Good beer, Good food, Good people. Voted a Top 10 Bar by USA Today.
What two things do the Green Leafe and Williamsburg have in common? Well, they are both old and they both have character. The “woodsy” and rustic interior of the Green Leafe with its wood paneling and booths let you know this place has been here awhile. I still remember my first time visiting the Green Leafe downtown before we headed off to a W&M football game years ago. I enjoyed the character and food then and knew one day I’d be back. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite before any W&M activity since it’s walking distance from the school. You can tell it’s a popular place by its close proximity to the college, the number of beers on tap, and the fact that they have over 3,000 Facebook fans. Oh, and did I mention they were featured in USA today as one of the top 10 places for holiday cheers? I’d be surprised if you lived in Williamsburg and didn’t know about this great place.
The Green Leafe menu is filled with good old American favorites and some twists on the normal pub fare. We began our meal with their soup of the day, which was Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder. It was served in a soft wheat bread bowl. The soup definitely had a kick to it, but the bread balanced it out perfectly. The next dish we tasted was the Aussie Chicken Sandwich. How can you not like a sandwich built on a pretzel roll? If it weren’t for two other dishes coming our way, I would have eaten it all right there. But since I was excited to taste the Kitty Hawk burger (our next entree), I held back. The burger was topped with lobster and crab dip and it was delicious! The dip on top was not overpowering and it mixed beautifully with the other flavors of bacon, pickle, cheese, onion, and lettuce. Our waiter said it “ruined” him for any other burgers. I can see why. Our last entree was their Fish and Chips. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a slab of fried fish that big in my life. It was huge! This is no dinky little frozen fish stick for sure. The fish is served on a large bed of regular fries, sweet potato fries, and hush puppies, along with coleslaw. Talk about a “stick to your ribs” meal! That’s some great comfort food right there. Each entrée we tasted was good and had something slightly out of the ordinary to make it unique. I was so full by the end of the meal that I didn’t even need to eat dinner that night. And I always eat my dinner. However, I did keep thinking about my Aussie Chicken Sandwich leftovers, which I gladly ate the following day. I’m sure I’ll be visiting the Green Leafe again, along with the locals and students that know it so well.
My Favorite Thing: The Aussie Chicken Sandwich – “Grilled chicken breast topped with cheddar and provolone cheese, crispy bacon and honey mustard on a pretzel roll with lettuce, tomato & red onion”. My favorite part was the taste and texture of the pretzel roll and how it melded so well with the other ingredients. Nothing super fancy…just really good.
What I would like to try next time: Kona Cakes – “Two pan seared 4oz lump crab cakes topped with pineapple salsa and siracha aoli, finished with jasmine rice and broccoli”. Who knows what siracha aoli is, but it just sounds good!
History Within History
Williamsburg. Just say the name and one word comes to mind. History. Williamsburg is all about history. It’s why most people come to visit this town, and why many come to live here. You see it, you hear it and yes, you even taste it. With all that history though, there’s only a handful of restaurants here that have survived long enough to be considered a landmark. Especially those outside of Colonial Williamsburg. The Green Leafe is one.
The Green Leafe has been around since 1974 where it first started out as a fine dining restaurant. It was later bought in 1989 by now owner Glenn Gormley who decided to change the image of the Green Leafe. He transformed it to a more casual and friendly bar/restaurant where locals, tourists, college students and professors can come in and have a drink. He focused on offering a wide selection of great beers from both local brewers and others across the country. And, uh, he succeeded…big time. The USA Today voted The Green Leafe as one of the Top 10 Places to Go for Cheers. That’s impressive, and I’d have to agree with them. The Green Leafe has one of the widest selection of beers we have here in Williamsburg. You realize that once you step in the door. The inside is dimly lit and clothed in dark wood. EXACTLY what you think of as a historic college town bar. The top of the walls are decorated with lines and lines of beer taps from every age. A chalkboard with FANTASTIC specials and old posters of annual beer tastings adorn the middle of the walls reminding you of what this place is all about. Look a little closer though and you’ll notice the history here. There’s interesting stories in every square inch of this place. For instance, the bar itself is made from an old bowling alley floor that was used in the exact same building years before it was ever a restaurant. I had a blast just chatting with Glenn and some of the staff about that and the many different stories that have helped add to the character of the Green Leafe. It’s just a fun place to hang out, have a drink and a grab a bite to eat. So we did…
We started with their Soup of the Day, which, um, changes every day. It was a Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder. Slightly spicy with great flavors. We had it in a bread bowl and ate the whole thing. Next came their Beer Flight which is 5 different beers of your choosing that come in smaller glasses. I had an IPA, Imperial Stout, Hennepin, Hard Cider and a Black IPA. The Black IPA was awesome. The Aussie Chicken – “Grilled Chicken Breast, Swiss, Cheddar, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion and Honey Mustard on Pretzel Bread.” came next. This was really good. I loved the soft and chewy pretzel roll. It also came with a few rather large perfectly coated and fried onion rings. They were delicious. Then, the Kitty Hawk burger came – “Lobster and Crab Dip, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese”. Wow. This is one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. A shiny, golden, butter-bathed bun teetering on top of lettuce, bacon, cheese and that delicious burger with just the right amount of Lobster and Crab Dip added. They didn’t put a big glop of dip on there, which you might think you would want. But no, too much of it would have taken away from that great burger. This way, it just added to the taste. They then brought us this huge ark of Fish and Chips – “11oz Haddock Filet with Fries, Hushpuppies, Cole Slaw and Tartar Sauce.” It was big. A mound of fries, half regular and half sweet potato, created a nice crunchy mattress for the entire perfectly fried filet of fish. They know how to fry their food.
This was a great review. I really enjoyed everything about it. The history, the people and the food. Just like they say – “Good Beer, Good Food, Good People”. They opened up a new location in New Town in 2007, so maybe we’ll “have” to do a review of that restaurant as well. It’s technically a different restaurant, right? Not much history though, so I guess we’ll just have to spend a lot more time eating. Shucks.
My Favorite Thing: The Kitty Hawk. Didn’t you hear my description? It was pretty obvious.
What I would like to try next time: Basil Pesto Steak and Fries – “6 oz. Certified Angus Beef Sirloin with fries tossed in our garlic butter and basil pesto sauce, topped with diced tomatoes and asiago cheese”. Man, steak and fries by itself is pretty good, but add garlic butter, basil pesto sauce and asiago cheese, and that’s going straight into my mouth.