By WILIAM PAINE
Not long ago, myself and a group of comrades were doing some volunteer work in the Fairlawn area. It was a little after noon and not one of us had eaten, so finding suitable nourishment at a reasonable price became a top priority.
Though Fairlawn has several chain restaurants, I had heard that there was a place with particularly good eats called Delaney’s Kitchen and so we headed there with high hopes.
Delaney’s Kitchen is located inside Bucko’s Pantry, a gas station with a small store on Peppers Ferry Boulevard. Richard Delany, head chef and owner of Delaney’s Kitchen, told us about the Special of the Day, as we approached the counter of his little restaurant. It was the fried chicken plate and that sounded good to us, though one member of our group was disappointed that he missed the Barbeque Ribs Special from the day before (next time!).
Nevertheless, the fried chicken plate, stacked high with chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits gravy and green beans was awesome down-home fare.
For future reference, we were curious to know what other dishes are served at Delaney’s Kitchen.
“This is good southern food,” said Richard Delaney. “We got fatburgers, pound burgers, smoked wings, ribs … We got catfish, meatloaf, spaghetti, Phillies. It’s southwest Virginia soul cooking. Everything here is home made. We don’t do anything out of a box. It’s fresh!”
We asked how long Delaney’s Kitchen had been in business.
“I’ve been in business for 2 ½ years,” said Delaney. “We started right when the pandemic hit and then it was just word of mouth. I cooked at Country Kitchen and did the catering there for three years.”
Richard Delaney is a native of Radford, where he graduated from high school in 1991. While there, Richard excelled in several sports including football, basketball, baseball and tennis. He grew up on the same street as Virginia Tech Basketball Coach Mike Young, who according to Richard helps promote his business.
“I’ve been to Mike’s house so many times,” said Delaney. “His dad was my principal. I grew up with his brother. It’s good that he helps me out.”
Richard Delaney is also tight with RU’s head basketball coach Darris Nichols, who he used to coach in little league basketball.
Why did Richard Delaney, who was heavy into sports, start a career cooking?
“I’ve cooked all my life,” said Richard. “I’m a big guy, so I like to eat! I used to watch my grandma and cook in the kitchen and paid attention to how she did things. I was really curious. I have six aunts and me and my family used to eat together every Sunday … you just get a feeling for it.”
Delaney’s Kitchen definitely has family vibe. Richard’s cousin, Tony Hash, urged him to start cooking professionally ten years ago and today his business includes several family members.
“My brother Dezi was working at this other place in Radford so I brought him here,” Richard explained. “I said why don’t you just come and work full time with me? He’s my little brother and there’s nothing like working with your little brother. It’s actually worked out really well.”
Dezi’s wife and Richard’s fiancé make the deserts for Delany’s Kitchen.
In addition to his restaurant at Bucko’s Pantry, Richard Delaney runs the kitchen at the Sportsman on the banks of the New River. Richard’s cousin, Quanette (Boo) Black Ramsey does the cooking there.
Though his Radford roots run deep, Richard Delany has ties across the river, as well. His father, Michael Lewis, retired from his job as a Pulaski County Sheriff’s Deputy after 30 years of service.
Additionally, Richard is considering opening another restaurant in Pulaski County. When that happens, we’ll be first in line to get some of that Southwest Virginia Soul Cooking served at Delaney’s Kitchen!