Market at Main
Located in the heart of downtown Lynchburg is Market at Main. This restaurant is the only place in the downtown district where you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner! While the food is by no means gourmet, I consider it good comfort food. I have had the fried chicken, meatloaf and pork chops as well as most of their sandwiches, and fried shrimp. I love the atmosphere. Located at 904 Main Street the building has an interesting history. Built in 1886, the original tin ceiling is 25 feet tall! The first occupants of the building was Joseph Cohn’s Son’s Clothiers. In 1912 the party wall with 902 Main Street was removed and F. W. Woolworth and Company moved in where they had lunch counter which is the inspiration for today’s lunch counter. From 1933-1968 it was Kresge’s Department Store. In 1968 Reveco moved into 904 Main Street and from 1968-2007 it was a CVS. After extensive restoration and renovations Market at Main opened it’s doors in 2009. Originally they only served breakfast and lunch but a little more than a year ago they started serving dinner as well.
The initial concept was to bring back the lunch counter and set up some booths in half the store and sell a limited amount of groceries in the other half to all those people moving into the new downtown lofts. As the restaurant started getting busier and busier the “market” side got smaller and smaller. The “market” was a victim of the restaurant’s success.
The owner, Rodney Taylor worked as the County Administrator for Amherst County. In 1993 he and his brother-in-law needed additional space for High Peak Sportswear so he purchased a property up the street in the same block. That lead to years of frustration–there was no place in the downtown area where you could get a great cheeseburger. Wanting to fill that void he tried to get restaurateurs from Charlottesvile or Roanoke to come to the downtown area and open up a place to fill that niche. A couple years later Rodney sold his interest in High Peak to develop some downtown loft apartments. and when “Chopper” (Ralph Wilson) started the restoration process of 904 Main Street Rodney decided that this was the place that could serve great cheese burgers! When they opened in 2009 there wasn’t anywhere in the downtown area that served breakfast and most places were closed on weekends so they made a conscious decision to be open on weekends and serve breakfast and lunch. Market at Main is truly a family business, Currently two of Rodney’s three daughters work there and his wife, a school teacher, is there lending a hand on those especially busy days.
There are many dining options at Market at Main. If you want to see a busy kitchen, sit at the counter, especially at dinner time or Sunday morning. If you prefer something a little more intimate they have a couple of booths or there are tables that can accommodate a party of two or ten or more. On those hot summer days, stop in for a cold and refreshing milk shake!
Market at Main doesn’t take reservations so if you show up at the height of dinner or on Sunday morning don’t be surprised if you have to wait. The food usually comes out quickly and the staff is friendly. Prices are reasonable. If you live in the Lynchburg area, don’t be surprised if you bump into someone you know as this is one of the more popular casual dining spots in town. Guest of The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast have often commented about the great atmosphere, friendly staff, reasonable prices and good food. I hate to admit this, but I have eaten there dozens of times and I have never ordered a cheeseburger . I guess the next time I’m downtown, I will be ordering one! Rodney–I hope it is as good as you say it is!
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