The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - 103
"The Meanest Woman in Roanoke," in which he profiled Josephine Thomas and made her a legend. I don't
recall anybody disagreeing with his assessment.
The question, however, was always this: "Why the
hell 'Confectionary'?" It was a restaurant featuring
thick-sliced bologna sandwiches with a big onion,
and blue plate specials. It had no candy that I ever saw.
Diane Jones, Roanoke author of "The Willow of Endless Waters" trilogy:
"I took my mom to Montano's when she came to
live with me because I had bragged about it so much.
Her meal came and I noticed she was just picking at it.
"'What's wrong, Mom?' I asked.
"'Oh, I guess it's just me, but it tastes so salty,' she
"I tasted it and it was salty. Marty [owner Martin
Montano] came over and tasted it and he agreed. He
not only brought her another meal, but a special dessert,
and would not allow us to pay. He treated her as though
she was the most important person in the restaurant.
"My mom passed away shortly after that, but I will
never forget his kindness to this frail old lady, my precious mother."
Todd Ristau, Hollins University playwriting director:
"When my wife and I had just moved into our new
house in Cave Spring, we spent the whole day removing wall paper and cleaning and we were tired, hungry
and looked like a mess. I suggested we go grab a pizza
at what I thought was a local pizzeria.
"Covered in evidence of our status as brand new
homeowners, we walked into Luigi's and were stunned
to discover that what we thought was a pizzeria was
actually a four-star restaurant.
"We apologized and started to leave, but the owner
[Maristane Rocha] told us not to go away. She took us
to a little table in the back where they treated us exactly
as if we were wearing a tuxedo and gown. We loved
the food, the service and especially the caipirinhas. So
happy that this is the first restaurant we discovered in
our new neighborhood."
Parker's has been all
about the seafood since
Joe Cobb, Metropolitan Community Church, pastor:
"After enjoying a lovely afternoon at the 2001 Pride
in the Park, then in Highland Park, a handsome young
man named James Matthews invited me to dinner at
Luigi's. I don't remember much about the meal (though
it was delicious), yet I do remember looking into his
eyes and thinking, this is someone I'd like to spend a
lot of time with. Thirteen years later, we're together,
with two beautiful children."
FIJI ISLAND, 1972
Roland Lazenby, author "Michael Jordan: The Life":
"Used to get the Flaming Zombies at Fiji. That always
got the evening started with jet fuel."
Kurt Rheinheimer, editor of this magazine:
"This was around the time of the first Gulf War - '90
or '91 - and the only time, I think, that my wife's and my
favorite guy to see play live music has ever played Roanoke . . . and at the Fiji?! Fred Eaglesmith, as he always
does, worked just as hard for those 12 or 14 people as he
does for his big crowds - into the hundreds! Fred likes
to make distinctions between his Canadian nationality
and ours, and on this night he was all about Canada
helping out in the Gulf: 'We're gonna send both ships!'"
My Take: When I was young and poor, the Fiji represented an exotic night out with my wife when I was
married, or with another lovely when I wasn't. Food was
always good, atmosphere cool, service spot-on and I felt
like a member of a group I only aspired to. It was a good
place to go for the things restaurants can provide. I