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Royal Lunch

Vote = 2.0Vote = 2.0Vote = 2.0Vote = 2.0Vote = 2.0 of 1 reviews

211 N Kent St, Winchester, VA - Map

(540) 667-5131American


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On Saturday, August 29, 2015 I had lunch at the Royal Lunch Restaurant & Bar at 211 North Kent Street, which had officially opened on August 14. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 11:00 AM-9:00 PM; Friday & Saturday, 11:00 AM-Midnight; Sunday, closed. The phone number is (540) 773-4338, and you can find it on Facebook as Winchester Royal Lunch. A sign on the window claims that this is Winchester’s oldest bar. I had talked to owner Marshall Robertson prior to the opening and learned that next year will be the 100th anniversary of a bar at that address, hence the claim. A sidewalk sign listed Today’s Specials as 'Fish Sandwich and Fries, 8.99, and Two Piece Fried Fish with Two Sides, 9.99’. Entrance is via a door on the right front of the building; there is no vestibule. The horseshoe bar seating 10 in the center of the small room has been retained from its previous occupancies over the years. The original 60 or 70 cans and bottles of beer are still displayed on the steel beam above the bar. Just inside the door the front wall has a modern electronic jukebox. A large TV screen is at the left corner of the front wall. Two small tables next to the front windows seat patrons who wish to see outside and be seen, and additional tables are along the left wall. A refrigerated display case is on the back wall to the right of the kitchen door, and a popcorn machine is to the left of the door. A TV screen on the back wall was not on. Sports pictures and humorous signs are on both the left and right walls, along with a few old license plates. The ceiling is white, with two old-fashioned ceiling fans in the front; a modern dropped ceiling is behind the beam. The floor has a light tile pattern, and the walls are tan. The menu is printed on both sides of an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet. One side lists Sandwiches in Lunch Boxes with a side, cookie, and drink; Sides are Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, or Cole Slaw. It also has Royal favorites, which are other sandwiches along with Chicken Wings with two sides. The menu’s other side lists seven kinds of burgers. Despite the claim of being the Oldest Bar in Winchester, it’s ironic that alcoholic beverages were not yet available because their ABC License will not be granted until the Royal Lunch has been open for 30 days. Marshall had left the building just before I arrived, and I was the only patron. The single male attendant was server and cook, and took my order for a ’Nawlins Burger. This was two pieces of Texas toast bread. Inside was a beef patty, fried egg, Andouille sausage, onion, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, served with French fries and pickle chips. I had a root beer because neither Dr. Pepper nor Mr. Pibb were available. The fries were good. However, I had trouble eating the burger as a sandwich; the bread had not been toasted, was soggy from the mayo and tomato, and too flimsy a vehicle to contain the ingredients. I finally resorted to using a knife and fork; a Kaiser roll would have provided more support. The beef patty was merely so-so, and I was disappointed because this was the Royal’s most expensive burger at $9.95. Other patrons gradually trickled in; two sat at the bar, and three tables were occupied by couples. This kept the young man pretty busy between serving customers and kitchen duty; a cook would have speeded up service significantly. When I went into the men’s room, the light burned out when I flipped the switch on, and I could smell burnt electrical insulation. I informed the attendant that I had to use the ladies’ room. The most recent eatery at this location was The Verdict’s 'N’, which had opened in October 2014, but didn’t last long. Prior to that it had operated for a long time as Royal Lunch under two different ownerships. The original Royal Lunch was operated for 25 years by a couple that sold it in 2012 to another couple who gave it up in 2014. Marshall Robertson had previously operated Sho’ Nuff Soul Food at Delco Plaza, but closed it in June and decided to resurrect the Royal Lunch operation when 211 North Kent became available. I decided that it wasn’t my kind of place, and won’t be back.

Perry Crabill