Blackwell’s: Big city cuisine served with small town hospitality

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

March 6, 2023

Nearly forty years ago, LeeAnn Gillilan took an apprenticeship in the kitchen at The Greenbrier Hotel Culinary Program under Rod Stoner. “I was the woman,” she remembers. “As in the only one. There weren’t many of us back then.”

Today, LeeAnn is the owner/operator/chef at Blackwell’s Catering in downtown Lewisburg. Located on Jefferson Street South in the center of town, they provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-6pm (and catering after hours). Everything down to the bread is made from scratch. 

When asked what her most popular items are, she lights up with a smile and says, “All of it. I’ve never changed the menu, because people eat it all.” 

Long road home

A native of Lewisburg, LeeAnn hit the road after graduating from The Greenbrier Hotel Culinary Program. She spent time in the New York and Dallas food markets, before eventually finding her way back home. 

She returned to open Blackwell’s Restaurant at the local golf course. The name is a way of honoring her grandmother, whose middle name was Blackwell. “She didn’t have a middle name,” LeeAnn shares, “so she gave herself one–Blackwell.” It has now become a family name and one that lives on in the food industry. 

After six years of running that restaurant at the golf course, LeeAnn took over Greenbrier Valley Baking Company in downtown Lewisburg from Todd & Gina Lang. While she came with her own customers, good reputation, and fan favorite foods, the Langs also had their own. They were known for their homemade breads and pizzas. 

The pizzas come in 12 inches or 16 inches. Specials are available on the menu, or you can create your own. Photo by Havenbrook Media.

“I’d never done breads or pizza before,” she says with a laugh. “That was very challenging for me to master it.” But master them she did. 

‘Everything from scratch’

“We make everything from scratch,” LeeAnn says, “which also helps keep the menu affordable.” 

“I’m a purist. We smoke our own meats, sausages, turkeys, salmon and more. If we make it, it’s better quality and more affordable.” 

Popular menu items include the NY style pizzas, cheese steaks, cheesecakes, sandwiches, and daily lunch specials. 

Photo by Havenbrook Media.

“The daily lunch specials are actually our biggest sellers,” she adds. “If I don’t post the special online by a certain time, people start calling to ask what the special is that day.” 

But it doesn’t end with the savory foods; the sweets bring people in…even for breakfast. “Oh yeah, people get the bread pudding for breakfast all the time,” LeeAnn remarks. “And people buy the tiramisu by the pan.” 

Photo by Havenbrook Media.

People first

Inside, Blackwell’s has the feel of a big family kitchen. Folks gather around good food, sharing stories and smiles. It’s the best of both worlds–big cuisine served with a small town smile.

And while it’s evident that LeeAnn loves to cook, she loves her customers even more. “It’s really about the customers. I just love interacting with people. Most of my business is from repeat customers.”

She has regulars who come into the cafe daily and weekly. A number of her catering customers have been regulars for more than a decade now. “It’s such a blessing,” she says emotionally. “People trust me to plan their meals and take care of their guests, and I appreciate that.” 

For more information, visit LeeAnn online at www.blackwellscatering.com or stop by 830 Jefferson Street South in downtown Lewisburg. 

MEALS FOR SHARING. Blackwell’s also offers all of the above menu items for catering or meals at home with 24 hours of notice. All you have to do is place your order over the phone or in the store.
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