I have offered a few fire station recipes, but I have never done a restaurant review in my column. There are many good restaurants...

I have offered a few fire station recipes, but I have never done a restaurant review in my column. There are many good restaurants across this land, and I especially like to go to the places that all the locals go, wherever I am. Today was a different experience from the moment that we drove into the parking lot. I am talking about Mission Barbecue, located at Broad and Glenside. The parking lot was adorned with the flying U.S. flag. There was also something that I have not seen in any other parking lot, and that was a “Veterans Only” parking space. I was sold on this place before I walked in.

Once we sat down, we were greeted by a member of the staff who asked if we needed help. She saw that the veteran who was with me was disabled, and she offered to help, after we ordered. Every staff member that we encountered was extremely friendly. The food was excellent. I really did not have any expectations, other than looking for a good lunch; we got so much more. I felt like I had walked into a place that was serious about honoring public safety personnel, active duty military, and veterans. The feel of this place was different, so different that it made me look at the items and pictures that adorned the walls. Again, everything seemed to point to a respect and admiration for those who wear, or once wore, the uniform.

I do not know if we were talking to the manager or just another nice employee, but she invited us to a special Veterans Day at their restaurant. If I heard her right, there will be someone there singing the national anthem that day. She was also telling us how they had tried to honor our Virginia State Police officers, considering those who had recently made the ultimate sacrifice. This was not the conversation that I am accustomed to having with the staff in a restaurant.

This may be my first and last restaurant review, but it was an experience worth mentioning. My meal tasted great, but the customer service was truly the best that I have experienced in a long time. I was with a proud, retired veteran who is battling stage 4 cancer. Walking into Mission Barbecue was an uplifting experience for both of us. I sincerely believe that this is the norm rather than the exception. I like good barbecue, and I have been missing Sibley’s ever since the fire that gutted the restaurant. I was at Ralph’s in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. last week. Mission Barbecue (Glenside and Broad) has hit the top of my list for whenever I am in the West End, or even when I am not. Thanks for a great dining experience!