Places To Eat
Twenty years ago Fayetteville was a culinary wasteland. Nary a cup of coffee to be found much less a decent meal. In the intervening years we have gotten really lucky, attracting some creative, talented restaurateurs who have opened well-run restaurants that feature imaginative food and authentic ambiance. We are staking our claim to having absolutely the best assortment of independent restaurants in the state. This season we are excited to welcome two new restaurants to our line up. Both sound like they are going to expand our options in interesting directions, burnishing our rep as a regional dining destination. Dig it!
Cathedral Café. This comfortable café, creatively done in an old church complete with stained glass windows, is the traditional place to start your day. Hospitable owner, Wendy Bayes, an ex-raft guide, offers breakfast and lunch in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. Check out their terrific soups and salads and leave room for the carrot cake, three time winner of Fayette County’s Best Dessert award. Lately Wendy has added Threads, a unique boutique featuring well chosen, lightly used clothing and footwear. Terrific assortment of gifts as well! If you are looking for a climbing partner or a river shuttle, just belly up to the bar and start talking. Located just off Court Square. Wifi available. Ask anyone to point you in the right direction. 304-574-0202
Vandals Kitchen. Coming in June! Located across from Cathedral Cafe up on the hill in the big white house. Expect: breakfast and lunch, simple hearty fare, limited but soulful menu, local produce, good coffee and pastries…a comfortable, homey hang out with really nice owners. We are really looking forward to this addition to our restaurant line up. Stay tuned for more details. Like them on facebook.
Pies and Pints. We are going out on a limb here: This is the best pizza on the planet. We know that sounds crazy but we dare you to check it out. You’ll find gourmet pizza on a homemade crust with combinations of ingredients that will redefine your idea of what pizza is all about. (Gorgonzola, grape and rosemary?!) The spinach salad is to die for and the beer aficionados among you will swoon over the beer list. Don’t miss the root beer on tap—dreamy. Best Wings Ever–baked with a memorable dry rub. Eat inside or out. Highly competent servers keep this family-friendly place cranking. Live music and specials offered during the summer. Take a right at the only light, on left after three long blocks. Pies is now franchising with additional locations in Ohio and West Virginia. 304-574-2200. www.piesandpints.net
Diogi’s. You will have to look across the highway as this popular restaurant has moved. Located across Rt 19 from Dairy Queen and Comac, at the Laurel Creek exit, Diogi’s is under new ownership/management. You’ll find a modified menu and potent margaritas. Stay tuned for more details.
The Station. Coming late July. Oscar Aguilar, one of WV’s up and coming chef’s, built his reputation at his first restaurant, Diogi’s. He will be back in the kitchen of this new venture. The menu will feature locally sourced food, including pasta, burgers, seafood and steaks. Kirk and Amy will be your hosts at this comfortable, pub-like spot. Darts! We have never had darts in town. Offering a full bar and outside seating, it looks like this place could become the spot for having a drink with your crew…Stay tuned for more details.
Wild Flour Bakery. Fayetteville has a bakery and it is a winner. Located uptown next to Ben Franklin, Wild Flour features affordable sandwich deals, bagels, sour dough bread and an amazing assortment of crag treats. Climbers are grabbing pepperoni rolls for the crag. 304-574-0001
Gumbo’s. Owner, Susan Jones, a well-respected local restaurateur, offers terrific Cajun, Creole and Low-Country cuisine. Try her specials. Many of us believe you can’t get a better meal in this town! She is getting ready to relocate from her cozy, hole-in-the-wall space to a larger corner location next door. This spot has become a favorite with locals and tourists alike. According to many locals, there local beef burger is the best in town. Also check out their shrimp and grits, black and blue shrimp and the awesome crawfish salad. Save room for outrageous desserts like the brownie sundae… Moderate prices and generous portions make this the best lunch deal around. Beer and wine available. Drink and meal specials. 304-574-4704
Secret Sandwich Society. The word sandwich can imply a certain pedestrian ordinariness (Subway anyone?) that in no way applies to what is being served at this terrific restaurant. Started by local restaurant gurus Tashia and David Bailey, current owner Lewis Rhinehart has continued the top shelf tradition and expanded the menu to include burgers and the best soups in town. The bread comes from a bakery in Lewisburg. The pickles, cole slaw, mac-n-cheese are all homemade, as are the potato chips, which just may be the single best thing that has happened to Fayetteville in a long time. The sandwiches are characterized by imaginative ingredients and combos and presidential names. Eat one of each and you become a member of the Secret Society. The salads are loaded and the soups are hearty. There are no words to adequately describe the Key Lime Pie. The outdoor deck is killer. Open every day except Tuesday from 11-9, Fri and Sat. open til 10. Located in the old Diogi’s space which used to be the old Pies and Pints space, underneath what used to be New River Bike and Tour. Are you following this? 304-574-4777 WiFi available. www.secretsandwichsociety.com
Stache. Located next to the Historic Fayette Theatre. We are so fortunate to have an old-fashioned kid-friendly ice cream parlor! You will find a full selection of ice cream, candy and toys. 304-574-3005
Dirty Ernie’s Rib Pit. A popular après-rafting spot, this is the place for meat-lovers—ribs are what they do best. It has a relaxed atmosphere and a menu that offers something for everyone. Kids love it because they can throw peanut shells on the floor; mothers love it because they don’t have to worry about what their kids do. The French Onion soup is a winner. They can accommodate larger groups. Closed Nov-April. Located just off Rt. 19 on Keller Ave. 304-574-4822.
