Family-owned and operated for more than three decades, Food & Friends is a staple among downtown Lewisburg diners and a favorite stop for travelers passing through the Greenbrier Valley.
It was in 1985 that Bob and Page Murphy opened their doors in downtown Lewisburg, serving sandwiches and pizzas to local regulars. Within a few years, their menu and clientele had expanded. They needed a larger space. In 1993, they moved to the old Ford car dealership on the corner of Washington and Church streets. Those who’ve eaten at the restaurant might recall the dining cubbies along the back wall – they were once sales offices for the dealership.
From day one, Bob and Page have been integral cogs in the restaurant’s success. Bob oversees kitchen operations along with his stepson, Christopher Nash, who recently returned after attending what he coins the “culinary school of life.” Taking him on a journey from line-cook to festival concessionaire, caterer to barbecue restaurant owner, he honed his skills in many different culinary businesses before coming back home.
On any given day, you’ll still find Bob in the kitchen. As the “food quality inspector,” – one of many hats -- he ensures the Food & Friends dining experience continues to meet his unwavering expectations. Page, on the other hand, has officially retired but will stop by from time-to-time to prepare a batch of her famous marinara sauce.
The Food & Friends menu is extensive – as in, pages -- and includes steaks and seafood, pastas, burgers, salads and decadent desserts. Many of their signature menu items are made from scratch, including the above mentioned marinara sauce, Page’s chicken salad, dressings, French onion soup and “pot” bread. Just to clarify, that’s bread baked in a terra-cotta flower pot.
Maximizing what’s in season, they include weekly specials on the menu as well. We were pleased Christopher shared one of his all-time favorites, Chargrilled Caribbean Grouper. He points out that the key to this recipe is timing its preparation when mangos are at their sweetest.
CHARGRILLED CARIBBEAN GROUPER
INGREDIENTS (4 servings)
4, 8 OZ Portions of grouper
TIP: Any white fish will work, but you’ll want to scout around for something fresh.
Caribbean jerk seasoning
2 C Mango
TIP: Finding a nice, ripe mango is critical to the success of your “salsa.”
2 TBS Sweet red pepper
1 TBS Green pepper
1 TBS Jalapeno pepper, deseeded
2 TBS Red Onion
½ TSP Garlic, minced
2 TBS Cilantro, freshly chopped
1 TSP Honey
½ Lime, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Dice mango, peppers and onion.
2. Combine diced ingredients with garlic, cilantro, honey, lime, salt and pepper.
3. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
NOTE: It’s this combination of ingredients that delivers a full flavor. Chilling your “salsa” for at least 30 minutes allows the juices to mingle.
4. Preheat chargrill or pan to medium high heat.
5. Lightly brush fish with olive oil and rub with Caribbean jerk seasoning.
6. Sear both sides of the fish. Place on grill or pan for approximately 1.5 minutes then rotate ¼ turn for another 1.5 minutes. Carefully turn fish over and repeat process.
7. Fish is ready when it flakes easily.
8. Top with mango salsa and enjoy!