Nestled just twenty minutes from Regent University’s campus, Anderson’s Garden Center boasts a unique greenhouse-to-table experience at their in-house restaurant Sage Kitchen. The center also features mini-golf, a small ice-skating rink, an event space and shopping for those who are interested after or before the meal.
When visiting Anderson’s upon a friend’s recommendation, I was surprised to find much more than a small garden center and restaurant. Upon entering the well-marketed entryway, a small southern-style boutique is to the right. Immediately behind it, Sage Kitchen sits in the back right corner of the expansive garden center. Muted green and plum-toned decor welcomes guests to order and find a seat. Indoor seating offers booths and tables with natural lighting, and the divider walls feature beach-themed murals. A sliding door opens to an outdoor greenhouse-style pavilion for additional seating immersed in well-tended flora, adjacent to their shoppable greenhouse. Beyond the outdoor seating, a patio features a small bar and event space in front of the mini-golf course and playground.
The menu reveals the same intentionality. They strive to release bi-annual menu updates to feature in-season harvests. Emphasizing their greenhouse-to-table cuisine, their menu reveals that they “proudly offer fresh seasonal produce and meat from local farmers whenever possible.” The most significant evidence of this was the fresh herbs discernible in each dish.
I ordered the Traeger Meister Sandwich upon employee recommendation, and another member of my party requested the Chicken Pot Pie. Both were uniquely crafted for well-blended flavors. My sandwich featured house-smoked turkey, bacon, smoked gouda, coleslaw, and sun-dried tomatoes with chipotle mayo on two slices of brioche toast. I was not disappointed, especially appreciating how the sun-dried tomatoes softly accented the chipotle flavor and creamy mayonnaise-based coleslaw. The pot pie was just as distinguishable, with the filling served in a cast-iron skillet and topped with a biscuit-style crust. Even Sage Kitchen’s french fries featured herb pairings unique to their menu. The two-page menu offers something for all tastes.
The remainder of the store highlighted traditional garden center and home improvement supplies. From a wall of color-coded planters to a line of grills, their indoor selection leaves no customer wanting. Their expansive two-room greenhouse offered every color peony, along with household greenery, fruit trees and fresh potted herbs.
Regent undergraduate senior and student employee Julie Gephardt is just one resident who would recommend a visit: “Anderson’s plant nursery is top notch. All their plants look healthy and happy!” This third-generation local gem makes an excellent weekend activity in any season.