People love planning their road trips, day trips, vacations, and outings around food–and rightfully so. There’s never been a better time to enjoy a good quality meal and know where to go for the best. After asking several local friends, I’ve compiled a list of 32 plates locals love in West Virginia.
How many of these places have you been to in West Virginia?
1. Mario’s Fishbowl by Dan Lanham (Morgantown)
“I am a huge buffalo wing guy and my favorite wings anywhere not just in West Virginia are at Mario’s Fishbowl in Morgantown. How old are them extra crispy in my flavor of choice is cowboy blue, a combination of their hot tangy buffalo wing sauce with crumbles of blue cheese. And always on the side is celery sticks And blue cheese dressing to dip them in. Of course, I always have a large fishbowl of whatever brown ale they have on tap to accompany my wings.”
2. Shonet’s Country Cafe by Vada Webster (Milton)
“There is a restaurant in Milton called Shonet’s it’s all home cooking they have a breakfast that’s my favorite called the skillet. It’s open faced eggs with crumbled sausage or bacon & gravy poured over it with biscuits it is amazingly delicious. If you haven’t been there you need to try it very friendly down on the farm atmosphere.”
3. Chop House by Melody Pittman (Charleston)
At the Charleston Town Center Mall, The Chop House is easily one of West Virginia’s best fine-dining restaurants. With a romantic and upscale atmosphere, Chop House prepares every course even better than the last.
You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, and the price is justifiable, but the Filet Mignon with béarnaise sauce is some sort of sensational. A classic steakhouse dish is prepared perfectly and perched on a bed of semi-crisp asparagus. Top it with crab meat for a real treat.
4. Twin Oaks Restaurant by Brian Allman (Bridgeport)
“Twin Oaks in Bridgeport is a favorite. They make everything in house, pizza crust, raviolis, meatballs, pasta sauce, pizza sauce and of course the best Italian dressing ever. Twin Oaks’ pizza with hot peppers in oil, pepperoni, and extra sauce is hands-down the best pizza I have ever eaten.”
5. Ichiban Pan-Asian Cuisine by Rachael Tucker (Charleston)
“The perfect combination of East meets West is found at Ichiban Pan-Asian Cuisine. The sushi master (Evan) makes the best Spicy Tuna Maki. I have traveled around the world and always search for sushi bars, and this place is world-class. It pairs wonderfully with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.”
6. Mountain Pie Company on the River by Pam Tincher (Charleston)
“Are you looking for some good old fashion comfort food? Try the Pepperoni Rolls at Mountain Pie Company on the River. They are warm, cheesy and full of taste–done the West Virginia way. Bet you can’t eat just one!”
7. Mountain Pie Company by Jere & Jamie Gaeger (Charleston)
And apparently this is definitely a plate locals love in West Virginia because it received a second nod below.
“The pepperoni roll is as West Virginia as it gets, developed in the mid 1920s in Fairmont to meet the needs of the coal miners. Our favorite version comes from the Mountain Pie Company in Charleston, perched on the banks of the Kanawha River. The rolls are almost bite size, brushed with butter and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Served with a marinara sauce, this bite-size version of a Mountain State staple does not disappoint.”
8. and 9. Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe by Becki Carpenter (Huntington)
“We Are…Marshall roars from this city….Huntington, WV, and a visit to the Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe is a must. Their selection of lunch sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and burgers make this the place to be. The Five Cheese Mac & Cheese and Chicken Wrap are my favorites. Five cheese cream sauce, penne pasta, diced tomatoes, smoky bacon pieces topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, and grilled chicken breast leaves no room for dessert. The chicken wrap is filled with crispy chicken strips, lettuce, cheese, and sauce with a side of fries, perfect for the mid-day lunch.”
10. Chum’s by Tamara DeMarco (Marmet)
“It never fails when I go back to West Virginia to visit my family, that I always drive through my home town of Marmet WV. If you’ve never had a “West Virginia hotdog” then you need to stop off at Chum’s in Marmet WV. Yellow mustard slaw which is perfectly slightly sweet, hotdogs with cold diced onion and chili on top is the way I go. They have crispy fries and so many other goodies on the menu! The ladies who work there are sweet and warm people and pups eat free. Smiles all around!”
