At first glance, it is readily apparent that popular Bedford restaurant Liberty Station maintains close ties with its roots as a railway station. The building has undergone no significant expansions, boasts a great deal of railroad memorabilia that was original to the station, and features little modern décor so that visitors are more connected to the area’s history.
During World War II, Bedford’s Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment left for service from the railway station. These men became known as the Bedford Boys, a valiant group of soldiers who suffered a 90% casualty rate on D-Day.
In 2001, the railway station became Liberty Station—a restaurant that does a booming lunch and dinner business on weekdays and Saturdays. Marty Leist, who co-owns Liberty Station with her husband, Harry, notes that lunchtime is particularly lively due to a frequent combination of businesspeople, Bedford residents, and D-Day Memorial visitors.
Among the most popular lunch items are the Salt-and-Pepper Fried Catfish, Chicken Panini, Reuben, and a variety of salads and house-made soups.
“A particular favorite of the management is the Fried Green Tomatoes appetizer, which is served on a bed of house-made onion straws and accompanied by a wonderful cucumber-dill sauce,” says Leist.
For dessert, you can’t go wrong with a slice of Harry’s Favorite Cheesecake, which comes in a variety of flavors including blueberry, Oreo and strawberry-white chocolate.
For those seeking light lunch fare, Leist recommends the Sweet Potato Salad, the Black Bean Burger or Wrap, the Asian Salmon Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette, or the Cranberry Chicken Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette.
The restaurant will soon boast overhead fans and string lights on the patio, and they are considering the addition of a gift shop due to popular demand. Leist is also hopeful that Amtrak will ultimately choose to make a stop in Bedford, thus creating more interest in the station and what it represents.
Regardless of these and other possible future developments, Leist notes that two things will never change: the restaurant’s dedication to serving quality food and to making their customers feel at home. As Leist explains, their customers helped them through a tough setback in 2009—a major fire during a restoration project.
“A massive rebuilding effort was required and was accomplished largely with the help and support of a caring Bedford community. At no time has the community support been stronger or more appreciated than after [that fire],” says Leist. “Our guests have seen fit to bring their friends and relatives to dine with us and to drive our growth. We enjoy celebrating life’s special occasions with them and are pleased to take meals to them in their times of illness or sorrow. We have become family.”
AT A GLANCE
515 Bedford Avenue, Bedford, VA
Mon.-Thurs.: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.