Virginia Diner

Review by: Michael Stern

Peanuts grow on vines in fields for miles around the town of Wakefield; the epicenter of the peanut universe is the Virginia Diner. It is a large restaurant that is a store and a tourist attraction all built around the nut that is actually a seed.

The Virginia Diner sells Virginia peanuts in big cans that are nearly impossible to close once opened, for these nuts are truly addictive. They are 100% better than any other peanuts — large, crunchy, dark and rich, more flavorful and more fun than eating peanut butter. You can buy them salted or unsalted, spiced with Old Bay seasoning or Cajun pepper, butter-toasted, in the shell or shelled, and as the foundation for a truly aristocratic peanut brittle. (All Virginia Diner products are available via the on-line store, the address of which is

There are not a lot of peanuts served in the restaurant, although it has been said that Virginia ham is delicious because the pigs are fed on peanuts; and in fact, Virginia Diner cured country ham, available baked or fried, is especially sweet. The fried chicken, while having nothing to do with peanuts, is also very flavorful, and sheathed in a brittle, golden crust. With these fine southern entrees, you can choose turnip greens, candied yams, spoonbread, blackeyed peas, or stewed tomatoes.

For dessert, peanuts are the order of the day. ChocoNutterButter cheesecake is a dizzying pile of peanut butter in a cookie crust, topped with chocolate and chopped nuts. Peanut pie is more traditional, and a long-time favorite here at the Diner. It is a simple dish, similar to pecan pie, but less cloying – a peanut-lover’s fantasy.

What To Eat

peanut pie


Country Ham

Peanut Butter Silk Pie


Virginia Diner Recipes

Peanut Pie


What do you think of Virginia Diner?

3 Responses to “Virginia Diner”

Nick Dedi

October 4th, 2011

The Virginia Diner, based on my one visit, is the “Emperor’s New Clothes.”

I ordered the continental breakfast special: two biscuits with country ham, juice and coffee. The biscuits were a joke: two inches across, devoid of any flavor let alone a biscuit taste; like bad bread. The ham was cold and flavorless. The dish came with pickles, an odd choice for a breakfast special. Juice and coffee did not appear at all. The famous peanut pie was average, the crust thin and tough.

And, usually, tourist traps like this lead you to the gift shop after the meal. This place greets you with racks of peanuts. Go across the street to Plantation Peanuts for a wide selection of the regional specialty with free samples of each one. Avoid the VA Diner.


Rebecca Christian

October 17th, 2008

We eat at the Virginia Diner periodically when we are passing through en route to our NC home. The country ham is really wonderful–salty yet moist, whether served on a plate or in a roll, Virginia-style. Their fried chicken is crispy and succulent.

However, the last time we stopped (October 2008) we had a bad experience with a waitress. The table tent listed the lunch special but she quoted something else. When I asked about the table tent (on my table) she said it was available but not at the daily special price. I asked why the tent was on the table then and she conferred with a manager who said that although that day’s special was something NOT written on the table tent, I could have the daily special on the table tent at the daily special price. The waitress then proceeded to practically ignore us until she made a point of coming completely across the dining room to tell me that I was wrong to question her because the table tent was for lunch specials and lunch was over. (No lunch hour was posted and if she had simply said that in the first place I would have found it a reasonable answer and happily ordered something else.) In addition to suffering the “customer must be wrong” attitude of an obviously hostile waitress the daily special of a patty melt was terrible–dried out and relatively tasteless. I should have ignored the principle of things and ordered ham as did my husband.

This is still a good find, but this particular day the service left a bad taste in the mouth.


Patricia Beninato

February 13th, 2008

If you drive down US-460, which roughly parallels Interstate 64 going towards the Virginia coast, you’ll see lots of signs for the Virginia Diner, almost “South Of The Border”-like in their frequency. Once there, you’ll find fairly edible food at the restaurant, although it is truly not raveworthy.

While the peanut pie, a more earthy version of pecan pie, is good and different, it’s otherwise not really that remarkable (but the peanut fans amongst your friends would adore receiving a can of VA Diner peanuts, which are huge and salty and good).

There’s a small crowd of locals, and mostly tourists, who frequent the place. Service can be haphazard, but they put on a good plate of Virginia ham and eggs, and the fried chicken is pretty good, with a nice crisp crust. If it’s on your way, stop in, but it’s really not worthy of a side trip.


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