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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

Lefty’s Place pizzas coming to Short Story in Charleston

Short Story Brewing Charleston has beer (and pizza!) fans all excited with the announcement that popular Morgantown-based pizza joint Lefty’s Place will soon be serving up slices at Short Story’s popular new taproom on Summers Street.

Detroit-style pizza from Lefty's Place
Detroit-style pizza from Lefty's Place

Having never been to Lefty’s, I was taken aback by all of the “oohs and aahs” following the announcement, so I did a little digging.

Open since 2016, the family-owned pizzeria at 503 Burroughs St. in Morgantown has secured a legion of fans throughout north-central West Virginia for its Detroit-style pizzas and calzones, multi-flavored wings, sandwiches served on fresh-baked 8” rolls, tasty bar apps, salads and more.

Basil-topped pepperoni pizza from Lefty's
Basil-topped pepperoni pizza from Lefty's

A small cocktail menu in Morgantown also includes tasty libations like a Strawberry Basil Lemonade with vodka; Lefty’s Lemonade with vodka, raspberry and Sprite; and a trio of different dark rum drinks featuring the likes of pineapple, coconut, banana, peach, cranberry or orange juice.

Although Lefty’s full menu won’t be available at its new Short Story location, their mouthwatering pizzas will be, along with a few other salads and such. (No wings or fries, though, since there’s no hood on site for ventilation.)

I spent the better part of an afternoon absolutely drooling over the restaurant’s Facebook photos showing both Detroit (thick) and Tavern-style (thin) pies like the Notorious P.I.G. (pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon), The Nucky (Italian sausage, red onion, cherry pepper and garlic), The Betty White (spinach, ricotta, garlic, olive oil) and The Mother Theresa (fried chicken, red onion, blue cheese crumbles, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing).

There are also Fully Loaded and Margherita options, or you can build your own pizza or calzone with your choice of nearly 20 toppings.

No specific opening date for the local Lefty’s has been announced yet, although Short Story says they’re shooting for the first week of May.

Hand-crafted West Virginia beers pairs with hand-made Detroit-style pizzas? Sign. Me. Up!

O’Charley’s closes at Trace Fork

When word got out this past Saturday that the O’Charley’s at Trace Fork was suddenly closing the next day, I had the same initial reaction as many.

It’s about time. No surprise there. Can’t believe it lasted that long.

I don’t like to see any restaurant go out of business, even a national chain, but that place had been on a downward spiral for years.

Supreme pizza from Lefty's Place
Supreme pizza from Lefty's Place

Just two weeks ago I was making a run to Lowe’s next door and realized I still had an O’Charley’s gift card that someone had given me months ago. I literally said to myself, self, you better use this now because there’s no way this place will be open much longer.

So I pulled in for a beer and a salad. All I can say is, the beer was good. Everything else – the food, service, décor, cleanliness, overall vibe – was just, well, sad.

But when I heard rumors that the place was closing this past weekend, I wanted to stop in and get the official word myself. When I did, I bellied up to the bar and started to pepper the staff with questions.

Here’s what I learned.

Yes, it closed this past Sunday. Yes, employees were only given a day or two notice, and that’s only because they started asking questions when a truck pulled up and started removing equipment from the building – while the restaurant was still open. Had that not happened, employees may not have had any notice at all.

Short Story Brewing in Charleston
Short Story Brewing in Charleston

And when I popped in on what was the last night they’d be open – during what should’ve been the dinner rush hour – I was one of only six (yes, six) customers in the entire restaurant.

But what we six customers saw was employees hugging and crying, knowing they would all be out of a job the next day and might never cross paths again.

And we heard employees talking about how much they loved working there and how hopeful they were that whoever takes over the building would succeed in ways they couldn’t.

Oh, the humanity.

I’ll always choose an independent, locally owned restaurant over a national chain, but my few minutes there reminded me that these are real people, not unlike you and me, who suddenly found themselves out of a job.

That hit hard, so I left with a heavy heart – and also a bit of scoop.

According to several sources, another company has apparently bought out the lease and is taking possession of the building, so there may be a new restaurant or business coming to the space soon. Stay tuned for details.

• • •

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 or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at

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Kevin Simpkins
Kevin Simpkins

If it’s a Mexican place or a sub place, I swear….

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