Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2018 - 32
Shaena Muldoon has been quietly buying and
rejuvenating weary Eggleston, Virginia buildings
for the past 10 years. In addition to her signature
restaurant, the Palisades (right), she's opened an
artisan shop and two lodging facilities, and will
soon launch a cafe/antique shop.
Reviving a village
Story by Su Clauson-Wicker | Photos courtesy of The Palisades Restaurant
Why would an in-demand event planner based in Washington,
D.C. be tempted to return to a little Virginia-mountain town
near her family's farm? Pretty simple: "People need to see how
beautiful it is out here." These days, she's become a sort of defacto urban planner for Eggleston, population 250.
Shaena Muldoon didn't intend to return
the mountains, start a restaurant,
and preserve the better part of a village. But that's how things turned
It all started in 2004, when she
fell in love with Pyne's General Store.
Her brother, Patrick, had just purchased the abandoned store building in Eggleston, Virginia, population 250, near their family farm.
Muldoon had left the area for more
exotic places in the 1980s, but was
visiting that weekend. She lived in
Washington, D.C., where she was an
event planner producing such highpowered happenings as the 1998
World Exposition in Portugal and
the 2002 U.S. Olympic Torch Relay
in Salt Lake City. She loved her work.
But the old store spoke to her.
"I got about five feet into the
store and said, 'Wow, this has got
to be a restaurant,'" Muldoon says.
"My brother was like, 'Whatever.' He
thought I was joking, but I was seri-
ous. I went back to Washington and
figured out how to make the restaurant happen. That building deserved
to be something again."
It took her four years to get the
Palisades restaurant up and going,
and some Giles County residents
just shook their heads. Did she really
think she'd lure folks over the curvy
two-lane road to Eggleston? To eat in
But folks did come. They've been
coming for the past nine years. Many
enjoy the meandering drive with its
gorgeous views of mountains, cliffs,
and the New River. They admire the
old store's pressed-tin ceiling, hardwood floors and long oak bar. And
they love the Palisades' upscale comfort food-dishes like pork chop with
vanilla porter reduction, pan-fried
trout with bacon vinaigrette, and
amaretto goat cheese cheesecake.
The Palisades' reputation spread.
It's been featured in the Richmond
Times Dispatch and lauded in the national Canoe & Kayak magazine. People plan road trips to swing through
the tiny Southwest Virginia town for
supper or Sunday brunch.
"I didn't worry about whether
people would come out to Eggleston.
I just knew they should," Muldoon