While the competition for providing college students with a hearty breakfast is fierce, the inspired vegetarian cuisine of Gillie’s Restaurant topped the list in the Best of Blacksburg.
Although the restaurant has received positive reviews for its unique, vegetarian
breakfast, it didn’t always serve up cuisine for this particular meal.
“(Gillie’s) started off as an ice cream shop. It was a different type of ice cream place — it was not like your traditional Ben & Jerry’s,” said Ranae Gillie, the restaurant’s owner.
However, it was not long before the non-traditional ice cream parlor made its initial steps toward becoming the restaurant it is today.
“With any business, one has to evolve to stay alive. As we realized that the ice cream market was somewhat dwindling, we decided to serve more food,” Gillie said.
As a part of this evolution, Gillie’s began offering modest lunch options, including soup, salad and bread.
To complement these small meals, Gillie’s began serving breakfast, which was initially a poor business venture.
“When we first started (serving breakfast), it was a huge failure. We hardly got anybody,” Gillie said.
Gillie’s stopped serving breakfast for a few years, sensing there was not a market for it. As time went on, however, customers began requesting the rebirth of Gillie’s breakfast, which would prove to be more successful a second time around.
Since Gillie and her entire family were vegetarians, they decided to create a menu that emulates their lifestyle.
“I consciously decided to be a vegetarian for health and for cruelty to animals,” Gillie said. “I just think there are a lot of diseases being born because of the way we are mass producing food like poultry and beef.”
Amy Fissmer, a freshman human development major, is a regular Gillie’s customer who recently became a vegan to mitigate the symptoms of her hypoglycemia, a condition similar to diabetes.