WIRTZ, Va. – Melanie Mitchell grew up like most Italian Americans, eating dishes that challenged your stomach. When her mother re-married Ray, a Texan, they all learned very quickly about each other’s cultures through food.
Christmases were spent eating everything from pasta to barbeque, which is now what you get at their Franklin County restaurant, Napoli Cowboy.
Mitchell tells us, “What we have always eaten and kind of how our families have merged, and I know it sounds crazy when you say it. But when you look at the menu, it kind of makes sense.”
Their top sellers range from lasagna to oysters and two different types of chicken; the Napoli Chicken and the Chicken Amatriciana. Then, you can get their house-smoked ribs.
While the combination is not what you’d typically expect, it’s one that’s been winning awards from the Smith Mountain Laker magazine; including best restaurant at the lake and best seafood.
The family thought it was only appropriate to give back to the community that’s given them so much in such little time.
Three weeks ago, they hosted a Toys for Tots at the restaurant, along with members of the U.S. Marine Corps.
In total, 631 toys were given away. Their hope is to reach 1,000 toys by next year.
For Mitchell, she says, "That’s gotta be my favorite event I’ve done in my whole life.”
Napoli Cowboy is located at 6674 Burnt Chimney Rd in Wirtz and is open Thursday through Monday until 9 p.m.