Tudor’s Biscuit World. Normally we don’t mention chain restaurants with much enthusiasm, but, aside from serving as the landmark for entering Fayetteville, Tudor’s has its place if you need a quick and greasy breakfast. The Dottie is a Fayetteville tradition. 304-574-3820
Also available in Fayetteville: Out on Rt. 19 where the sprawl is sprawling, the fast food joints are propagating like rabbits. Suit yourself.
Oak Hill is five minutes south of Fayetteville. If you continue south on Rt. 19 you will come to a large strip mall, Fayette Square, on your right. K-mart and Kroger anchor this mall.
Cafe 110. Located on Main Street, this cafe is worth a visit. A solid menu and solid service.
Rio Grande Also located in the above-mentioned strip mall, this family friendly Mexican restaurant offers a sprawling menu, quick service and cheap prices. They have recently undergone a significant remodel. 304-465-5434
Chico’s. Our pick in the Tex-Mex department, this family-run business offers better chips and stronger margaritas as well as an extensive selection of Mexican entrees. A friendly atmosphere and cheerful décor make you more inclined to smile at the goofy donkey mascot. Kids are welcomed with crayons, a coloring sheet and a kids menu. 304-469-6505
OK Chinese Restaurant. The name about sums it up—solid Chinese food, nothing to write home about—but it beats the Peking Buffet, also located in this mall. 304-465-8465
Oak Hill also offers the full complement of fast food restaurants if you are so inclined. They are clustered at the Fayette Town Center Mall, the Lochgelly exit, or further south at the Main Street exit.
NORTH OF THE BRIDGE (NoBri as we call it…)
Mackies. Located across the road from the National Park Service Visitor Center is our brand spanking new version of a German beer garden. Featuring gourmet sliders and brats, this joint is kid, dog and hippie friendly. Outside seating and a casual atmosphere are a promising combo. While you are at it, take a tour of the big bridge from Bridgewalk, located in the same building.
Country Thai. Ging is from Thailand and she knows what she is doing! Authentic Thai food has come to Fayette County. The menu is set daily and while you might not have choice, you will most likely be happy. Located right off 19 on Ames Heights Rd. 304-900-1188
The Burrito Bar When you wrap up your day at Endless or Beauty you will want to check this ideal post-cragging spot out, located right off Lansing Rd. next to Chestnut Creek Campground. The menu is tightly focused, the food is fine, but the view, holy smokes, the view! Best sunset opportunity in the county. Props to the owners for booking terrific music regularly. This place is relaxed and fun! Check their website for band listings…impressive… www.theburritobarwv.com
Smokey’s on the Gorge Located less than a mile off Rt 19, Smokey’s and its more downscale companion, Chetty’s, are Adventures on the Gorge’s terrific restaurants. While you are there be sure to check out the overlook which will give you a mind bending view of the New River Gorge Bridge. Smokey’s is housed in a stunning timber framed pavilion with huge decks offering spectacular views of the gorge. They offer a buffet that blends culinary sophistication with down-home West Virginia hospitality. The salad bar will knock your socks off. A full bar and a solid wine list complement the buffet. The buffet isn’t cheap but the experience is well worth it. 304-574-4905
Chetty’s Located on the second floor of Adventures on the Gorge’s reception building, this is a more casual, sports bar kind of a place. Hearty sandwiches, wings and appetizers dominate the menu. The atmosphere is lively and fun with the widescreen TVs tuned to sports or rafting videos. A foosball table on the porch will keep the kids occupied until the food arrives, or better yet, they can rage around outside at the playground. During the season, Wing Night is Monday and it is happenin’. Cheap wings and loads of rafters/boaters/climbers make it the social night par excellence. 304-574-4905 or 304-574-0704
