Trading complex overwhelms the senses

A number of months ago we happily reported on the opening of Eric and Janet Tollefson’s new venture, the Sperryville Trading Cafe and Market, located in what used to be the Emporium.

Months of renovations and reconstruction of the first order ensued, and now the complex houses not only the cafe and market but also The Briar Patch, a quaint and welcoming bookstore owned by Alma Viator and Ben Jones. It’s decorated with oversized, stuffed arm chairs reminiscent of Edith Ann’s (Lily Tomlin’s “Laugh In” character) gigantic chair.

The complex also offers Rapp U, founded by Doug Schiffman, with Kathy Grove, the celebrated dean of schools.

The restaurant’s expansive outside wooden deck stretches almost the entire length of the complex (and recently hosted a breakout number of Rappahannock Ladies Lunch Bunch members — more than 45 gals “decorating the porch”, as a number of male passersby noted with appreciative smiles and kind laughter).

The knotty pine wooden interior is carefully chosen, and upon entering the ambrosial scent overwhelms the senses like walking into a forest of freshly hewn lumber. The dining area of the cafe is dotted with rich cherry wood tables and chairs, christened with a quiet waiting area for to go orders.

In German, the word Gemuetlich, while lacking a direct English translation, means cozy, quaint, inviting, charming, pleasing and more, and this cafe and market is definitely Gemuetlich — in other words it reeks of ambiance.

One can easily spend a quiet afternoon or evening in the spring, summer or autumn ordering a meal and sitting inside or on the outside deck, enjoying nature’s gifts, like the sounds of the nearby rushing Thornton River — perhaps reading a book from the Briar Patch, or deliberating which courses you wish to register for with Rapp U.

The menu offers a wide variety of reasonably priced fare — from breakfasts to lunches and soon perhaps dinners. Lunch includes fat juicy burgers (the swiss melted cheese a big seller) with local grass fed beef from Kathy and Larry Grove’s farm. They also offer an abundance of libations, including a selection of local wines from Gadino Cellars and Quievremont Winery, as well as local craft beers.

I’m from a family of wine and food connoisseurs, my father a wine aficionado, possessing a discerning palate celebrating Pommards and Chateauneuf du Pape’s to California whites, and my mom a gourmet chef who could whip up a beef wellington like nobody’s’ business. In recent years I’ve married a man who is also a connoisseur but of a different sort. Yes, my husband is a chip aficionado and is wild about Route 11 Potato Chips (as am I), which Eric and Janet have wisely chosen to devote to a tall, multi level shelf.

See you in Sperryville!

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