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ponds and made our own feed pellets. We had a freezer as big as a gym. I went to Lynchburg College and studied business management. While I was there, I cooked duck for my friends, and then introduced them to all the specialties from this area — oysters, clams, crabs. Eventually, it evolved into a party for about 1,200 people. We even had “Duckfest” tee shirts and cups printed. I wrote my senior thesis on how to take the Duckfest on the road, at first to other colleges and then branching out from there.


H&H: How did you choose the name Willaby’s? WB: It came from a children’s book, and it’s sort of a playful abbreviation for my name. It’s as close as I’ll get to naming something for myself.


H&H: What’s your favorite part of the job? WB: Creative food is a favorite with me. We put food first and serve it up in creative ways. I like the ever-evolving list of taps, too. I enjoy that I get to do a little bit of everything, from bartending to handyman duties. It’s just about passion with me.


H&H: Do you have a least favorite part of the job? WB: On the rare occasion when we don’t meet our guests’ expectations, it kills me because my heart’s in this. If we miss the mark in any way, it cuts me deeply.


H&H: Is there anything you would change? WB: Historically, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would do it all


over again. But we’re continually evolving. We try new things. Where I want to go, I go.


H&H: What keeps patrons coming back to Willaby’s time after time? WB: Consistency and creativity keep our guests returning — and the view doesn’t hurt either. We have 28 taps — three of wine, three macro brews, and 22 craft drafts (sixteen of which rotate continuously). Periodically we host beer and food pairings and beer tastings. We use a different craft beer every night for our beer batter.


H&H: What are a few of your signature dishes? WB: Ma’s Oyster Stew has always been a customer favorite, as well as the crab cakes and the crab dip. The Alpine sandwich is a popular lunchtime choice. We make our own croissants and layer them with sliced turkey, Swiss cheese, Granny Smith apple slices and Russian dressing.


H&H: Is there anything new on the horizon at Willaby’s? WB: I’m always thinking. I’m considering brewing our own beer here. It just makes sense.


Barnhardt invites diners to come to Willaby’s Cafe in White


Stone to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, creative food and drink, consistent service and the stunning view. For information, hours of operation, menus and more, visit www.willabys.com or call (804)435-0000. To inquire about catering services, call (800)377-3378 or (804)435-3669. H


The House & Home Magazine


65


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