11. Diehl’s by Ashley Massey (Nitro)
“There is a steak sandwich at Diehl’s Restaurant in Nitro called Josh Culbertson. It’s huge— about the size of a wheel. With grilled sirloin and an enormous round bun (especially made), it’s one of the top sandwiches around!” Diehl’s is a family-owned and operated restaurant operating since 1960 in the Kanawha Valley. Any and every comfort food you can think of is on the menu, and the rolls are the die for!”
12. Muriale’s Italian Kitchen by Dawn Brisendine (Fairmont)
“Without a doubt the best Italian cuisine I’ve ever had is at Muriale’s Italian Kitchen in Fairmont. Everything about the place is phenomenal from the friendly, efficient waitstaff, fresh salads, delicious main courses (rigatoni & meatballs is my favorite) to the yummy desserts we always take to go because we’re too stuffed to eat them there! Muriale’s signature Sangria is a must; it’s hard to beat! Definitely worth a try and by far my favorite restaurant ever.”
13. Shucker’s Restaurant by Terry Quentrill (St. Albans)
“Gene and I ate take-out last nite from Shucker’s Restaurant in St. Albans. Some of their food is typical, but the Grilled Scallops are the best you can get. The Fried Shrimp is yummy, too, with a zesty cocktail sauce that sets it apart from others.”
14. Fat Alberts by Emily Daniel (Ripley)
“When I think of food that represents West Virginia, my mind automatically goes to the delicious pepperoni roll. I absolutely love pepperoni rolls and try the variations of them found throughout the state. The most delicious pepperoni rolls I have found are from Fat Alberts Pizza in Ripley. They are a perfect plump crispy circle with plenty of piping hot pepperoni and melty mozzarella cheese stuffed inside—it’s the perfect combination to dip in their house-made marinara sauce. Fat Albert’s pepperoni rolls are a staple for Jackson County residents, but people will travel the distance for the best pepperoni roll in West Virginia.”
15. Tricky Fish by Lesa Eskew (Charleston)
“Tricky Fish’s Tofu Wings are wonderful. It’s fried tofu with a ranch style dipping sauce.” Having been there several times myself, I agree that Tricky Fish (on Charleston’s historic East End) has unique and tasty food, and a terrific outdoor patio. Pair your meal with a craft beer or signature cocktail.”
16. Black Sheep Burrito by Camryn Pressley (Charleston)
“Black Sheep Burrito uses fresh ingredients in every dish. Their Shrimp & Grits on a biscuit brings out a combination of flavors that make your mouth water. Not only is their food good, but the restaurant’s vibe and customer service make every trip a treat.”
17. Table 9 by Madelyn Harwell (Morgantown)
“My favorite brunch I’ve ever had is Table 9 in Morgantown. The Eggs Benedict is cooked perfect every time. And to top it off with a pomegranate mimosa you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a morning by the river.”
18. Stardust Cafe by Melody Pittman (Lewisburg)
The farm-to-table Stardust Cafe is my favorite eatery in Lewisburg, with fantastic food and an aesthetically pleasing dining room. The avocado, Chèvre, and bacon mix & match sandwich is amazing! Pair it with their pasta salad or cup of homemade soup. This could have been a special of the day, but man, was it memorable.
19. Tidewater Grill by Maryanne Legg (Charleston)
“The dish I nominate is Chicken Nicole: sautéed chicken with fresh artichoke, mushrooms, and red peppers with a white wine cream sauce. It’s served on a bed of rice or over homemade pasta topped with fresh shaved Parmesan cheese.”
Tidewater Grill has been a Charleston Town Center Mall staple for over 30 years and continues to please the palates of locals with seafood dishes, free birthday meal, and freaking phenomenal poppy seed rolls.
20. Sitar of India by Melody Pittman (Charleston)
Chicken Tikka Masala is not only my favorite Indian dish, but the best version of this that I’ve had in 23 states and 13 countries comes from Sitar of India in Charleston. Who would have thought that little ole Charleston, West Virginia’s local Indian eatery would beat out places like Los Angeles, Orlando, and Budapest? It’s all true. I crave Sitar’s Chicken Tikka Masala between my visits to West Virginia and make sure a visit it in order with each homecoming.
21. Bellisimo Pizza by Bobbi Sigmon Holland (Belle)
“Bellisimo Pizza is an Italian restaurant run by two brothers with delicious fresh homemade food from scratch every day. While I like everything I’ve tasted there, my favorite by far is the Egyptian Eggplant, served with a side salad and the BEST ranch dressing. A slice of homemade flatbread is perfect for sopping up every last drop of that delicious sauce. The flavors in this dish are best described as intense and satisfying!”
