Downtown restaurant: Taste of the past

Market at Main offers visitors an extensive menu in a classic venue that dates back to the 1900s

Since its opening in 2010, Market at Main has thrived in downtown Lynchburg by offering its visitors a unique dining experience.

A downtown landmark — Market at Main, which used to be a Woolworth’s in the 1900s, is now designed to look like an old school drugstore and provides diners with a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Photo credit: Alyssa Bockman

The restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, was designed to look like an old drugstore lunch counter from the 20th century and has become known for its lunch counter.

Rodney Taylor, the manager of Market at Main, said the restaurant used to be a Woolworth’s in the 1900s era, and that is where Taylor said the vision to have a lunch counter in the restaurant came from.

“When working on the design of the restaurant and the lunch counter, I found a photo of a lunch counter in Philadelphia which featured paddle fans above the counter,” Taylor said. “I decided I wanted to install the same type of paddle fans to give the desired effect.”

The restaurant’s floors and tables were also inspired by the old lunch counters from decades past and, according to Taylor, all the wood used was purchased from an old tobacco shop.

“I think that Market at Main is the indicator for a brilliant comeback for downtown Lynchburg,” Taylor said. “Since I’ve been here I have seen more and more shops opening up downtown, and more tourists as well.”

According to Taylor, he takes great pride in the success of the restaurant and its 31 employees, six of which are Liberty University students and graduates, who help to make it run smoothly.

Waitress Kim Buhler is an example of the type of customer service that Market at Main’s employees strive to offer, said Taylor.

“When a customer complained that she did not have the right shoes on to go walking downtown, Buhler gave her a pair of her own shoes,” Taylor said. “She later found out the customer she helped was with a tourist scout group and was honored by her generosity.”

“You always want every employee to give great customer service, so when that actually happens, you know you have the right team of people,” Taylor said.

Several Liberty University students have visited the restaurant and have had consistently good experiences. Senior Joy Koger is one of them.

“One time I went to Market at Main for some public relations work and I noticed immediately how relaxing and inviting the atmosphere was,” Koger said. “The food (price) is also very reasonable.”

The restaurant recently expanded its menu to include dinner and has also started serving breakfast items on Sundays until 3 p.m., which Taylor said really seems to draw in the after church crowd and the Sunday “brunchers.”

“We want people in the community to be aware that we serve dinner now, and we are in the process of bringing more and more lunch specialties over to the dinner menu for our customers to enjoy,” Taylor said.

The restaurant also has a unique convenience store section. Half of the restaurant is dedicated to selling products such as chips, drinks, toiletries and gift items. There is also a variety of handmade goods, like jewelry and art made by local residents, available.

Market at Main is located on 904 Main St. and is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Carry out options are also available. For more information about the restaurant, call (434) 847-9040 or visit Market at Main on Facebook.

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