Vinton welcomes Farmburguesa

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The Farmburguesa “Farm to Fork” restaurant officially opened on July 24 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce. Shown left to right are: Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Angie Chewning, Chamber President Justin Davison, Vinton Councilwoman Sabrina McCarty, Mayor Brad Grose, Councilwoman Janet Scheid, owners Jimmy Delgado, Kat Pascal, and Ashley Overbay, Town Manager Barry Thompson, Gavin Pascal and, in front, Chloe Pascal.

The long-awaited Farmburguesa restaurant opened on July 24 on Pollard Street in downtown Vinton— next door to the Municipal Building and across the street from the Vinton Library.

Owners Jimmy Delgado and fiancée Kat Pascal, and Ashley Overbay and her husband Andres Pascal (the Pascals are siblings) have been renovating the former Angelo’s restaurant location for several months. They had hoped to open in March but experienced several construction delays.

Their goal is to offer healthy “farm to table” food at affordable prices– realizing that oftentimes locally-sourced restaurants are more expensive.

Delgado said, “Good food and good customer service” is their goal from Day One.

The restaurant is small, seating about 13nine at the counter and two tables for two. They plan to add a patio area for dining in the near future.

Their menu is basically burgers and waffle friesbut what an impressive variety of burgers it is. They describe their burgers as “carefully crafted made-to-order burgers featuring tasty local beef.”

Farmburguesa currently offers eight chef’s choice burgers. Overbay says the best sellers so far have been the “Macho Cowboy” (which features two burger patties, Cheddar cheese, onion rings, maple bacon, and BBQ sauce); “the Inferno” (a single patty with pepper-jack cheese, their own diablo sauce, lettuce, onion rings, and a fresh chile mix toreado, plus ranch on the side); and the “Caprese” (a single burger with fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, basil pesto, fresh basil, and olive oil, with a balsamic vinegar glaze). The menu says the “Caprese” is “like visiting Italy without leaving Vinton.”

The other burger offerings include the basic “Farmburguesa”— a double burger with American cheese, lettuce, local tomatoes, grilled onions, pickles, and their signature secret family recipe “pink sauce.” There’s the “Toston” which substitutes tostones (fried plantains) for buns, with a cilantro-lime sauce.

There is even a veggie “Sante Fe” for the vegetarians. The last two burgers on the menu are the “Colombiana” (which represents the owners’ home country— with a burger, mozzarella, bacon, green tomatoes, lettuce, garlic sauce, pineapple sauce, and the secret pink sauce, plus crumbled potato chips) and the “Tres Quesos” which features three cheeses.

Prices for a burger with fries start out at $7.99. The most expensive is $11.99 and well worth the cost— they are gigantic.

A top priority in their “farm to table” concept was purchasing their beef locally. The source they chose was Laurel Springs Beef in Marion— “all natural, farm raised, premium beef fed a 100 percent vegetarian diet and never administered antibiotics, hormones, or steroids. The beef is USDA inspected, minimally processed with no artificial or added ingredients.”

Other food ingredients are “as local as you can get” said Overbay, and even their paper products are produced in the area.

Farmburguesa hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and then 5 to 9 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

Angelo and Elvia Linares, who owned and operated Angelo’s in the Pollard Street location for 30 years, passed away early last year in an automobile accident, leaving a void for the downtown lunch crowd. The Farmburguesa owners plan to honor Angelo’s legacy. While Farmburguesa will be serving a different style of food than Angelo’s, the owners plan to keep the ambiance and warmth with the family and community atmosphere Angelo’s was known for.

Owner Andres Pascal manned the grill for the grand opening of Farmburguesa.

They have kept the original counter— just refinished it. The griddle remains where it has been for 30 years– behind the counter– so that diners can watch their meals being prepared.

Otherwise, the building they are leasing has been completely renovated from electrical to plumbing to ductwork, restrooms, ceilings, and lighting.

“They kept small little pieces of history but with a new approach and feel,” said Justin Davison, president of the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Their eye-catching logo was designed by locally owned Smith Creative and incorporates their vision for Farmburguesa with “farm to table burgers.”

The “Farmburguesa” name is a play on words developed from the Spanish “hamburguesa” for “hamburger.”

Delgado was born in New Jersey. When he was still a preschooler, his family moved to Colombia in South America, then later returned to the United States when he was 17. He attended Patrick Henry High School, lived for a time in Los Angles, spent a year in Raleigh, and then came back to Roanoke to stay.

He has worked in several restaurants with jobs ranging from dishwasher to cook to assistant manager with the dream always of opening his own restaurant.

Delgado and Kat Pascal met through mutual friends. She was born in the Roanoke area to second-generation Colombian immigrants, grew up in Vinton, and attended William Byrd.

In 2011, they decided to open a commercial cleaning business, Spotless America, which they will maintain as their “bread and butter” business. In 2015, Delgado left a job at Wells Fargo to run the cleaning business full time; Pascal joined him in 2016 because business was booming, and he needed her help. Delgado says they are grateful that their success with Spotless America, which now has 30 employees, has given them the flexibility to make their restaurant dream a reality.

Months ago, a friend told Delgado the restaurant space was available in Vinton and he fell in love with it as soon as he saw it.

Kat Pascal says that the Town of Vinton has done everything possible to welcome them to the town and to support their new business venture from their very first contact in getting their business license. They say Vinton is the ideal location for a new business because of that support.

Overbay has found Vinton welcoming as well. She was a participant in this year’s Gauntlet Business Program and Competition sponsored by The Advancement Foundation (just down the street from Farmburguesa), placing on the Silver Level and winning over $2,000 in cash and prizes.

Farmburguesa has had a soft opening over the past couple of weeks during lunchtime hours, to assess the crowds and the menu.

A huge crowd attended the official Vinton Chamber of Commerce “welcome to the community ribbon-cutting” on July 24 with Vinton Mayor Brad Grose, Chamber of Commerce president Justin Davison, Town Manager Barry Thompson, Assistant Town Manager Pete Peters, Chief of Police Tom Foster, former Virginia Delegate Dick Cranwell, Chamber Executive Director Angie Chewning and Executive Assistant Kathryn Sowers, along with representatives from Roanoke County.

“They offer more than just a burger,” said Davison. “They have the family feel, passion, and energy many grew to love about Angelo’s. Plus, the burgers are amazing. This is a small intimate shop, but the burgers speak volumes.”

It was “all-hands-on-deck” for the grand opening, with all the owners manning the grill, taking orders, or putting together the meals, along with Fredy Oviedo, who the owners say is a big part of their business, doing line and cooking prep. They were assisted by family, as well, including 11-year-old Gavin Pascal.

Farmburguesa maintains a Facebook page (@Farmburguesa) with up-do-date news and menus. Take-out is available by calling 540-595-7778.