Bison or Beef?

Horseshoe Restaurant, South Hill

The Horseshoe was originally built in the 1930s and served as a blacksmith shop for farmers bringing their tobacco crop to the warehouses scattered around South Hill. It was turned into an eatery in 1937, and has been a popular spot ever since. Scott Rogers, who bought the Horseshoe last year, says, “It’s always been a dream of mine to own a place like this; I have a passion for small diners.”

There is a story that the gangster known as Machine Gun Kelly was re-arrested at the Horseshoe in 1940 by South Hill’s sole policeman after escaping from prison in North Carolina. But the tale is apocryphal: the real Machine Gun Kelly was in Alcatraz at the time. It was actually a man named Roy Kelly who liked to refer to himself as the Second Machine Gun Kelly, who was arrested.

Customers nowadays have a fondness for the eatery’s burgers, says Rogers. You can get them piled high with the Horseshoe’s signature pimento cheese and onion rings. A fried pickle on the plate rounds out the Southern experience. Also on the menu are fried green tomato BLTs (slathered with pimento cheese, why not?) and something a little more unusual—bison and elk burgers. “We try to be creative,” explains Rogers, “we’re doing the same things the Horseshoe always has, but with flair.” One of the things that has made the joint so appealing for 75 years is its cast of regulars. Says Rogers, chuckling: “It wouldn’t be a good ‘ole diner if we didn’t have our share of characters!”

311 W. Danville Street (Route 1), 434-447-7781

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