Batesville is Back in Business!
Last June, the beloved Batesville Store closed its doors. While there are mixed recountings as to why the establishment shut down, very few would disagree about the emotional vacancy caused by its closing. Quite frankly, it was like a death in the family. The country store had been a mainstay in the community for almost a century as Page’s Store, owned and operated by the Page family. In 1996, retired couple Dick and Rita Sokowokia took over running the business for five years offering sandwiches, conversation and convenience items. Former employee and long-time family friend, Norm Jenkins, then purchased the store from the Pages. In 2007, he leased the building to Cid and Liza Scallet who turned the business into the popular Batesville Store, adding wireless-Internet, live entertainment and to-die-for homemade ice cream and baked goods. Folks far and wide had come to know the venue as a place to gather for great food, top-notch music, and a wonderful taste of small-town America.
Well, friends, it took almost a year, but Batesville is back in business! On April 21, new owners and restauranteers, Aris and Jessica Cuadra, re-opened the long-loved country store as the Plank Road Exchange. Offering a wide variety of tasty dishes as well as live music, the café is off to a great start. Popular menu items include blackened catfish, fresh salmon, roasted potato salad, mac and cheese, and broccoli and peanut salad. Sandwiches such as the “Asian Persuasion” – a favorite with my family -- and the "Fuhgeddaboudit"” Italian pleaser are also big hits. For those who enjoy a beer or a glass of wine with dinner, a wide selection is available for dinning-in or for taking-out.
Batesville-based band The Pollocks kicked off the café’s official grand opening celebration this past May and more musical groups have continued to entertain on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, including the Buzzard Hollow Boys. Recently, renowned jazz artist Bobby Read brought in his killer quartet, Igniter, with heavy hitters Robert Jospe, Pete Spaar, and Bert Carlson. Upcoming acts include Mike Clem with Thomas Gunn and Rusty Speidel, as well as the Rick Olivarez Trio.
If you’re in the market for a tasty meal -- breakfast, lunch, or dinner -- or an evening that combines great music and small-town charm, it just doesn’t get much better than the Plank Road Exchange in the heart of Batesville, Virginia.
(Note: Rumors float that Cid and Liza will open their own new establishment somewhere in the area soon. I’ll keep you posted!)