Located in the heart of the Historic District in downtown Abingdon, Rain Restaurant & Bar has been on the forefront of Abingdon's dining scene since opening it's doors in the fall of 2010. Privately owned and operated by Owner/Executive Chef Ben Carroll, the restaurant's primary goal is to deliver a high quality, well prepared meal while providing excellent service and southern hospitality to all of our guests. The sleek, modern building is decorated extensively with artwork from local Abingdon artists Shawn Crookshank and D.R. Mullins. Our custom made pinewood bar is accentuated by a spectacular, handcarved wooden shelf sculpture that was designed and created by master woodworker and Abingdon native, Ben Smith. Whether you're looking for a casual night out with friends, a romantic evening, lunch with associates, or a relaxing summer night on our patio, we are certain you will find the atmosphere perfect for any occasion. Come experience Rain for yourself and see why it has fast become a must visit destination while in Abingdon, VA.
Led by Chef Carroll, the kitchen works to highlight and showcase the excellent local and regional products available to the people of Southwest Virginia. He works closely with many area farmers, and frequents Abingdon's amazing farmer's market whenever possible to source the highest quality ingredients. "When you start out with impeccable ingredients the job of the cook becomes much easier," says Carroll. "It becomes a question of finding the best application for what's available during the different seasons, and then getting out of the way and letting the ingredients shine." This approach allows the kitchen to construct "simple, thoughtful dishes that are creative, but still presented in a way that is familiar and approachable for the average diner."
Examples of some of his signature dishes are:Heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzeralla, basil aioli, house pickled chiles, candied fennel and microgreens. In this dish he uses as many different varieties of tomatoes that he can get his hands on, sometimes over 10 varieties, to create a simple yet stunning salad that is beautifully complemented by the various garnishes.
Confit Sriracha Chicken Wings are another guest favorite. Whole wings are slow cooked in rendered Benton's bacon fat for 3 hours, deep fried until crispy and then tossed in a housemade Sriracha honey sauce with heirloom sesame seeds. The wings are meltingly tender, but crispy and the bacon fat gives a delicate smokey flavor to the wings that goes perfectly with the spicy, sweet sauce and crunchy seeds.
Carroll settled in Abingdon with his family as a young boy and quickly fell in love with the area's natural beauty. "Coming from Arizona to Virginia was a real shock to me at first, I wasn't used to everything being so green and lush. My family immediately took advantage of our new surroundings and planted an insanely large backyard garden. As kids we were required to work in the garden for at least an hour every day before we were allowed to go play. We grew everything; corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, squash, beans... I learned at a young age to appreciate the incredible flavor of vegetables fresh from the garden, and to respect the amount of hard work and diligence it takes to grow and harvest them."
As a young man growing up in Abingdon, Ben worked in several of the area's most popular local restaurants. Over the years he saw the need for a different type of restaurant that didn't exist in Abingdon, one that would provide what he felt was missing. "I noticed that most of the area's restaurants at that time were either corporate, or serving dated, unexciting food. No one was doing anything different, or trying to push the boundries a little, and no one was truly capitalizing on the tremendous resources available to us in this region. I thought there was a real opportunity for a new type of friendly neighborhood restaurant to be very succesful."
"When I opened Rain, I envisioned it being a gathering place for locals and friends, an exciting dining spot for tourists and travelers, and just a fun, casual place where you could always count on getting great food and outstanding service at a fair price, but without the pretentiousness that comes with some of the really high end restaurants....and I think we have achieved that."