The Sub Shack While Ansted is a small town worth checking out, you aren’t ging to find much in the way of restaurants! However, this little spot does offer good, solid homemade sandwiches for the right price. 304-658-4027
Café Cimino. We include this restaurant because it is widely considered to be the best in West Virginia. You will have to drive an hour north to get there but, it is totally worth it–haute cuisine served in West Virginia’s trademark down-home relaxed way. So, if you are celebrating something big and want to pull out all the stops, call for a reservation. 304-765-2913 or 1-877-9cimino
There are surprisingly few reasons to head to Beckley to eat—lots of chains…but, sometimes you’ve just gotta have sushi so you have to head south…
Fujiyama A typical Japanese Steak House with knife-flippin’, shrimp chuckin’ chefs and darn good sushi. 250-0288
Kimono. the main reason you head to Beckley is for the Marquee Cinemas. Located in the same strip mall, this restaurant does a nice job with sushi etc…Dinner and a movie anyone?
BARS AND PUBS
Well, we told you we’d give you the inside scoop so here it is. The bar scene is limited at best and it is sure to give you plenty of local flavor. There are only a few to mention, the others you can explore at your own risk.
- Maggie’s. This charming and teeny little speakeasy is tucked into a small space located next to Studio B across from Dirty Ernie’s. Full bar, unobtrusive gambling machines, and nice atmosphere make this a great location for a drink with friends in a non-smokey environment. No photos please, this places respects your privacy! Congrats to Sharon Rynard for creating yet another cool Fayetteville business.
- Rendezvous Lodge. Located in the Rivermen facility across from Adventures on the Gorge. This bar is super fun. Great music, great atmosphere, well laid out, not smokey, young folks having big fun. What more could you ask for?
- Charlie’s Pub is underneath the defunct Sherry’s in Fayetteville at the south end of town (ask anybody). We doubt you’ll find a stiffer, cheaper highball anywhere or thicker smoke for that matter. Friendly locals will make you feel right at home. Feel free to show off your prowess at the pool table if you like. RIP Charlie. You were a good man.
- The Pub on Gatewood. This friendly place offers karaoke Wednesday and Friday and a live band every Saturday. Not as smoky! And the kitchen stays open all night offering Philly steaks, burgers and sandwiches. Lottery machines. Located at Cantrell’s Ultimate Rafting about a mile out Gatewood Rd. 574-2500
- Elliott’s at the Quality Inn. Your basic sports bar with basic bar food and karaoke now and then. 574-3443
- Rose’s Hideaway is another friendly local bar that offers solid bar food and daily specials. Pool table, cheap drinks and a comfortable atmosphere, not far off Rt 19 on Smales Branch Rd, north of Rt 60.
- Tractor Bar. Several years ago this bar was featured in Gentlemen’s Quarterly Magazine in an article titled “The Dirty Dozen: the Twelve Wildest, Weirdest Bars in America Worth a Road Trip.” Located 20 mi. north of Fayetteville in Mt. Nebo, this well known tavern is in an old tractor dealorship. You’ll find tractor seat bar stools, antique tractors and more tractor paraphernalia decorating the place. Bands every weekend. Owner Steve says that “We are the place that people who like to dance come to.” There you have it! Happy Hour every day from 11-7. Sunday $1 Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers. Open mic night is Wed. 304-872-8100
Groceries and Snacks
Kroger used to be the biggest grocery around and is still the local favorite. Oak Hill. 469-2921
Super Walmart Yep, we have one too…Located in a big strip mall on Rt. 19 at Whitewater Avenue. 574-1086
Lansing General Store You’ll pass Seth and Sierra’s packette (as convenience stores are called around these parts) on your way to Endless Wall or Beauty Mountain. This one is stocked with the tourist in mind—think s’mores, cold beer, charcoal and wood, but the new owners are definitely bringing a more healthy and holistic approach to stocking their store. Farm Fresh Eggs and local produce in season. Seems to be open whenever you need it! 574-1654