Clean Eats

Victoria Aten (left) and her mother, Rhonda White, stand inside their Glade Spring location for Clean Eats, a restaurant focused on traditional meals made from scratch.

GLADE SPRING, Va. — I cannot tell you what makes Rhonda White’s “Chocolate Eggplant Cake” so sweet.

That’s a secret.

But I will tell you this: It’s a healthy sugar substitute.

Just like eggplant is healthy for you.

And so is dark chocolate!

A longtime chef, White is the proprietor of a cafe called Clean Eats in the Town Square of Glade Spring, Virginia.

She’s been in business for a couple of years.

Clean Eats originally started at a health food store in Abingdon before moving to Glade Spring.

“We have really, really, really good days some days,” White said. “Usually, people who are coming here, they’re coming here because they’ve heard about me.”

White does more than this restaurant; she also caters events.

“I’ve done restaurant work, basically, my whole life.”

Growing up in Michigan, White moved to the Tri-Cities area in 1993.

Over the years, she’s been involved with lots of eateries.

She ran two restaurants with her sister: Skip’s Main Street Grill in Abingdon and the Boxcar Cafe in Glade Spring. She also served as executive chef at the Damascus Old Mill in the early 2000s in Damascus, Virginia.

White took a break from restaurants for a few years but ultimately realized, “I just wanted to do what I love,” she said.

“I would say that my strength is home-cooked food,” said White, 55.

Her most popular menu item is “Blackberry Jam Grilled Cheese.”

I didn’t get a chance to sample that sandwich, but the ingredients sure did intrigue me: blackberry jam, Swiss cheese, bacon and jalapeno peppers.

“And it’s really good,” White promised. “We kind of do what Grandma did before all of the processed stuff was available. … I’m using whole foods.”

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