Cranberry’s in Staunton – a unique and healthy spot in the Shenandoah Valley
“The smell when you first walk in – the coffee and chocolate and spices and candles, and then the food from the kitchen,” ….“And then there’s so much to explore beyond that.”—
said Crysta Bliss, a recent addition to the staff as the Cranberry’s new Grocery Manager.
Make no mistake, Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery in Staunton would be a must-stop simply for the excellent food, the herbal remedies, and the eclectic selection of natural and organic groceries, but the place is so much more. It’s state of mind – a special little spot in the universe – that welcomes customers with a smile and helping hand instead of rope chain and an automated kiosk.
On a recent Summer afternoon on the sidewalk in front of Cranberry’s, a couple sat under the hanging ferns enjoying lattes made from locally roasted espresso beans. Inside, a man in the Grocery studied the unusual belt-driven fan system in the ceiling that helps keep the building cool, and a child in the Eatery rushed to her mother full of wonderment after using a pull-chain toilet for the first time.
Located in what is believed to be the oldest commercial building in Staunton – constructed in 1758 – Cranberry’s recently won the award for Best Local Gourmet Food Store in the Shenandoah Valley from the readers of Virginia Living.
The cafe, well-renowned in its own right, recently underwent a significant renovation that will make room for more local and natural items on the menu, all while maintaining the ambiance and charm the regulars have come to expect.
“We’re in the breadbasket of Virginia,”…. “We’re surrounded by all these wonderful farms that are focused on sustainable farming practices. It’s a privilege to serve local and organic food to those who come through our door.”– said Jen Dominic, Cranberry’s Eatery Manager.
And then there’s the coffee. Created by former employee Lester Bowers, the Lester’s Best blends are so popular that Cranberry’s regularly ships the coffee across the country. Cranberry’s recently added coffee orders to its website to fill the demand. The Lucky No. 7 is the most popular.
Cranberry’s has evolved in other ways too. Recent new additions include flavor-infused honey from a local apiary, vegan handmade organic chocolates from Richmond, and a full range of CBD Oil products. Responding to customer’s requests, the Eatery last year unveiled the Oatmeal Supreme and the Big Traveler’s Breakfast – two new ways to fuel a day of adventure.
Locals and Visitors Enjoy Cranberry’s
Who goes to Cranberry’s? That’s a complicated – and wonderful – question. Local businesspeople commandeer the big round table every morning and talk sports and politics over breakfast. Moms drop by for healthy options for their kids. Vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free eaters know it as a reliable place to satisfy their food choices. College students study while sipping their strawberry banana smoothies. Some regulars are happy with a BLT and a Pepsi – but the Pepsi is made from real sugar because Cranberry’s doesn’t contain a drop of high fructose corn syrup.
Because the building is located close to the Blackfriars and the Woodrow Wilson Museum in Staunton’s historic downtown, Cranberry’s a frequent stop for tourists. Many feel it’s worth the 2½-mile drive off the Interstate to find a place to eat that’s not fast food. Open from 7:30 to 7:30 every day (7:30 to 5:30 in winter), it’s a hang-out for both breakfast and lunch – or an early dinner just before a Shakespeare play.
“Eat Well-Feel GREAT”
Cranberry’s, born on the 4th of July in 2003, a vision of former Mary Baldwin College dean Kathleen Stinehart, who wanted to bring a healthy vibe into a downtown enjoying a renaissance with the recent construction of the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars theater. “Eat well – feel GREAT” was Stinehart’s motto. After all, is there anything more important than what you put in your body and on your body?
The spirit remains alive and well under current owner Joseph White, who bought Cranberry’s when Stinehart and her husband retired three years ago.
Whenever you are in Staunton, stop by Cranberry’s. You may find us sitting on the front patio, drinking a cappuccino.