Dining January 16, 2016
These 10 Places Serve The Best Ham In Virginia
If we were to ask you which foods you associate with Virginia, you might mention oysters, Chesapeake blue crabs and apples. But the one thing you are almost guaranteed to answer is HAM. Whether it’s the general category of country ham, the more specific Virginia ham or the one-and-only Smithfield brand, ham is one of the things that Virginians do best.
But now, if we were to ask you who makes the best ham in the state, you might point to your mother, your grandfather or even yourself. And that’s because a properly cooked ham is a badge of honor here in Virginia. But, if like me, you haven’t quite mastered the art (but still get those salty cravings), then here are ten spots in Virginia, from fine dining to specialty grocers, where you can get some of the state’s best ham.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Edward’s Virginia Ham Shoppe, Surry and Williamsburg
This premier purveyor of all things ham was one of the Virginia’s best kept secrets – until being noticed by the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Saveur Magazine and just about every other gourmet food publication out there. For three generations, the Edwards family has been curing their own special brand of country ham, resulting in award-winners like their Wigwam and Surryano ham. Visit their retail shops in Surry and Williamsburg for fresh made sandwiches, hams to go and their famous ham and sweet potato biscuits or shop online at
Edwards Virginia Ham
2. The Homeplace, Catawba
The Homeplace Restaurant is what legends are made of. Set in the beautiful Catawba Valley, the only thing better than the views at this home style restaurant is the food. All meats and sides are served family-style with your choice of two or three meats, the only options being fried chicken, roast beef and country ham. And the ham…oh, the ham. Served with unlimited sides that include mashed potatoes, pinto beans, green beans, cole slaw, corn, baked apples and flaky biscuits, you’re only complaint will be that you can only eat so much at one sitting. Visit them at 4968 Catawba Valley Drive.
3. Padow’s Hams and Deli, Richmond (and surrounding areas)
If you love Smithfield ham, but can’t make it to Smithfield, then Padow’s is the next best thing. With five locations between Innsbrook, Richmond and south of the James, Padow’s offers a deli menu, box lunches and catering at all of their locations, with an extra dinner option at Innsbrook. Featuring whole and portion Smithfield hams to-go, as well as their own signature Padow’s brand country ham, Padow’s is a one-stop shop. See a complete list of locations, menu options and ham selections at
Padow’s Hams & Deli
4. The Roanoker Restaurant, Roanoke
The Roanoker Restaurant has been a local favorite for nearly 75 years. With a breakfast that earned them a spot in Southern Living Magazine’s "5 Best Places in Virginia to Eat Breakfast,” what has gained them true fame is their Virginia ham biscuits. Featured on both the “Today Show" and in Southern Living’s “Off the Eaten Path” cookbook, their biscuits are made that much better with perfectly salted, thin-sliced Virginia ham. Try them for yourself at The Roanoker, located at 2522 Colonial Avenue in Roanoke.
5. Virginia Diner, Wakefield
Although Wakefield is called “The Peanut Capital of the World,” the Virginia Diner has been serving up delicious Virginia ham alongside their peanuts for more than 85 years. You can choose from ham steaks, ham biscuits, ham sandwiches, ham and grilled cheese and even the Virginia Diner’s signature burger, The Rail Car, topped with topped with Swiss cheese, hickory smoked bacon and, of course, Virginia ham. If you’ve never been to the Virginia Diner, it’s a rite of passage you won’t want to miss. Find them at 408 County Drive North in Wakefield.
6. Smithfield Gourmet Bakery and Café, Smithfield
If Wakefield is the peanut capital, then Smithfield is the undisputed ham capital. As the birthplace of world-famous Smithfield hams, you can count on these delicious, salty slices of goodness to be on most menus in the area. True-to-form, Smithfield Gourmet Bakery and Café serves up breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner specialties with a little bit of hammy magic worked into many of their signature dishes. From sandwiches to sides to breakfast specialties, satisfy your ham cravings at this local favorite. Visit them at 218 Main Street in Smithfield.
7. Old Chickahominy House, Williamsburg
For authentic Southern cooking at its finest, the Old Chickahominy House is the place to go. You’ll feel like you’re at your grandmother’s table with their signature “Plantation Breakfast” that includes “Old Virginia Ham,” eggs, country bacon, grits and freshly baked biscuits. Located in a former residence for an extra-homey feel, the Old Chickahominy House can be found at 1211 Jamestown Road in Williamsburg.
8. Kite’s Hams, Wolftown (Madison County)
When Jim Kite stopped playing professional baseball, he didn’t head to Disneyland. Rather he headed home to Madison County to cure hams using his father’s secret family recipe. With a time-honored process, Kite’s hams come out perfectly salty, juicy and with a special flavor all their own. Buy them online at
Kite’s Country Hams
or stop by their retail location in Wolftown at 3957 Wolftown-Hood Road. Kite’s Happy Ham biscuits are also available at other retailers like Yoder’s Country Market, located at 2105 S Seminole Trail in Madison.
9. Calhoun’s Ham House & Country Deli, Culpeper and the Alexandria Farmer’s Market
Stop by Calhoun’s quaint storefront in downtown Culpeper and it won’t take long to see why Tom Calhoun is known as the “ham man” – or why his ham biscuits were rated “#1 in the South” by Unlimited-Action Outdoor Magazine. Recognized on the cover of Saveur Magazine and in publications like the Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine, Calhoun’s has become a favorite in Virginia and beyond. Visit them at 219 South East Street in Culpeper or at the Old Towne Alexandria Farmer’s Market.
10. Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery, Richmond
With biscuits made fresh daily, this little shop in Richmond makes a melt-in-your mouth ham biscuit with locally sourced, Virginia-cured ham. And of course, where this is ham there is bacon. Be sure to try their bacon cheddar biscuit shown here. Featuring homemade jams and daily specials, you can find Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery at 5411 Lakeside Avenue in Richmond’s north side.
Of course, when it comes to fine Virginia ham, this list barely begins to tell of all the amazing places that are out there. So we’d like to hear your additions. Where’s your favorite place to get Virginia’s signature meat? Let us know in the comments below!