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Woman of the “Opry” Victoria Phillippe

It’s Beautiful ~ Night and Day!

by joe deyoung

Up until the mid-1960’s, if a woman wanted a Chili Dog from The Recreation Center, she had to get a man to go inside and place her order. He would bring it out to her to eat outside or in her car; women were not allowed inside. The Recreation Center was exclusively for men, with a pool hall in the back and some would say, a Book Maker’s haunt up front near the phone booth and the wall that separated the pool hall from the bar area. Over the years, since 1940, when the building was first occupied as The Recreation Center, it has maintained a reputation for having the World’s Best Chili Dog, a reputation that still stands and is well founded. The chili recipe is secret, so don’t even ask if you can have it. If you’ve walked by and were reluctant to go inside, Victoria only asks that you don’t judge this book by its cover. Stop in, have one, and judge for yourself. Over time things evolved, gradually women were allowed to come in

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June 2013


The Soup & Taco, Etc. 813 Caroline St. Fredericksburg, VA

and place a take out order, then come in sit down and eat inside. However, some restrictions remained until the late 1980s. If you wanted to drink a beer and play pool, you had to leave your open beer in the bar area, you could not take it back into the pool hall. Victoria In 1989, Phillippe came to Fredericksburg and became the Co-owner of The Rec Center and soon after became its sole owner. Her goal has always been to maintain the history, the basic architecture, and the feel of the original establishment, while offering the city of Fredericksburg a place to enjoy local musicians, good food and friendly service. When you go in, step up to the bar and place your order. While you wait for one of the girls to get your order ready, take a look around the place, pay particular attention to the décor, notice the two Soap Box Derby cars, the Washington Redskins memorabilia and the sign behind the bar letting everyone know who has been banned from the establishment. What you see is essentially what people have seen since 1940, with two exceptions: Victoria has removed the wall that divided the pool hall from the bar and expanded the bar area, moving the three booths on the left side over to the wall. Come to town any First Friday and visit The Recreation Center, also known as the “The Hot Dog Opry.” You will find the place packed with music fans of all ages who came to listen, share the past and present with friends and family, and sit around the tables that look like pool balls. Victoria made them, using butcher-block rounds; hand painted and lacquered to a hard shine. You will also see Victoria serving tables, making French fries, changing out beer kegs, fixing those famous chili dogs, or working the room with all the regulars and every newcomer. What you may not notice right away, but something that speaks volumes about The Recreation Center, Fredericksburg, and this country, is that the business is owned and operated only by women these days. Thankfully, Victoria and her crew do not restrict men from entering — everyone is welcome! Joe DeYoung can eat a chilidog with the best of them. He is still working on his pool skills.

Front porch fredericksburg

Will Power Where Can’t it go? by will loring

Serving Traditional Mexican, Tex-Mex Food and Something More!! Tuesday to Saturday 11am-9pm Sunday 11am-6pm

Phone: 540-899-0969 E-mail:

Home of great Food & great Art! 720 Littlepage


The General Store


Since 1978

Italian/American Food Monday-Saturday 11 am-10 pm

371-4075 2018 College Ave. Fredericksburg

The Natural Path Holistic Health Center

~Nature’s Sunshine Products ~ Biological Terrain Assessment ~VoiceBio Analysis ~Aura Photography ~Body Cleanse Foot Detox We Carry Home Brewing Supplies ! Barbara Bergquist, CTN Board Certified Traditional Naturopath


4413 Lafayette Blvd. Fredericksburg

When it comes to craft beer, there is still a very strong sentiment among some of the older generation that anything in a can is bad. Now, if you were drinking a canned beer in the 70’s, it was probably terrible. But the technology that is utilized today makes cans a far superior option for many beers. Here are some myths (and their solutions) that have hindered the adoption of cans among some. Cans have a metallic taste. While that may have been true decades ago, the use of polymer linings ensure that the beer never touches the metal. There are even different types of polymer liners depending on the style of beer in the can. Cans can have a “skunked” taste to them. Well, as long as you’re not waiting a year to drink that Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA, skunking isn’t a problem when in a can because no light gets in. That skunked taste comes from oxidization of the beer when it has been in contact with light for a period of time. If a beer is in a clear glass or green bottle, it’s not keeping that much light out. (Looking at you Corona and Heineken!) If it’s in a can, it means it’s not that good of a beer. False on all fronts! Here is a brief list of awesome breweries that can: Founders, The Alchemist, Sixpoint, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Cigar City, Surly, Hardywood Park, Wild Wolf, Center of the Universe, Lost Rhino and Devils Backbone. When New Belgium began canning its flagship Fat Tire amber ale a few years ago, many were weary to try it, only knowing it out of a brown bottle. Well, in a side-by-side comparison most chose it out of a can.

The reason being that New Belgium can conditions the beer by adding a bit of live yeast to take up space (instead of oxygen) and prevent stale flavors that can develop. Now you may have noticed that the last five breweries in the previous list were all from Virginia! Lost Rhino just had their canning line put in (Loudon County distribution for now, with expansion in the near future). The other four are using a new mobile canning company out of Richmond; Old Dominion Mobile Canning. If that wasn’t enough, The Boston Beer Co, makers of Sam Adams, just introduced their flagship Boston Lager and their popular seasonal Summer Ale in cans. Why is this such a big deal? Because in 2004 they announced that “Beer shall be offered in bottles, not cans, so that no brew is jeopardized with the taste of metal.” So, 9 years later, they have changed their minds, thanks to the many technological improvements over time. Oh, and the one million dollars they spent on designing the can. But don’t fret, there is a pretty cool upside to all of that money spent. Any craft brewer (defined as such by the Brewers Association) can now use this proprietary design for free. So, next time your standing in front of the beer cooler trying to decide which crafted liquid to consume, don’t shy away from those infinitely recyclable cans, because they may just hold your new favorite brew!

Will Loring is the resident beer nerd at Olde Towne Butcher and assistant operator of the 909 Beer Club. Cheers!

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June 2013


June 2013 - Front Porch Fredericksburg  

"Sweet 16" Issue, celebrating 16 years of local good news. About the cover: Betsy Glassie has donated her June cover painting to our Silent...

June 2013 - Front Porch Fredericksburg  

"Sweet 16" Issue, celebrating 16 years of local good news. About the cover: Betsy Glassie has donated her June cover painting to our Silent...