The Best Food and Drink in West Virginia for 2018 from The Best Food and Drink in West Virginia for 2018 Gallery
The Best Food and Drink in West Virginia for 2018 Gallery
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The Best Food and Drink in West Virginia for 2018
A lot of outsiders are tempted to make West Virginia in to some kind of punchline. The state has the word “wild” in its tagline, for goodness’ sake. But West Virginia is an overlooked beauty, filled with plenty of green space and fine, hardworking folks. Buy beyond its beauty and its residents, West Virginia has a ton of culinary highlights — and no, none of them are roadkill. So to highlight this wonderful state, we rounded up 18 of its best foods, beverages, and restaurants as a part of our first-annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
One may be quick to assume West Virginia’s culinary merits all come from Charleston, and while the city does host some of the best apple pie, pasta, and soup this side of the Mississippi, the entire state hosts incredible food and drink. There’s the state’s best bar, Mario’s Fishbowl, in Morgantown. Parkersburg’s JR’s Donut Castle hosts some of the finest pastries you’ll ever taste. And Shepherdstown is worth a visit for Maria’s Taqueria alone.
Courtesy of Sugar Pie Bakery
Best Apple Pie: Sugar Pie Bakery, Charleston
Sugar Pie Bakery, opened in January 2012, is a locally owned and operated business that is a real family affair — owner Gina Watts along with her husband and children work together to make sure things run smoothly. All of their menu items are made from scratch, and their apple crumb pie, with tart Granny Smith apples and a crumbly sweet topping, is sure to hit the spot.
Best Bar: Mario’s Fishbowl, Morgantown
Like many of the bars on this list, a trip to Mario’s Fishbowl (established in 1963) is like a drinking history lesson. The original owner’s name still stands. The namesake “fishbowl” glasses — made at the old Morgantown Glass Works — are a relic of days when the building was Richwood Avenue Confectionary. The signs on the walls are proclamations of victory in various drinking and eating contests held over the years by WVU students and other patrons with competitive streaks. Although the owners have changed, the menu has expanded and the kitchen has been updated, the nostalgia of the Fishbowl has always remained the top priority.
Bridge Brew Works
Best Beer: Bridge Brew Works Moxxee Coffee Stout, Fayetteville
Lori M / Yelp
Best Chinese Restaurant: Main Kwong, Charleston
This small Charleston mainstay serves a huge menu chock full of all the Chinese-American classics: fried rice, lo mein, General Tso’s, and the like. It also happens to do it very well. You’re not going to be blown away by a visit to this recently expanded restaurant, and you’re not going to find anything too outside-the-box, but you are going to be treated to spot-on renditions of all the familiar standbys.
Best Cupcake: Sweet Confections Bakery, Huntington
These cupcakes are so famous that they are named after the stars who stopped by to eat them! Sample signature sweets like the Clint Eastwood, a dark chocolate and white chocolate cupcake; the Elvis, a banana cupcake with a creamy chocolate filling and peanut butter cream cheese icing; or even the Al Pacino, a chocolate cupcake with a caramel center and mocha frosting, topped with chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Lloyd W / Yelp
Best Dive Bar: Doug’s Topside Tavern, South Charleston
Not all dive bars serve steak on the weekends, but not all dives are Doug’s Topside Tavern in South Charleston. Friendly regulars and the even friendlier Doug will greet you with some true Southern hospitality and a bottle of cold beer. Can’t ask for more than that, can you?
Alexis B / Yelp
Best Doughnuts: JR’s Donut Castle, Parkersburg
The doughnut recipe used at JR’s Donut Castle hasn’t changed for more than 30 years, and it’s probably because the giant glazed doughnuts are such an incredible attraction, both to see and to eat. Regular customers will insist that you try the maple cream fill, but there will be 33 other doughnut flavors available, too.
Best Farmers Market: Morgantown Farmers Market, Morgantown
All of the produce sold at the Morgantown Farmers Market is grown within a 50-mile radius. During the peak season there are more than 30 farmers offering the freshest produce, meats, eggs, breads, flowers, and more to the community. Everything from eggs and goat cheese to pork, lamb, fruits, and vegetables can be found. The summer market runs every Saturday, May through November.
Best Grocery Store: Capitol Market
In the heart of West Virginia’s capital city of Charleston, Capitol Market is serving the community. Built from an old transfer dock, the market is a year-round affair and has an eclectic collection of indoor shops featuring fresh fish, meat, and produce. Yes, this is technically a farmers market, but this grocery is top rated on Yelp and other conversation boards. As one Google reviewer said, “WV finest. An excellent farmers market, top notch wine shop, great meat market…So many local farmers! A great place to visit every day!”
