Harrisonburg is a town bursting with flavor. It is easy to roam the street of downtown and find anything your heart desires within a couple hundred feet. With so many options it’s hard to know what you should try first. Here’s a list of 20 things you need to eat in Harrisonburg:
1. Sticky Nuggs (Billy Jacks)
Billy Jacks is the talk of the Harrisonburg downtown food scene. It has delicious sliders, tatter tots, fried mac ‘n cheese and Sticky Nuggs. Sticky Nuggs are a high quality chicken nugget that get drenched in 1 of 8 delicious sauces, with options including garlic herb and parmesan, chipotle lime, and bbq cheddar and bacon to name a few of my favorites. The best part is on Thursdays, Sticky Nuggs are $3.
2. Earth and Tea Cafe
Just a block down from Billy Jacks, Earth and Tea cafe is another must try place for tea lovers. It has a tea for anybody’s palette. The atmosphere is also great for studying or relaxing. If you’re looking for channel your inner Zen while getting your caffeine fix this is your spot!
3. Thunderbird Cafe
This hidden gem is a must try, about 8 miles outside of Harrisonburg. The menu consists of homemade southern inspired meals. The best item on the menu is definitely the Pancake tacos, a pancake folded up and stuff with sweet toppings. They change the flavor weekly with flavors like s’mores and raspberry white chocolate goodness all wrapped up in a pancake.
4. Jimmy Madison’s
Jimmy Madison’s is right in the heart of downtown. It’s menu is a fresh twist on classic comfort food. My favorite being the fried chicken and waffle panini, but they’ve got just about anything you could want from burgers and salads to baby back ribs.
5. Benny Sorrentino’s Pizza
If you’re looking for good pizza this is your place, one street up from main downtown. My roommate from Jersey even gave this pizza two thumbs up! You get a huge slice (that’s basically two slices!) for only $4. Also, if you’re up for a challenge you can try to eat a whole 28 inch pizza in 1 hour. If you complete the challenge you’ll win $500.
6. Grilled Cheese Mania
Delicious grilled cheese options with an awesome atmosphere located right on South High Street. This little food truck has the best grilled cheeses around with all sorts of combinations. Plus, they make some pretty great dipping’ sauces too. If you’re gluten free they’ve got you covered with gluten free bread. It’s a fun place to hangout and eat with friends. Try the mac ‘n cheese while you’re at it! Because you can never have too much cheese!
7. Agrodolce Italian Restaurant
This restaurant is not talked about much by students but it’s delicious. It’s close to campus and easy to get to! They make their pasta fresh, every single day and you can watch! They have a quick takeout section or a nicer area to sit down and enjoy you’re meal. There is any type of pasta you can imagine and any one can be substituted to be gluten free for no additional cost! You’ll get great portions for a reasonable price!
8. Blacksheep Coffee
If you’re looking for real good coffee this isn’t typical Starbucks. It’s coffee with a fresh and unique twist. The interior is so chic and perfect for studying or reading. My personal favorite is the toasted marshmallow latte but with so many options it’s hard to choose. The paninis are to die for if you get hungry after a study sesh. Blacksheep is located in Ice House, near downtown Harrisonburg. Ice House also consists of other really good restaurants and my favorite little boutique “The Yellow Button”.
Pho and Sushi is my favorite meal but finding a good spot can be difficult. Beyond is a Bar and Lounge with an extensive menu. Buying a few rolls of sushi and some apps to share with friends is my favorite thing to do to try most of the menu without emptying your wallet. They’re open until midnights on Thursday to Saturday if you’re looking for some late night Pho this is the place to go.
10. Woodgrill Buffet
If you’re just plain sick of dining hall food Woodgrill Buffet is the best bang for your buck. It’s just over $10 for all you can eat breakfast and it’s nice to change it up from the typical dining hall food you get used to. It’s comfort food as its best… and all you can eat!
11. Peace, Love & Little Donuts
These little donuts are full of flavor. They’ve got some crazy flavors like Maple Bacon, S’mores, Samoa, and Raspberry Lemonade to name a few! They make their donuts fresh throughout the day and you can watch the whole process. Located right under the 865 apartments on Port Republic, it’s super easy to get to and an easy walk from campus.
12. Bella Gelato
Another place to stop if you’re looking for a sugar fix is Bella Gelato. This cute little shop is downtown and offers some pretty unique gelato flavors. They also have Affogata (coffee with gelato in it) which is my all time favorite dessert.
13. Little Grill Collective
This little cafe uses as much locally sourced food as possible. With tons of vegan and vegetarian options you’ll love the food while feeling super healthy. It’s a fresh, healthy twist on classic foods.
Another healthy option is Pulp smoothies and Acai bowls. Located downtown in the Shenandoah Bicycle Company Store is the little smoothie company. With tons of toppings and fresh fruit to choose from you’ll be sure to find something you love.
For all my brunch lovers… Food.Bar.Food is a must. It offers classic brunch foods with gourmet twists. The brunch bowls are a must try, the poutine is my favorite.
Kline’s is a Harrisonburg classic. With two locations changing flavors weekly you’re never quite sure what to expect. Luckily they have a calendar of their flavors online so you can pick what location to go to. Kline’s isn’t a soft serve ice cream, but it also isn’t hard. It’s a unique way to make ice cream and no one else does it quite like Kline’s.
17. Jess’ Lunch
Jess’ Lunch is just classic diner food. It’s super cheap and if you’re craving some classic greasy food it’s a great grab and go place. It’s got a small town charm in the middle of town square!
18. Jack Brown’s
Jack Browns is known for it’s unique burgers. My go to is the Greg Brady Burger, a burger topped with mac ‘n cheese and BBQ chips! The menu consists of burgers, fries, and beers. It’s a small place with limited seating, it’s nice to go on a warm day where there is outdoor seating. They’ve specialized and burgers and continue to serve what they know best.
If you’re in the mood some good Mexican that isn’t Chipotle (although, who would ever turn down Chipotle) Jalapeños has some really good Mexican bowls and burritos.
Cookout is a classic late night food run you have to make at least once as a student at JMU. With endless milkshake options and super cheap food trays you can’t go wrong. It’s good food and you’ll get it fast. It’s the perfect way to end a long night.
Are there any other things you need to eat in Harrisonburg? Comment below!
Featured photo source: visitcanton.com
"Carpe Diem & drink lots of coffee. JMU 2020. Alpha Phi."