A new eatery opens in historic Millwood
By Claire Stuart
What do you picture when you hear the word “buttery?” A rich confection? A building on a farm where butter is made or kept? Actually, in the middle ages it was a storeroom under a monastery where food and drink were kept to provision guests and passing travelers, and liquor was stored in barrels or “butts.” Many
colleges, particularly in
the United Kingdom, call their eating places butteries.
The Buttery is the name of a new eatery in Millwood next door to Locke Store in the historic log building built in 1804 as a storehouse for the workers of Burwell-Morgan Mill.
Locke Store was built in 1836 and has been in continuous operation ever since, although for most of its life it was a simple country grocery. Its metamorphosis began in 2002 when it was purchased by Juliet Mackay-Smith, then a caterer with a passion for natural, locally-grown food. She had planned to operate the store as a sideline to off-site catering. The store grew as she added the deli with pickup lunches and dinners, baked goods and a huge selection of wines, ciders and craft beers, with complementary tastings on weekends. The “modern country” store with its fresh, natural and sustainably-produced food soon became a destination.
Shauna and Brian Volmrich recently joined Mackay-Smith as partners, and launched The Buttery. The Volmriches come to the business with extensive backgrounds in the hospitality industry, he as a chef and she as an innkeeper. To see Brian in tee shirt and baseball cap, you might assume he is a local farmer (which he is), but appearances can be deceiving. He is a chef with years of experience in high-end restaurants, including L’Auberge Provencale in Boyce and the multi-award-winning Inn at Little Washington.
With The Buttery, Shauna and Brian are following their dream. They are committed to serving the finest, freshest foods from local farms. They are proud to tell you where the food comes from, and their menus feature the names of their farmer suppliers. On this particular day, Brian was awaiting a delivery of beef from nearby Audley Farm. The Volmriches themselves have 26 acres in Rappahannock County where they raise chickens and bees (along with two children and pets, including a bearded dragon), and they plan to grow lettuce and other produce to serve the restaurant.
“We source local as much as possible,” Shauna reports.
The store and restaurant are separate, but most of the staff is shared by the two businesses as needed. Adam Steudler is head chef for the restaurant and Ellie McMillen is head chef for the store. The Buttery’s menu is small and changes with the seasons and availability of
“I like to do a few things and do them well,” Brian declares, putting in a plug for his own popovers with local honey.
The menus for the store and the restaurant are different. “But,” says Brian, “one carryover from the deli is the chicken pot pie. We try to cross-utilize food, such as our cheese boards. If you like a particular cheese on our board, you can get it from the deli.”
“The menu is not meant to feature full dinners,” says Shauna. “This is a place where people can relax and share plates in a
communal space. “
Highlighting the menu are boards meant to be shared: the Creamery Board with artisan cheeses, the Pasture Board with cured meats , and the Sea Board with cured and smoked fish.
There is no full bar, but fine wines, craft beer and cider are served. A limited number of cocktails are available, including Bloody Marys and Mimosas for brunch. There are special seasonal cocktails, some made with local rum, local bitters and other local ingredients. Condiments used in the cocktails are on hand in the store.
Presently The Buttery is open Thursdays and Fridays for dinner and Sunday for brunch. “We want to expand to luncheons for private parties and corporate events,” says Brian. “We’re even looking at cooking classes and off-property
“Brian goes to homes and does private curated dinners,” adds Shauna.
Remaining weekdays and Saturdays are reserved for The Buttery’s own events such as wine or beer pairing dinners or may be rented out. Private gatherings may buy lunch from the store to eat inside or on the patio or can be catered.
The Buttery’s atmosphere is warm and comfortable, with exposed log walls, a welcoming fireplace and communal tables hewn from local barn wood. The restaurant seats about 40 and the new patio up to about 50. For hardy souls who love to eat outdoors even in cold weather, heaters will allow the patio to stay open most of the year, and folks can gather around the huge fire table where Brian even envisions making s’mores. The patio is available for all Locke Store customers outside of the restaurant’s hours.
Thursdays and Fridays 5–9pm
Sunday brunch 10am–2pm