Vinton’s Dogwood Restaurant serving up generations of homestyle cooking and hospitality

VINTON, Va. – Last month was my first time going to the Dogwood Restaurant in Vinton, but with the way its owners, staff and guests welcomed me in with open arms, you would’ve never guessed it.

Despite not knowing anyone aside from its owners, Jamie McCarthy and Keith Poff, I immediately felt right at home. As I looked around the well-known staple, the delicious smell of a variety of different breakfast foods was one of the first things I noticed. It instantly took me back to my childhood when I’d wake up on a bright Saturday morning to the smell of my dad cooking a big breakfast, a sure sign of a good day ahead.

[RELATED: Know of a tasty spot in our area that you wanna see featured on WSLS 10? Nominate them here]

Another thing I picked up on right away is the way the customers interacted with one another. The sound of light-hearted banter, laughter and inside jokes was hard to miss, and it reminded me of sitting around the dining room table cracking jokes with the family. It wasn’t long before people there started bringing me into their conversations, whether it was telling me about some of their favorite Dogwood dishes or asking me questions about myself.

The down-to-earth vibes were loud and clear and have been since the 1940s.

“One of our mottos is ‘come as you are,’” McCarthy said. “So we accept anyone, and it doesn’t matter if you come in a three-piece business suit or if you come in bib overalls or anywhere in between. Having that motto is to let people know we care about everyone, and we’re not worried about what you do or where you come from. Everyone deserves to have a good meal and be treated right.”

The Dogwood Restaurant is truly a home away from home! (WSLS 10)
The Dogwood Restaurant will have you feeling like you're at home eating with the family! (WSLS 10)

As everyone got their day started with a meal fit for champions, both McCarthy and Poff could be seen in the kitchen cooking away with such ease and swiftness that you could tell they’d been doing this for years and could probably do it with their eyes closed. Within mere minutes, several plates were whipped up with everything from sausage biscuits and gravy to stuffed French toast filled to the brim with berries and cream cheese to a mouthwatering pancake that smelled like brown sugar.

The pair are childhood friends and have been the owners of the restaurant for decades.

“It’s pretty amazing and we get along really good and mesh really well,” McCarthy said.

The owners of the Dogwood Restaurant, Keith Poff and Jamie McCarthy, will make you feel like family! (WSLS 10)

But the restaurant is not just known for its breakfast items; they have a little bit of everything, and you can also stop by later in the day for lunch or dinner, too.

“So, we have a really good breakfast,” McCarthy said. “We have homemade sausage gravy, homemade biscuits and we have omelets - any way you want. We have pancakes and home fries. And then we [also] have different specials every day of the week. A lot of people like our burgers. We use fresh meat and pat them out ourselves.”

McCarthy and Poff were nice enough to let Virginia Today Anchor Japhanie Gray and I get a taste of some of their hometown fixins.’ We stopped by earlier in the day during breakfast hours and got to try their sausage biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, pancakes and the restaurant’s legendary omelet.

The Dogwood Restaurant will have you feeling like you're at home eating with the family! (WSLS 10)

When I took my first bite, it felt like I was eating grandma’s cooking. You could definitely tell that everything was made from scratch and not only that, but made with love. Everything was delicious, but their omelet was my absolute favorite - arguably the best omelet I’ve ever had hands down. Japhanie agreed.

When both of the owners weren’t in the kitchen, they were busy walking through the restaurant and talking with customers, some of whom had been going there for decades.

McCarthy said they wouldn’t be where they are if it weren’t for their customers, so in an attempt to build more camaraderie, they have something special cooking for their guests. They’re prepping for a big expansion that’ll include a new bar, a huge patio that they built, TVs and a few fire pits as well. They’ll even have music and bands playing in the evening. They’re hoping to show off the fancy new expansion in late spring and they couldn’t be more excited.

He told me that a lot of thought went into the design of the new space. It’ll have gorgeous tables and bars hand-crafted by a local couple and will even include the original flooring from the 1940s, which they had to pull up six layers of flooring to get to.

The Dogwood Restaurant will have you feeling like you're at home eating with the family! (WSLS 10)
The Dogwood Restaurant has a lot in store for its customers. (WSLS 10)

“We’re trying to bring a new experience and a fun place for customers to go that doesn’t exist on that side of town at the present time and keep it really family-oriented.”

He continued saying, “My customers mean everything because without them, then we can’t succeed. I love when they share different stories with us. It makes my day and they become sort of like part of your family.”

The Dogwood Restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

About the Authors

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

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