In the Local Palate’s 2022 Restaurants Issue, our state-by-state guide highlights the restaurants that have emerged since 2020. Here, contributor Jason Frye gives an overview of new restaurants in West Virginia.
Appalachian Mercantile General Store & Cafe | Granville
They call themselves “curators of Appalachia’s finest goods” and mean it with their extensive assortment of mountain-made, artisanal products. Everything here comes from local growers, makers, and creative types, with sources pulled from Asheville, southern Pennsylvania, central Virginia, and the coalfields and hollers of Kentucky and Ohio.
Shelves and tables are full of craveable, giftable, edible things, like salt from an ancient inland sea, harvested by J.Q. Dickson Salt-Works (they also happen to own the mercantile), heirloom popping corn, jams, jellies, and biscuit mix, and home goods like pottery and hand-carved utensils. (We love the prints of the flora, fauna, and landscapes of Appalachia.)
And that’s before you get to the cafe. Start the day with a smoked trout bagel topped with pickled ramps or go for the avocado toast on salt-rising bread (a sourdough-like bread with roots in the region). Share a snack board like the Appalachian cheese trail, with three local cheeses, or expand that to the farmstead charcuterie board to add in pickled ramps and a trio of cured meats. Then tuck into a sandwich: The Pendleton pork & apples has a hint of salty-sweet with spice-and-dijon-braised apples, while the Beartown braised beef is locally raised beef roast set on a pile of caramelized onions with some sharp cheddar and a horseradish white barbecue sauce tossed on for good measure.
If you find you love the flavors but it’s a bit of a drive to pop in for something tasty (or if you need to get that transplanted Mountaineer in your life something special), they also have monthly, seasonal, and one-off mercantile boxes full of goodies that’ll fill your mouth and soul with the flavors of West Virginia.
Breakfast: Smoked trout bagel
Appetizer: Farmstead charcuterie board
To Share: Blue Ridge baked cheese skillet
Sandwich: Pendleton Pork & Apples
UP-AND-COMING RESTAURANTS WITH INTERNATIONAL TASTE
Nonno Carlo | Morgantown
Italy’s culinary spirit runs freely through West Virginia, and Nonno Carlo’s quick simple bites is one of the latest examples. Go for the primo sandwiches on homemade focaccia; grinders on crusty little rolls; and authentic pizza napoletana. Pay a visit to the Italian market to bring the flavors home through imported and domestic meats, cheeses, oils, and more.
SIP Downtown Brasserie | Huntington
The curated bottle and BTG menus at SIP encourage visitors to learn about what they’re drinking. Special events like tasting classes, paired dinners, and libation specific tasting clubs are just a few of the options. Join the crowds at the weekly Sip and Tip on Wednesdays that benefit specific local charities.
Barkadas the Blended Table | Charleston
The feelings spurred when friends gather around the table together inspired the concept of this Filipino-fusion restaurant—its name is even slang for “friends gathering.” Menu items are meant to be shared, and they might include crispy Spam burritos, the house take on Filipino cheesesteak, or shrimp and grits. And don’t sleep on the vegetable lumpia.
1010 Bridge | Charleston
1010 Bridge is distinctly Appalachian, succinctly Lowcountry, and notably tinged with international influences. But that still doesn’t get at what makes chef Paul Smith’s kitchen one of the best in the state. You could make a meal of the appetizers—crispy fried Nashville hot oysters and Bloody Butcher corn and scallion griddle cakes—but save room for the main event.
The sausage and grilled shrimp en brochette served over scallion grits presents a renewed version of shrimp and grits. Add an excellent wine list, cocktails that dare to reinterpret the classics, and enthusiastic staffers, and you’ve got a place that’s reshaping the food scene in West Virginia’s capital city.
NEW RESTAURANTS IN WEST VIRGINIA SERVING AMERICAN CLASSICS
Gonzoburger | Charleston
Every detail has been thought of in this historic space-turned-gourmet burger joint, from the mosaic-tiled floor to the coffered ceiling. Try any one of their ten burgers or, for wild and wonderful flavor, go for what some call a “coal miner’s steak,” a thick slice of fried bologna with tomato and lettuce.
Belknap Dough Company | Hurricane
People will drive thirty minutes for one of these coveted wood-fired pizza pies in this small town. And their dedication is rewarded with handmade pies loaded with the just-right balance of sauce, cheese, and toppings. Grab a cooked pie, a take-and-bake version for later, or some house dough to play pizzeria at home.
Big Draft Brewing | White Sulphur Springs
The beer list feels exponential at this bar not far from the Greenbrier resort. The dozens of taps change regularly—try the Sauvin Saison, a peachy Berlinerweisse, or one of their Czech or American lagers. To pair with the brews, order bites like the vegan spaghetti squash, short rib pappardelle, grilled trout, or the pork-a-palooza—pork topped with pork and wrapped in pork.
Burger & Bites | Morgantown
Many consider it a lofty claim to say you have the best burger in the state. But when you have 28,000 hungry West Virginia University students singing your praises (some say it’s the best burger anywhere), you’re probably not far off base. Burgers go back to basics here, with a simple, build-your-own menu.
The Broken Axle | Lyburn
There’s a lot of fast food and church suppers in the heart of the coalfields, but the Broken Axle brings something refreshing to the table. There’s the menu’s blend of local favorites (pepperoni rolls, fried bologna sandwiches) and newer flavors (fig-and-goat-cheese flatbreads, buffalo cauliflower) but the secret menu has been a smash hit (don’t miss the siders!).