THERE’S SOMETHING DELICIOUS IN WINCHESTER, VA
Photos by Josh Triggs
The Greene Turtle in Winchester Virginia is more than a sports bar and grille. They strive to serve the community, being a hangout for all ages that serve great food and drinks in a fun, casual atmosphere.
When Nerangis Management Corporation, an award-winning company that currently owns and oversees operations for multiple businesses in the Shenandoah Valley, was looking for a new venture to neighbor the Alamo Draft house Cinema in the Kernstown Commons shopping center, the Greene Turtle was the obvious choice.
Although the Greene Turtle started on the Ocean City Boardwalk in 1976, it now boasts restaurants located from as far north as New Jersey to some 435 miles south to Hampton, Virginia. The Winchester location is #44, and it’s no coincidence that a pair of #44 jerseys serve as the focal point in the dining area. One bears the signature of John Riggins, former running back for the Washington Redskins, while the other is autographed by West Virginia native Jerry West, who shot hoops for the L.A. Lakers.
Sports Illustrated covers add to the sporting club environment as well. Continuing with this theme, metal industrial-style, mesh partitions, similar to what’s used behind the scenes in a sports arena or stadium locker room, feature prominently into the decor. The element allows for some privacy between the different seating areas in the dining area without blocking out the natural light from the large windows along the front and side of the restaurant.
The Greene Turtle’s open floor plan seats about 250 people inside with the patio allowing for another 30 or so patrons in good weather. Every chair, booth, and bar stool is the best seat in the house for watching one of the 50 high definition televisions placed throughout the inside of the building. Each of the 17 booths has its own screen and overall, the restaurant offers a total of more than 1800″ of viewing enjoyment.
During my weekday lunch at the Greene Turtle, from my seat at one of the tables in the middle of the dining area, I watched hockey, skiing, fishing, horse racing, and cartoons simultaneously on five different sets.
The creme de la creme of viewing pleasure, however is tucked into the party room, which seats about 40 people and can be partitioned off for privacy. The room boasts a WiFi capable, 78″ wall-mounted set which connects to your iPad or other Wi-Fi friendly device, allowing you to share presentations to a group. The space is perfect for everything; corporate lunches and retirement celebrations; birthday parties, reunions, and other family occasions; bachelor or bachelorette parties; and of course, gatherings to celebrate your sports team’s latest achievements.
The decor, furniture, and other physical elements come together so well, it’s hard to believe it took a mere 60 days from breaking ground to opening day. Director of Business Development for Nerangis Management Corporation Lisa Limoges, who owns the restaurant with her brother, credits the use of local contractors in meeting this goal. The corporation chose businesses from Winchester whenever possible, but all of the contractors were from the regional area, with no more than an hour’s commute away from the restaurant. The sports theme for which the Greene Turtle is well-known is not limited to the decor. The restaurant also promotes local sports with their “Team of the Week” promotion.
Anyone can visit the Winchester location’s Facebook page to nominate an area team. Each time you wear something (shirt, hat, socks, whatever) with that team’s logo, you receive 10% off your order – but it only applies to the person wearing the gear. The perk is so popular, it would even tempt rival high school teams to swap jerseys for the duration of a meal.
Another way the Greene Turtle connects to the community is with their Funds for Friends program, which takes place on Wednesday nights. Similar to “spirit night” events held in other restaurant chains, the recipients of Funds for Friends receive 20% of the proceeds of the total amount of the meal cost from diners participating in the event. Examples of organizations benefiting from Funds for Friends might include an area public school, charity, or other not-for-profit group.
The Greene Turtle menu features classic sports bar foods, like burgers, sandwiches, and salads, with trending favorites, such as Irish nachos and Reubens during St. Patrick’s day. Customers 12 and under can select from a kids’ menu of appropriately proportioned entrees just as delicious as the grown-up sized fare. Regardless of your meal choice, you’ll want to start with the mouth-watering appetizers.
The ones I sampled during my visit included:
- BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza – Traditional pizza flavors come together with the tastes of a backyard cookout on crisp-baked flatbread topped with smoky BBQ marinara, chicken, bacon, red onions, and scallions.
- Hand Breaded Chicken Tenders – Moist, white meat chicken dipped in seasoned batter then fried to a flaky, golden brown crust are accompanied by a Golden BBQ flavored sauce with smoky hints of mustard, as well as your choice of one of the other dozen sauces available.
- Crab Dip – With each bite of the restaurant’s signature dip, served with soft pretzel sticks warm from the oven for dipping, the Old Bay topping over melted mozzarella brings to mind summer afternoons on the Ocean City boardwalk.
- Wings – Served boneless or bone-in, these moist wings come dry or topped with choice of sauce with a side of celery and either bleu cheese or ranch dressing.
- Hog Hammers – This trendy twist on traditional ribs, accompanied by a pile of onion straws, offers generous bone-in portions of rib meat with a savory, smoky BBQ sauce which offers more flavor than bite. Large enough for sharing, the appetizer is a meal in itself.
Stop by for a late lunch or an early dinner during happy hour on weekdays from 3pm until 7pm and take advantage of $3 to $7 food and drink specials. The bar has 32 taps and serves 24 varieties of beer including Shell Raiser, an English-style pale ale brewed in Baltimore, Maryland. The bartenders put a unique spin on traditional cocktails with selections like the Crabby Mary (a seafood-inspired Bloody Mary) and signature Turtle Ritas (twists on traditional margaritas). Crisp white and bold red wines for every occasion are available either by the glass or bottle.
The Mug Club is perhaps the most unique thing about the Greene Turtle. The cost to join is a onetime $40 fee, but it drops to $20 on Mug Club Night. (A sign near the bar counts down to the next event.) Privileges extend to any Greene Turtle location and include $1 off every draft, access to monthly member-only events, and more. The Winchester location hosts themed Mug Club parties with complimentary, off-the-menu items from the chef.
The Greene Turtle offers restaurant-quality service in a neighborhood atmosphere. You’ll find the Winchester location at 185 Kernstown Commons Boulevard next door to Alamo Draft house Cinema. Be sure to sign up for Turtle Rewards to receive birthday perks, cash back on the card for points earned, and exclusive member offers. You can learn more on the restaurant’s website (http://thegreeneturtle. com/location/Winchester) or their Facebook page, The Greene Turtle Winchester.