You love when friends come to visit you at JMU, but sometimes showing off your native collegiate habitat to outsiders gets stressful. As if housing their asses and dragging them around weren’t enough, they also expect you to feed them(?!).
Not to mention, everyone’s different. How can you be sure you’re giving your homies the taste of the ‘Burg they actually want? We’ve got you covered with the ultimate guide to off-campus options so you and your buds can comfortably enjoy a hearty helping of Harrisonburg’s character.
1. The Loud Friend: Jack Brown’s
We all have one. Fortunately, Jack Brown’s is the ultimate hole-in-the-wall haven where they’ll fit right in. It’s usually packed (because of its dank burgers, beer selection, and addictive signature sauce), or even better, enjoy outdoor seating, where your friend can enjoy downtown Harrisonburg at the top of their lungs.
2. The Low-Maintenance Friend: El Charro
Doesn’t take much effort for a good time with this amigo; they’re down for anything. El Charro is the place to go for Tex Mex with a little character for a little price. You two can choose from the $8.50 dinner combo options (cheaper than a Chipotle steak bowl) and live la vida loca for less moola.
3. The Hot Mess: Benny’s
Time to strategize. What is the best way to handle the friend with 0% of their sh*t together? Benny Sorrentino’s is your answer.
Whether you need a nice, carby pre-pregame meal so they’re not too sloppy later, or need to satisfy their monstrous case of drunchies at 2 am, these torso-sized pizza slices will do the trick. Best part is, they’re $4, so spotting your pal because they forgot their wallet, fortunately, won’t break yours.
4. The Posh Friend: Jimmy Madison’s
Whether it’s a special occasion, or your friend is just a snob, Jimmy Madison’s “southern kitchen and bourbon bar” is a nice swanky spot for the two of you, complete with cloth napkins. With most dinner options going for under $20, it’s the perfect place for a #special night.
5. The Health Nut: PULP
Knock your friend’s Fitbit off with this hidden gem of downtown Harryburg. PULP is located inside the Shenandoah Bicycle Company on South Main St. and specializes in acaî bowls blended with all-organic ingredients. A stop here means satisfying your friend’s nutritional concerns without sacrificing any deliciousness.
6. The Forced Acquaintance: O’Neill’s
Who knows how you ended up here—you could be showing around a future Duke you barely knew in high school, or a new member of the club you’re in…all you know is, you have to get through a meal with them. Our advice: head to O’Neill’s and order a cookie skillet with two spoons. Instant bond.
7. The Social Media Freak: Kline’s
Got a friend who will never touch their food without snapping a pic first? Take them to Harrisonburg’s most Instagram-able ice cream stand (click here for proof). Not only are ice cream cones delicious, but eating them is a one-handed deal, so the other is still available to tweet, text, post, and beyond.
8. The Significant Other: Bella Luna
Bae’s coming to town. Bella Luna’s cozy, but sophisticated atmosphere works for any couple, from 5-year anniversary to not-labeling-it-right-now. You each can enjoy your own personal, no-commitment pizza, or split one (if you’re on that level).
Dim lighting means romance (or at least higher chance of looking good), and its close proximity to the bars means you’re only a block or two away from drinking your nerves away.
9. The Hungover Friend: Mr. J’s
Be the ultimate hero the morning after you two lose the painful battle to Mr. José Cuervo and head over to Mr. J’s Bagels and Deli for a dank hangover cure. With the help of one of J’s breakfast sandwiches, you can fully recharge for another night of shenanigans.