Dining Out

5 New West Virginia Restaurants

By: Brittany Furbee

In the Local Palate‘s 2023 Restaurants Issue, our state-by-state guide highlights the new restaurants that have emerged since 2022. Here, Brittany Furbee, highlights new West Virginia restaurants.

Von Blaze | Morgantown

A loaded fish sandwich at Von Blaze with chives and mayo, one of seven featured West Virginia restaurants.

When chef Chris McDonald and April Passaro set out to open their first restaurant together, they had two goals in mind: to create a space that was inclusive and comfortable and to offer a menu that was affordable and high quality with as many scratch-made products as possible.

“Sandwiches seem like a great vessel for that vision,” explains Passaro. “The inspiration is to provide elevated high-quality twists on classic sandwiches and sides in an unpretentious and welcoming atmosphere with a small-town vibe.”

McDonald has found success by drawing inspiration from regions around the world to create a unique yet cohesive menu. Exemplifying this perfectly is their lobster dog, a cross between a lobster roll and a West Virginia hot dog that features housemade seafood sausage stuffed with fresh lobster tail and shrimp and finished with Napa cabbage slaw, fingerling potato chips, and brown-butter-and-lemon mayo. 

A bar tender pouring a beer at Von Blaze, one of seven featured West Virginia restaurants

Aiming to create a familiar yet cost-effective appetizer that would be a crowd-pleaser and pair perfectly with their signature sandwiches, the owners developed “drummies,” frenched chicken drumsticks (aka chicken lollipops) that are fried crispy and tossed in a variety of four sauces. “We smoke all our meats in house, make our own sausages and bologna, and cure our own bacon,” McDonald says. “We may just be a sandwich shop, but we take great pride in doing everything to the best of our ability with a lot of flavors while maintaining the feeling of value.

The menu at Von Blaze is ever-evolving. Most recently, McDonald decided to offer a new pop-up called Wakaba Ramen. The response to the first event was overwhelming, with dozens of patrons lining up at the door to get a taste of the newly crafted dishes and sides. Wakaba Ramen is now a monthly special, serving 90 guests with tickets that sell out in minutes. Clearly, Von Blaze has captivated Morgantown and solidified itself as a must-visit when it comes to West Virginia restaurants.

Can’t Miss At Von Blaze

A massive sandwich with pork and chips from Von Blaze

Von Blaze Burger

This smashed Angus patty is piled with braised short rib, Cooper’s sharp white American cheese, crispy onions, horseradish aïoli, and bordelaise sauce, all on a brioche bun.

The Dom

A pickle-brined, breaded, and fried chicken breast sets the base for house buffalo sauce and a celery-and-blue-cheese salad on a seeded salt-and-pepper bun. 

Pot Liquor Pork

Thinly sliced smoked, peppered pork shoulder gets dipped into smoky pork jus and served with collard greens, aged provolone, and brown mustard on an Italian bun. 

Tempeh Sloppy Joe

Appealing to the non-meat-eaters, too, this comfort food classic gets an update with tempeh and garbanzo beans— but, like the original, still requires a pile of napkins. 

Get the Recipe: Tempeh Sloppy Joe

Tempah Sloppy Joe from Von Blaze with crispy onions and pickles

West Virginia Restaurants on Our Radar

The interior of Fife Street Brewery, one of seven featured West Virginia restaurants. Bar, shelves of merchandise, dark wood floors.

Fife Street Brewing | Charleston

Planting roots in a city hungry not only for craft beer and delectable sandwiches but also for a place to come together with friends and family was a priority for this brewery. The inclusive and community-centric joint serves up a hefty dose of comfort with an array of gourmet grilled cheeses that pair perfectly with their handcrafted brews.

Powdered sugar Dusted empanadas from  Cocina Plantosaurus

Cocina Plantosaurus | Charles Town

The quirky, colorful decor inside this Latin-inspired restaurant, which is owned by husband-and-wife duo David Hassan and Lyam Soto, perfectly complements the establishment’s playful name. Cocina Plantosaurus features vegan Puerto Rican comfort foods like empanadas, rellenos de papa, and a special “sooshi” (vegan sushi) menu on Tuesdays that sells out at lightning speed.

The Grove Cafe & Bakery | Petersburg

A stand-out building that was once a doctor’s office and healing place for patients 170 years ago is now home to Petersburg’s newest cafe. Loaded with historic charm and delicious treats, the Grove Cafe & Bakery is the perfect place for friends and family to gather and enjoy a morning coffee, afternoon tea, or light meal.

The Loopy Leaf | Charleston

With items like Italian hoagies, BLTs, and carne asada tacos, it’s hard to believe that the menu at the Loopy Leaf is 100 percent plant-based. This quaint cafe draws in customers from all around the region looking to indulge in vegan comfort food or to satisfy a sweet tooth with one of their signature gluten-free desserts.

The front counter at The Loopy Leaf, one of seven featured West Virginia restaurants. Lots of plants sit on the counter. Colorful menu and Christmas lights.

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  • Michelle Moirai
    July 6, 2023 at 9:18 pm

    What a great article! That food at Von Blaze looks ah-mazing!