Is there a "Ramp Burger Battle" brewing in the Valley?
Updated: Apr 27
I’m surprised I didn’t get my West Virginia Card revoked for this, but I just now got around to trying the nearly world-famous “Ramp Burger” at Ridge View BBQ that folks around the Kanawha Valley (and beyond!) lose their collective minds over each spring.
Only on the menu for a limited time, this special creation from Ridge View in Institute features a half-pound premium Angus beef burger smothered with ramp-infused, house-made pimento cheese and topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato and pickle.
I had watched folks drool, post and rave about it for years – until Friday. That’s when I couldn’t wait any longer and rearranged my entire workday (sorry boss) to ensure I was in the drive-through line when the restaurant opened at 11 a.m.
In line, you say? Absolutely.
Cars seriously line up around the building before the place even opens so they don’t risk the restaurant selling out before they snag one. I didn’t believe it until, there I was, the 10th car in line Friday morning. Patiently waiting. For a burger.
The line moved quite quickly, though, so I grabbed my bag and pulled into the first empty lot I could find to demolish this bad boy.
My take? Burger heaven meets Appalachian nirvana.
My burger was a little dry, but the meat was nicely seasoned, like a true “steak” burger. It was a tad too salty for me, but I haven’t heard many others say the same. Different strokes.
But that gloriously chunky, rampy, cheesy filling that tops the patty and falls out in big globs with every bite? Well, that’s pretty much the truth right there. And after it fell onto the kettle chips and pickle spear that accompanied the burger, I realized it would make an awesome dip as well.
And if that weren’t indulgent enough, Fridays are now “Banana Pudding Day” at Ridge View, so I also got to sample (OK, devour) a giant creamy cup of luscious banana pudding that should’ve easily served 2-3 people.
Or one very hungry Food Guy.
IF YOU GO: Ridge View BBQ, 5010 Fairlawn Ave. in Institute, is currently open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, drive-through only. (There’s a large dine-in area, but it’s currently closed due to COVID.) For more information, call 304-400-4650, visit www.ridgeviewbbq.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.
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But this isn’t the end of my ramp story.
“Just wanted to let you know there could be a ramp burger throw-down of sorts going on at extreme ends of the valley,” reader George Douglas told me. “Ridge View BBQ in Institute has brought out their yearly offering and I just discovered that the Burger Carte in Smithers has one of their own.”
A super popular spot for burgers down near the Kanawha-Fayette county line, Burger Carte’s “Mountain Mama” is a 6-oz. steakhouse-style burger positively dripping with ramp aioli along with smoked gouda, bacon, lettuce and onion – plus a fried green tomato, to boot.
I can’t be the only one who thinks that sounds amazing.
Has anyone tried Burger Carte’s totally Appalachian creation yet? I’m wondering if it’s worth the 35-minute drive down US 60 to try it!
IF YOU GO: Burger Carte, 175 Virginia Ave. in Smithers, is currently open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 304-442-2071, visit www.burgercartefoods.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.
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Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.