Mountain Shadows at Blue Ridge Summit to Host Free Christmas Dinner

By on December 20, 2021 0

At the top of the mountain at Blue Ridge Summit is a building with a silver diner-style facade that houses Mike Travis’s Mountain Shadow restaurant.

On a normal working day, the restaurant opens at 7 a.m. and customers start entering for their breakfast. Travis sees friends come in and sit down, share a conversation, and grab a bite to eat with a hot cup of coffee.

“I would say about 80 percent of our customers eat here every day,” Travis explained. “A few eat at every meal here.”

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What sets Travis, 68, and his restaurant apart is what they do on vacation.

He and his staff have worked at the restaurant every Christmas day since 1983, giving back to their community.

What started this tradition almost 40 years ago took place in 1982.

Mike Travis, owner of Mountain Shadows, is pictured here in his restaurant at Blue Ridge Summit.

“There was an older man who came by years ago, and he had just lost his wife before the holidays and he was looking for a place to go to eat on Christmas and we were closed,” Travis explained. “I later found out that I had nowhere to go and decided we would be open on Christmas. It didn’t seem right that we were open every other day, but we weren’t there at Christmas when our customers need us.

Over the years, changes have taken place in the restaurant in the form of the addition of a formal dining room in 1983 and updated stools and furniture at the counter, but for the most part this community staple remained the same.

The formal dining room will be used on Christmas Day to help seating guests and will also host concerts throughout the year at the restaurant.

“Our customers love good, home-style food and the atmosphere, so we keep it the same here,” Travis explained.

Katherine “Kate” Vogel, of Blue Ridge Summit, is a regular customer of Mountain Shadows and started coming regularly in 2005.

“It’s a family here, we all support each other here and laugh and cry together,” Vogel said. “My late husband John and I started coming here years ago, and I continue to come here now with my grandson, Michael. ”


Vogel went on to say, “This is my ‘I don’t feel like cooking tonight’ place.” The people here have hugged our family and the food is always delicious and home made. Plus the staff are amazing; it’s just a fun place.

Sticking to home cooking, it would be only fitting that a traditional Christmas dinner be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to the hundreds of people who walk through the door on Saturday.

“We serve ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy as well as green beans, stuffing and desserts,” Travis said. “We had between 280 and 695 services in any given year. This includes on-site meals, take-out and delivery. If we have enough, we try to send them a meal for later.

The meal is open to anyone who wants to come, Travis said. “A business shouldn’t just take, it has to give back,” Travis said. “I was raised to always give my best. “

Long-time employee Ivy Freelove has been with Mountain Shadows since 1979 and is one of those who volunteer their time at Christmas to serve others.

Mike Travis is pictured here with a few of his employees who work at Mountain Shadows and volunteer their time over Christmas.

“It’s great here at Christmas, we have a lot of our customers coming in and a lot of people showing up to help us,” Freelove said. “People love Mike for it, we even set up the karaoke machine and played Christmas music. “

Vogel said she plans to have her Christmas take-out meal this year.

Over the Christmas decades spent dining out, Travis recalled an interaction that stuck with him for years afterward.

“There was a man and a woman who came here with their children, you could tell they didn’t have much and I had a lot of extra Christmas presents that I bought for people, so I ran home and we gave the kids each a little bit of toys and they were so grateful, ”he recalls. “It makes you feel good. God has been kind to me, and I try to do whatever I can to help.”

Donations are being accepted to help with the cost of next year’s meal. “Every year I say this will be my last year running the restaurant, but I just can’t give it up, I don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t,” Travis said. . “I just think, ‘why can’t every day be like Christmas’”.

For more information, visit the restaurant at 14954 Buchanan Trail East, Blue Ridge Avenue, Blue Ridge Summit, or call (717) 794-2705.