Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 48

FRED SAUCEMAN

The shrimp and grits
at Abingdon's Rain are
emblematic of the restaurant's
dedication to use of fresh,
locally grown produce
wherever possible.

"He saw some of the nastiest
fighting of the war," Doug says.
"But he loved Guam. In the 1970s
he returned there and fell in love
with it all over again. That's why we
have Hafa Adai on our door."
When Harold opened Ellis Pharmacy, in 1954, banker Fred Buck
loaned him money, and in the discussion about a payment plan, all
Buck would say was, "I won't let
you starve."
Ellis Pharmacy eventually ran its
course as a drugstore. Two years after
Harold's death, Doug and his mother Yvonne sold the drugstore to RiteAid, one of some 14 pharmacies in
Abingdon. The last day of operation
for the Ellis Pharmacy was May 15,
2007. On May 16, 2008, Pop Ellis
Soda Shoppe and Grill opened.
Doug describes the menu as "upper end sandwiches and salads."
When Harold was being treated
for lung cancer at the University
of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Doug would eat Gus Burgers at
the White Spot. In developing the
48 BlueRidgeCountry.com

menu for Pop Ellis, Doug decided
that this University of Virginia student favorite, a cheeseburger with a
fried egg on top, would work well in
Abingdon, too.
Pop Ellis also serves a hot dog
topped with pimento cheese,
which is then run under a broiler.
"You have to eat it with a knife,"
Doug advises.
"People brag about our milkshakes as much as anything on
the menu," Doug adds. "A lot of
places use a mix and milkshake
ice cream. We don't. We use premium ice cream, 18 to 20 percent
butterfat-and the milkshakes are
20 ounces, at least. We bring you a
glass, and you spoon from the cup
into the glass. That's old school."
The restaurant is filled with
items from the Ellis family's extensive collection of pharmaceutical memorabilia. Visitors come in
from all over the world, drawn to
Abingdon by the Creeper Trail and
the Barter Theatre.
"Most of all," Doug concludes,

"I want them to appreciate the fact
that this is a museum honoring old
downtown drugstores and a memorial to my dad."
On the opposite end of Main
Street from Pop Ellis is Rain, a
restaurant that opened in the fall
of 2010. Owner and executive
chef Ben Carroll came to Southwest Virginia from Arizona with
his family when he was a young
child. One of the first things his
family did in their new home was
to plant a garden. Carroll and his
siblings were required to work in
that garden, which he describes
as "insanely huge," for at least an
hour a day before they were allowed to go play.
"We grew everything: corn,
tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers,
melons, squash, beans," Carroll
remembers. "I learned at a young
age to appreciate the incredible
flavor of vegetables fresh from the
garden and to respect the amount
of hard work and diligence it takes
to grow and harvest them."
That respect is evident at Rain,
where Carroll serves an heirloom
tomato salad with fresh mozzarella, basil, aioli, house-pickled chilies, candied fennel, and microgreens. He has been known to use
upwards of 10 heirloom tomato
varieties in that one salad.
Redeye gravy has traditionally
been known as poor folks' food
in Appalachia. It's the simplest of
gravies, made with leavings from
the frying of country ham, water,
and maybe a little leftover coffee. In the hands of Ben Carroll,
it is transformed into fine dining.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016

Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 35
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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