By Matt de Simone
Last May, Tammie’s Place in Buchanan opened its doors, introducing guests to the restaurant’s delicious entrees and welcome atmosphere.
The new restaurant came to be when restaurant owner Tammie Frate and her fiancé, Frank, went tubing down the James River last summer and noticed a “for sale” sign outside the building located at 19857 Main Street on the corner of Main and Lowe Streets.
“People feel really comfortable [at the restaurant],” Tammie said in a recent interview. “It’s been really great. We’re getting regulars now, and we’ve only been open for three months.”
Tammie spent the last 25 years working in the restaurant business. She spent several years working in and opening establishments around the Roanoke Valley and in Pennsylvania before starting a family. “Tammie’s Place” is the culmination of her years of experience and a nod of appreciation and love for her late mother.
Tammie keeps family in mind while running her restaurant. For example, the corn fritters offered at Tammie’s are a callback to the days when Tammie worked at the Greenwood Restaurant while her mother, Sheila Sarver, babysat Tammie’s children. Now, Tammie offers fritters to her guests.
“I used to have to pay my mother in corn fritters for babysitting [while I worked at the Greenwood],” Tammie recalled. “I would say, ‘Mom, how much money [do I need to pay you for babysitting]?’ She would tell me, ‘Just bring me some corn fritters, Tammie.’”
Some other signature items at Tammie’s include the one-pound Bell Burger, which is welcomed to a table with a bell that rings for every order sold, pulled pork BBQ, beef brisket, and homemade meatloaf.
In the restaurant lobby is the popular “duck machine”—a claw machine where children can pull a plastic duck to take with them while they float down the James. Recently, Tammie’s Place won one of the awards at Buchanan’s annual July 4 parade.
Tammie’s also proud to work alongside her family. Her son, Rendyn (also known as “Bear”), works as a server. He is currently a senior at Lord Botetourt High School and, according to Tammie, is a natural worker inside a restaurant.
“People love [Rendyn],” Tammie noted. “He is a natural-born server. People come in and ask for him all the time. He’s good at what he does, and he cares.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place last Saturday morning. Tammie, her family, and staff stood alongside Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Khari Ryder and Buchanan’s Community Development and Events Manager Harry Gleason as they officially welcomed the new restaurant to Botetourt County.
“My staff is amazing,” Tammie added. “We don’t really have a lot of turnover, and I’ve discovered that you don’t need a whole lot of help to be successful and run a good restaurant.”
This Friday, Tammie’s Place has live music scheduled to start at 6 p.m. featuring, Shanolan, consisting of Shannon Wickline, a former keyboardist in the Charlie Daniels Band, and singer Carolan Deacon. For more information about Tammie’s Place, visit the Facebook page.