Thyme Market

American
$$$$ ($14 and under)
'

Editorial Review

A tempting takeout market featuring hickory-smoked, rotisserie-roasted suckling pig, lamb, turkey and guinea fowl is giving people another reason to shop on revitalized East Davis Street in Culpeper. The owners are John Yarnall, proprietor of the popular restaurant It's About Thyme, and Julie Thomas, who operated Food for Thought, a nearby specialty store for Virginia farm products. Thomas closed her store, and the two opened the new business -- with a mouthful of a combination name (Food for Thought at Thyme Market) and an industrial-chic decor -- next to Yarnall's restaurant.

Not all of the roasted meats, which also include gorgeous herb-crusted chickens ($12) and ducks ($25), are available every day. It's best to call ahead to see what's on hand. But there is always plenty to fill a shopping basket.

Thomas stocks the refrigerated cases with local farmstead cheeses, free-range eggs and organic milk. Shelves are lined with Virginia-made mustard, soup, chutney and honey. Look in the freezer for grass-fed beef, pastured pork and cuts of lean buffalo. Of particular interest are the beautiful rustic breads baked in the market's wood-burning oven, which also turns out glorious 12-inch thin-crust pizzas ($10) with toppings such as buffalo mozzarella cheese and fresh shiitake mushrooms.

Of the ready-to-eat entrees, we loved the succulent osso buco ($11.99 per pound) and the moist and delicately flavored chicken with tomatillo sauce ($7.99 per pound). An ever-changing lunch menu may include a satisfying wrap of tender chicken breast with walnuts and dried apricots ($5). And the hickory-smoked roast beef and Swiss cheese sandwich with horseradish sauce ($9) is as good as beef gets.

-- Walter Nicholls (Feb. 28, 2007)