22. Pepperoni Grill by Lesa Eskew (Charleston)
“Pepperoni Grill is a local pizza place in Kanawha City known for pizza. Our favorite, the Cauliflower Pizza is fabulous.”
Lesa also stresses that they are eating local when they can (due to COVID and the supporting local movement) and this is their go-to eatery.
23. Cafe Cimino by Melody Pittman (Sutton)
The best restaurant in West Virginia is easily Cafe Cimino in Sutton. For years, this was the restaurant we took all of our out of state friends to, and they couldn’t believe our Mountain State had something so cool so many years ago.
I’m a fan of the appetizers, pasta dishes, steaks, and desserts, but the Antipasto Platter is the tops. Even better is that Cafe Cimino has been serving this elegant platter for years before becoming a fad item on every menu. Theirs has grilled bread, pickled veggies and olives, Caprese salad, goat cheese on roasted red peppers, cured meats, and a few surprises, including local honey. It is perfection on a plate!
24. Tudor’s Biscuit World by Autumn Hudnall (several locations)
“Tudor’s has my favorite breakfast. I always get the Ron biscuit. If you order the meal, it comes with a hash brown and drink, too.”
If you have never tried a Tudor’s biscuit, what a pity. Locals call it Tudor’s, not “Biscuit World” as the visitors do, has honkin’ big and fluffy biscuits and unusual breakfast sandwich creations, such as the Peppy (with melted cheddar cheese and sliced pepperoni) and The Ron (sausage, egg, and melted cheese).
25. Hale House by Pama Rutledge (Charleston)
“The Bacon-wrapped Shrimp with Bourbon Sauce and Grilled Pineapple from Hale House is my pick. Although it’s on th Starters menu, they offered it as a main course at the 2020 Charleston Restaurant Week. The shrimp are wrapped in smoky bacon, grilled to perfection while basted in a rich bourbon sauce (Hale House is a bourbon bar, after all). The generous portion of shrimp was served with two slices of char-grilled pineapple. The sweetness and the slight acidity of the pineapple offsets the richness of the shrimp very nicely.”
26. Secret Sandwich Society by Lesa Eskew (Fayetteville)
“Our favorite sandwiches in West Virginia are from Secret Sandwich Society, a local sandwich shop in Fayetteville. Many are named after past US Presidents; my favorite is the Lincoln. All of the food here is delicious and the service is excellent. SSS also has gluten-free options, which is great for our family.”
27. Leonoro’s Spaghetti House by Julie Miller (Charleston)
“My favorite will always be Leonoro’s Spaghetti House in Charleston. I love their spaghetti and meatballs. It was the first restaurant that my parents took me to when I was a baby.”
Leonoro’s is an East End Italian eatery with a long-time local following. The garlic and Grecian bread alone is enough to draw in the crowds.
28. Fujiyama by Brielle Mays (Charleston)
“Fujiyama is a small family-owned restaurant with authentic Japanese entrees. You cannot go wrong with a Crunch Roll or Chicken Teriyaki. The Crunch Roll has crab stuck, avocado, smelt roe, mayo, and crunchies.”
29. Mi Cocina de Amor by Gina Busch (Charleston)
“I love fish tacos and margaritas at Mi Cocina de Amor. Actually, all of their food is very fresh and good. The atmosphere is kind of kitschy and unique. The outdoor patio is large and inviting.”
30. Jimmy Colombos Restaurant by Sharon Anderson (Parkersburg)
“We like Jimmy Colombos in Parkersburg. It is family-owned businesses that has great service and is very popular. We order the Lasagna.” Mmm, good!
31. Best of Crete by Chris Walters (Charleston)
“The Grape Leaf Rolls from Best of Crete are our families favorite local meal. They are amazing, and made fresh every day.”
32. The Grill by John Holden (Charleston)
“My go to at The Grill on Charleston’s West Side was always the Brown Beans and Cornbread. I like them with chopped onions on the side. Everything at The Grill is always fresh and homemade. I’ve tried for decades to get my brown beans to their level of perfection.”
Wild, Wonderfully Delicious West Virginia
If you were looking for some new restaurants and dishes to try out in The Mountain State, I hope this gave you some ideas.
If you have something to suggest, send me a message with two to three sentences about the dish, the restaurant, and a photo if you have one.
Thanks for reading, now happy eating!
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