You may have heard about the double decker bus planted right in the middle of Marshall, Virginia. Johnny Monarch’s is a “bustaurant” with inviting outdoor seating complete with fire pits as well as cozy, warm indoor dining on the upper deck. Marshall, which has slowly become a leading food destination in northern Virginian hunt country, is the perfect setting for an eatery like Johnny Monarch’s.
A joint venture, launched nearly a year ago by Brian Lichorowic and Lorrie Addison, Johnny Monarch’s is located in a custom-designed park setting at its permanent location at 8374 West Main Street. Brian and Lorrie’s goal from the beginning was to become a destination for tourists as well as day trippers, senior groups, equestrians, cyclists, wine tourists and motorcyclists alike.
A native of upstate New York, Brian was raised by generations of restaurateurs, including his great-grandparents, who emigrated from Krakow, Poland where they ran an inn. Living in Middleburg for the better part of 20 years, and after retiring from a successful career in technology, Brian met Lorrie and they began dating. Lorrie, a national award-winning kitchen designer, quickly became a fan of Brian’s cooking and learned about his family restaurant history through listening to stories and tasting timeless dishes. Equipped with experience that runs through his veins—not to mention some amazing recipes from both of their families—Brian and Lorrie decided to launch a food business of their own.
Seeking something idiosyncratic and fun, they opted for a bus instead of a physical building in which to share their food. When an online search revealed a British double-decker bus located in Krakow, the couple knew it was a sign and had it shipped to Virginia! Suffering significant damages in its trans-Atlantic journey it took nearly nine months to complete repairs and modifications. After getting approved by the town, county and state, Johnny Monarch’s opened for business.
“The majority of ingredients come from premium local and regional suppliers like Ayrshire Farm and Fauquier Finest meats.”
The retail menu is a mixture of simple comfort foods: meatloaf, World’s Fair sausage sandwich and hearty non-meat entrees. It also features Hungry Hunter Nut Loaf and award-wining tomato pie. The majority of ingredients come from premium local and regional suppliers like Ayrshire Farm and Fauquier Finest meats. All raw ingredients for Johnny Monarch’s are purchased in primal form to reduce costs, and whenever possible, they purchase organically grown products. Emphasis is placed on one-platter meals and sandwiches with healthy sides. A walk-up counter offers refreshments, Johnny Mondarch’s labeled coffee, fresh juices and local in-town food delivery.
A unique thing about Johnny Monarch’s menu could be what is “not” being served. There is nothing fried and no commercial bags of chips or soft drinks. The menu offers two distinct types of cuisine. One can be viewed as “gourmet truck driver” fare and the other cuisine is touted as “energy-packed Olympian.” Some of these recipes are sourced from the US Olympic Training table menus and provide our customers dishes with the highest level of nutrition available locally. Johnny Monarch’s will go to great lengths to satisfy both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
To keep food costs down, Johnny Monarch’s utilizes its own hydroponics greenhouses to grow over 50 percent of its vegetables and herbs reducing its food cost while significantly increasing its food quality. Their goal is to increase that to 75 percent over the next 12 months.
Johnny Monarch’s is open every day except Monday and is always featuring new items and unique specials.
Follow Johnny Monarch on Facebook or their website at www.johnnymonar.ch.
Article and photographs courtesy of Johnny Monarch’s