Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant

Bakery | Chicken Dinner | Meat-and-Three
Worth a return

Opened over in the town of Goshen by the late Mildred Rowe in 1947 as a mom and pop barbecue café called Perk’s, this once-homey eatery has become a sprawling roadside enterprise. Its long-lasting fame and its location at the end of exit ramp #222 off I-81 attract crowds on busy travel weekends and customers often have to wait for a table. Even back in the 1970s, when we came across it while researching early Roadfood, it had grown into something more than a tucked-away little gem. But Mrs. Rowe was still in charge and the place glowed with her personality. Several years later, in 1998, reviewing it for Gourmet magazine, we wrote, “Mrs. Rowe’s is a reminder that the word restaurant refers to restoring one’s self, body and spirit… A visit with Mrs. Rowe is an encounter with a culinary life-force that makes the world go round.”

Mildred Rowe passed away in 2003. Her restaurant remains in the family (now run by grandkids); and just because it has become a beacon for traveling hordes does not mean we’ve expunged it from the roster of good eats. For one thing, it really is convenient if one needs breakfast, lunch, or dinner just yards from the interstate. More important, it’s hard not to like the kitchen’s freshly-baked biscuits and sticky buns, crunchy fried chicken with mashed potatoes and/or mac ‘n’ cheese on the side, the pork chop and stewed apple plate, and pies of every stripe, including mince in the autumn. It is a repertoire of dishes like you find in Cracker Barrel, but more genuinely country. A few forkfuls into such food and it becomes easy to drop any prejudice engendered by Mrs. Rowe’s conspicuous success.

Despite its tourist-attraction ambience, Mrs. Rowe’s maintains a staff who are sincere and never less than courteous.

What to Eat
Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant, Pork Chops
Pork Chops
Grilled pork chops have been a Mrs. Rowe's signature dish for decades.
Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant, Mince Pie
Mince Pie
Not too many restaurants offer old-fashioned mince pie; at Mrs. Rowe's, it is an autumn tradition.
Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
A nice southern plate: crisp-fried chicken and sweet potatoes ... with ice tea peeking out from the upper left.
Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant, Fried Apples
Fried Apples
Fried apples add a welcome sweet note on the side of just about any suppertime entree or breakfast.
Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant, Sticky Bun
Sticky Bun
Pecan bits are crowded atop the warm sticky bun.
Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant, Hash Brown Casserole
Hash Brown Casserole
Breakfast side dish options include grits, home fries, fried green apples, and this cheese-rich hash brown casserole
Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant, Ham Biscuit
Ham Biscuit
Country ham in a warm biscuit: King of Breakfast Sandwiches
Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant, Banana Pudding
Banana Pudding
Banana pudding is good stuff (forget the whippo topping), but with so many different pies available for dessert, it is not compelling.
Directions and Hours
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
9 stops | 218 MILES | 4 hr 15 min

Skyline Drive

The 105-mile two-lane that threads through Virginia's Shenandoah National Park, has decent food at its National Park Service Oases. (Try the Smithfield Ham Monte Cristo or the roast turkey with cornbread stuffing at Big Meadows Lodge at mile 51.2.) But when big appetite beckons, we head for one of the four entry/exit…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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