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Comfort food brings back good, stress-free memories

Whether it’s a hot bowl of soup, a grilled cheese sandwich, a piece of fried chicken, or a slice of meatloaf, most people like to indulge in their favorite comfort foods every now and then.

Comfort foods are about “personal feeling,” says Dan Kennedy, owner of Old Chickahominy House on Jamestown Road. “They are feel good foods. They make your day better. One person’s comfort food is not the same as another’s.”

Old Chickahominy House serves up dishes such as country ham and biscuits, pancakes, Brunswick stew, chicken soup, chicken and dumplings as well as pies. The menu has not changed since the restaurant first opened decades ago, which Kennedy feels is a draw for the establishment.

“Customers come because it reminds them of family times here,” he says. “They come because their mothers or their grandmothers brought them here. That’s where the comfort comes in for our customers. Comfort foods bring back memories. For me, it can be as something as simple as an egg salad sandwich or American chopped suey. They are simple dishes that bring us back to simpler times in our lives.”

Ania Prochowska, a manager at Food for Thought on Richmond Road, agrees.

“Comfort food should make you happy,” she says. “It should bring back your best childhood memories, make you think about your mother making a meal, the smell of her kitchen, the song she always sings while she is cooking,” Prochowska says. “It should take your worries away, at least for the time being.”

Classic comfort food dishes on the menu at Food for Thought include shrimp and grits, pot roast, meatloaf, ribs, and chili. Meanwhile, Corey’s Country Kitchen, which has two locations in Williamsburg, specializes in traditional Southern soul food. Options at Corey’s Country Kitchen include steak, fried chicken, fried fish or fried pork, liver, macaroni, okra, cabbage and collard greens.

Carrot Tree Kitchen on Jamestown Road offers lunch specials like honey roasted turkey sandwiches, tuna melts, BLTs, brisket, and BBQ.

“A good comfort food will take you out of the present and remind you of happy times, safe times, stress free times,” says Debi Helseth, owner of Carrot Tree. “Comfort food doesn’t judge, it lets you be yourself, and leaves you the better for it. Regarding customers, one of our greatest joys is when a customer tells us the food reminds them of home.”

Want to start off your day with your favorite comfort food? Head on over to Honey Butter’s Kitchen on Monticello Avenue. Honey Butter’s serves classic American-Southern cuisine. For breakfast, you can enjoy your eggs with fried catfish, fried chicken liver, or enjoy pancakes, French toast, or corn cakes.

Comfort foods can really be savored any time of day as well as any time of year.

“It just depends on your level of comfort,” says Kennedy. “You can enjoy a hearty stew when it is cold outside or a good grilled hamburger with some homemade potato salad in the summertime. All that matters is how it makes you feel when you eat it.”

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