Angie B / Yelp
Best Hot Dog: Hillbilly Hot Dogs, Lesage
This West Virginia oddity is a certified head-scratcher, comprised of a couple small buildings as well as two converted school buses, with knickknacks, old signs, and rusty antiques covering every square inch. Sure, it might be slightly gimmicky, but it still serves some delicious hot dogs in nearly 30 different styles. They serve a mean rendition of the classic West Virginia slaw dog (mustard, onions, and creamy coleslaw), but the true claim to fame here is the Homewrecker, a 15-inch, one-pound dog topped with jalapeños, sautéed peppers and onions, nacho cheese, habaneros, chile sauce, mustard, slaw, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese. If you can eat one in under 12 minutes, you win a T-shirt.
Best Italian Restaurant: Fazio’s, Charleston
This Charleston favorite was founded in 1950 by Nell Fazio, and her son, chef Danny Fazio, has been at the helm for more than 35 years. Nell recently passed, and today Danny runs the restaurant with his wife, Marsha. A true family operation, Fazio’s specializes in the red-sauce basics, and they also happen to turn out some mean fried chicken (not exactly Italian, but we’re not complaining).
Jin C / Yelp
Best Mexican Restaurant: Maria’s Taqueria, Shepherdstown
Northern Virginia native Maria Allen opened this taquería on a whim after graduating from local Shepherd University, and it became a hotspot almost immediately, necessitating a recent move into bigger digs. The reason? The food here is fresh, scratch-made, and tasty, and there’s an expansive menu that will make just about anyone happy. The fish taco is a real crowd-pleaser in particular: Crispy fried cod is tucked into a soft flour tortilla and topped with cilantro, jalapeño aïoli, and spicy cabbage slaw.
The Chop House / Yelp
Most Expensive Restaurant: The Chop House, Charleston
Located in the heart of charming Charleston, West Virginia’s most expensive restaurant is a classy joint that serves some fine USDA Prime steaks aged for 28 to 34 days. Steaks start at $39.95 for steak frites and top out at $53.95 for the porterhouse and cowboy rib-eye.
Best Pasta Dish: Fazio’s, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Charleston
If you want to get a real sense of what’s kept Fazio’s in operation for so long, just order the spaghetti and meatballs; al dente spaghetti is topped with luscious tomato sauce and hearty meatballs, both from old family recipes.
Rich M / Yelp
Best Pizza: Lola’s, Charleston
This eclectic and adorable little restaurant is located inside an old house in the heart of quaint Charleston, and New England Culinary Institute-trained chef-owner Cary Charbonniez has cultivated a laid-back and welcoming environment while serving artisan pizzas from a stone hearth oven that are just about perfect. You can create your own pizza, but we suggest you sample some of chef Cary’s suggestions, which aren’t exactly traditional. The Steak & Cheese pie is topped with flank steak from Swift Level Farm, white Cheddar, red onions, jalapeños, and fresh garlic; Fig Jam & Rosemary is topped with fig jam, gorgonzola, and fresh rosemary; and the Spicy Shrimp & Sausage has ground Italian sausage, shrimp, roasted tomatoes, and goat cheese. You can go half-and-half on large pizzas, and if you want to eat it at home they’ll even cook it halfway for you so you can finish it in your own oven.
Classic Cam's Ham
Best Sandwich: Cam’s Ham, Cam’s Original Sugar Flaked Ham Sandwich, Huntington
Besides being a great name for a restaurant, Cam’s Ham is also the name of a West Virginia institution that’s been serving legendary ham sandwiches (yes, those exist) since the 1950s. To make these beauties, a toasted bun is topped with lean ham that’s been sliced super-thinly (“flaked”), and simply topped with shredded lettuce and secret sauce.
Laura C / Yelp
Best Soup: The Block, Roasted Cauliflower Soup With Cashews, Charleston
The Block is a popular gastropub specializing in scratch-made modern American cuisine. Regulars rave about the handmade pastas and creative flatbreads, but make sure you go when the real draw is on the specials board: roasted cauliflower soup with cashews. It’s a smooth and creamy concoction with plenty of roasted cauliflower flavor, crunchy cashews for texture, and a sprinkling of herbs for freshness.
Chop House Charleston
Best Steakhouse: The Chop House, Charleston
Diners in the mood for a classic and old-school steakhouse experience in “the other Charleston” should look no further than The Chop House. All steaks here are USDA Prime, available as 8- or 11-ounce filet mignon, steak au poivre, New York strip, 24-ounce porterhouse, or 22-ounce blackened or barbecued cowboy rib-eye. Beef Wellington on the menu is also a nice touch, as is a generous seafood platter, fried lobster bites, and a roasted rack of venison. For more states, check out our ultimate guide to the best food and drink in every state for 2018.