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Goochland's Bluegrass Hidey-hole
By Starling Root
Halfway between Charlottesville and Richmond lies a quiet shopping center in Goochland County. Across the road from Hardee's and flanked by businesses with names like Rocco's Pizza and China King stands the White Hawk Music Café, a place whose tagline is “Where the coffee is always fresh and the music remains true to your heart.” This is a cozy spot to, above all, listen to old-time rustic tunes.
A friend and I met at White Hawk because, with her in Charlottesville and me in Richmond, we needed a midpoint for our get-togethers. (I don't know about you, but sometimes an hour-long drive seems quite long.) Our first idea was to pick a McDonald's off of 95. After all, there had to be a McD's somewhere about 30 minutes from both of us. We found what we later discovered to be the address for a McD's that had closed. I arrived at the Hardee's a little bit before her and sat in my car until she pulled up. I jumped out of my car and ran toward her with my arms flung wide open. After we hugged, we took one look at the Hardee's and then one look across the street where everything appeared to be family-owned. About a month earlier, we had read about White Hawk, but never made it out there because of what seemed to be short hours. That's what had appealed to us about McD's—Ronald's doors are always open. Pleased to see that White Hawk was lit up and bustling, we crossed the street.
A group of men, mostly middle-age and elderly, sat toward the back of the restaurant. They were going at it on stringed instruments while their families and friends listened. Since Bluegrass trumps the hottest hits any day, we made our way to the wooden counter and placed our orders. I had the Turkey Presto, described on the menu as “oven roasted turkey with Swiss cheese, lettuce, Pesto sauce, served on Italian bread.” I had a choice of sides and went with a bowl of macaroni and cheese. My friend ordered the chicken caesar wrap with chips. Both of us were happy to have warm, inexpensive food, live music and a casual atmosphere. Plus, it's not everyday that you get to read The Goochland Gazette when you live and work near Downtown Richmond.
From the moment we stepped through the door, people smiled at us because, well, we're two young women. But, even still, we weren't expecting people to be quite so friendly as to share cake with us. One of the fiddlers—an older man with overalls and teddy bear glasses—was celebrating his birthday. His daughter went around serving up slices to everyone in the room after a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” was sung. My friend and I ended our evening at White Hawk with laughs and blue tongues.
#Goochland #WhiteHawkMusicCafe #Bluegrass #Local