Williamson Road was once the unofficial Main Street of Roanoke, where young folks went cruising on Friday nights, out-of-towners stayed in spiffy motels and regulars satisfied cravings for a Buddy Boy burger at Lendy’s drive-in.
Today, a lot of folks still view Williamson Road as a ghost of its former self, haunted by abandoned shells of Americana. The truth is, this traffic artery is bustling in a whole new way that makes it an exciting, diverse place for food lovers such as myself.
Wendy Jones, executive director of the Williamson Road Area Business Association, calls the road a “melting pot” and a business incubator for entrepreneurs who hail from all over the world, specifically Mexico, South America, Asia and the Middle East. Because rent is more affordable there than in places like downtown Roanoke or Grandin Village, it’s a perfect place for aspiring restaurateurs and grocers to anchor themselves and build a business, Jones said.
Over the past 10 years, Williamson Road has become a diversity corridor dotted with ethnic markets and restaurants. But the scene has changed a bit since the last time I wrote about this, so I thought it was time to update readers on some exciting additions to the neighborhood, including new Korean, Mexican and Cuban restaurants, a new halal food store and a market that carries ingredients for just about every Asian cuisine you can imagine.
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