white house and
its surrounding grounds, leaving the old carriage
house-a tree growing through its roof-to its demise. But it was the carriage house Dave liked most.
He imagined it as a community gathering place, much
like the English pubs he and Ann frequented while
living in England during part of Dave's residency.
"It's the bar masters who can tell when their seniors
are in trouble, because they stop coming to the pub,"
explains Dave of his attraction to the pub concept.