Brent Finnegan -- January 14th, 2010

Pennybackers HarrisonburgA new sandwich shop, Pennybackers, opened on Water Street in downtown Harrisonburg last week.

Most items on their menu are “lunchy” things like salads and sandwiches under $8. If you’ve visited, share your thoughts below.

Why “Pennybackers?” Their menu says:

This building at 14 East Water Street dates back to the 1850s and has historically been a carriage house or a pub . . . One of the early owners was a man named Derrick Pennybacker, and the building is known as the Pennybacker Building.

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24 Responses to “Pennybackers”

  1. Can you actually read that menu? I can’t.

  2. Drew Richard says:

    Went there for lunch on Monday. A little nicer than what I was expecting. At least for me it’s not a place I’ll be going regularly for lunch, but I’ll probably stop by if I need a light dinner. Had the chicken backer and it was really good.

  3. Renee says:

    If they come up with some sort of deal that’s a small sandwich and a drink for around $6, I’d eat there often since they’re near my office.

    As is, they’ll be an occasional lunch spot for me. I can’t justify spending $10 on lunch regularly, which is why I don’t eat at ODCC more often.

    Having said that, I can’t wait to try it! I love all these new restaurant choices downtown!

  4. Nancy says:

    Old Dominion Coffee Company (I had to think about that one for a minute)

  5. Emmy says:

    I need to go try them out. I can’t justify ever eating at ODCC because they are so incredibly rude in there. I’ve never had a pleasant experience going in there. I agree a nice $6 lunch would make them a good lunch choice for a lot of people downtown.

  6. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    We went there the other afternoon and the staff was effusively friendly and eager to please. I like that they serve tater tots with their sandwiches. I had a “Farmer Brown” and enjoyed it greatly. It seems they did a lot of research into local history to name their items, which I thought was a nice touch. I wonder how many local ingredients they use?

    Also, my wife and I agree that putting pennies under the glass tabletops is a bit too literal.

  7. Jenni says:

    I haven’t been to the restaurant myself but I’d heard that the tabletops had been purchased from the Harrisonburg Childrens’ Museum? I *think* that they’d been a project the kid’s had done and have now found a new home at Pennybackers… someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong :)

  8. Tom says:

    I have been a regular at the ODCC for over 2 years and I have never found the staff rude.

  9. Justin C says:

    My wife and I got lunch at Pennybackers the other day. They did a fantastic job with the inside of the building and I liked the tabletops.

    We both really enjoyed the food. I would echo what a lot of people have said. If lunch was $6 or less I would be much more regular. As it stands, I’ll definitely hop in every so often.

  10. Nancy,

    Thanks for clearing up “ODCC.” I had not been in there for some time but was in there twice recently (they were one of the few places open downtown during the worst of the big snowstorm, will give them that). They were not rude, but I would say that the service left something to be desired.

    Have not been to Pennybacker’s yet, but wish them the best, especially with the loss of Midtowne Market.

  11. Sarah Rose-Silva says:

    ODCC will be closing January 18th according to a sign on the door.

  12. Renee says:

    Yeah sorry, I was lazy about typing it out :)

    Re: Sarah – oh, really? interesting.

  13. Nancy says:

    Hmm, I recently got a cup of coffee at ODCC and the server went out of her way to come around the counter and hand it to me while I was perusing the bulletin board. I thought that was really nice.

    Can’t say I’m too surprised they are closing. Their food was expensive and we already have a coffee shop—the Artful Dodger!

  14. Andy Perrine says:

    Pennybacker’s is terrific. All sandwiches are served with tater tots. My wife and I ate there Thursday and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask her if she wanted the rest of her tots.

  15. Josh says:

    Haha, I’m with Andy. Yes, terrific! I ate there and had the “Pennybacker” sandwich, tots, water and with tip it was just over $10.

    A little pricier than I like to spend for lunch* but it was a really good sandwich. One of the best I’ve had in Harrisonburg.

    *I’m quickly learning my ~$6 Hburg non-fast food lunch fantasy is, well, a fantasy.

  16. Renee says:

    Yeah I feel the same way about dreaming of a $6 lunch, Josh. With downtown locally-owned prices and our restaurant tax, I don’t think we’ll be getting a filling $6 lunch anywhere :(

    When I just want something small, I tend to get soup with a roll at Shank’s bakery and drink water I brought to the office. I was excited about the idea of a sandwich shop downtown, but like I said earlier, Pennybackers will just be an occasional lunch treat if I have to spend $10.

    (Hint: Pennybackers people – create a small sandwich and a small drink lunch special for around $6 and I think you’ll sell a lot of them!)

  17. Annie Layne says:

    The food quite nice, but I had to wait 45 minutes for soup and half a sandwich… they still may need some practice at the downtown lunch rush. I’ll probably be back though, its cozy and tasty.

  18. Alison says:

    Had a nice dinner there last night. The service was the friendliest I’ve experienced anywhere in recent memory. I thought the upstairs was a little dimly-lit but it did contribute to the “tavern experience.” They have daily happy hour specials and also a Valentine’s Day special coming up.

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