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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

New Italian, Mexican restaurants coming to downtown Charleston

What better time than the eve of an annual food frenzy to bring you a heaping helping of local restaurant news.

Combat Zone Calzone from D. P. Dough
Combat Zone Calzone from D. P. Dough

We have a new Italian restaurant going in on Summers Street, a new Mexican joint coming to Capitol Street and another long-lost recipe to track down.

Happy Thanksgiving!

D. P. Dough

Known for its variety of warm-from-the-oven jumbo stuffed calzones, chain D. P. Dough is opening a new location at 166 Summers St. inside the old Subway there.

Roni Rolls from D. P. Dough
Roni Rolls from D. P. Dough

Created back in 1987 by “a dude and his mom,” D. P. specializes in delivering ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness on college campuses throughout the country.

(The downtown Charleston spot joins other West Virginia locations near Marshall University in Huntington and WVU in Morgantown.)

Dozens of specialty calzones include everything from Italian, pizza and chicken Parmesan to BBQ chicken, steak, cheeseburger, Hawaiian and more – or you can build your own from more than 35 different meats, veggies, cheeses and sauces. Some locations also offer wings, crispy golden tater tots, salads and ice cream.

Although the windows are still covered on Summers Street, I did peek inside this weekend to see workers moving about and walls partially painted red to match the restaurant’s Italian menu. The company’s website confirms the Charleston location is “coming soon.”

Stay tuned for more details and an opening date. In the meantime, you can learn more at

Cozumel Express Dos

A block away at 241 Capitol St., a large banner outside the old Rock City Bakery location – just a few doors down from the bakery’s recently announced Golden Bagel Company going in on the corner of Capitol and Lee – announces the future opening of Cozumel Express Dos.

Street Tacos from Cozumel
Street Tacos from Cozumel

According to an official Facebook page, this new offshoot of Cozumel Mexican Restaurant (with locations around the valley) will offer more of a “fast counter” concept, rather that meals served in a traditional sit-down setting.

“We are very excited to be joining the downtown Charleston community,” the restaurant announced last week. “We hope you are as excited as we are!”

A local favorite of many, Cozumel got its start in Ripley some 25 years ago when the current owners’ parents had a vision to start offering Mexican food to local guests before such places became so prevalent.

For more details about the menu and opening date, follow the restaurant's Facebook page.

• • •

I’ve heard from several readers who enjoyed the recent cottage cheese soup and meatloaf recipes I shared from old West Virginia restaurants. Now, let’s try to track down another.

Spinner Zone from D. P. Dough
Spinner Zone from D. P. Dough

“You’re so good at finding recipes from long ago restaurants,” wrote someone who asked just to be identified as a loyal reader.

“Back in the 50s, 60s and early ’70s, we had a small restaurant called the Toddle House with a couple locations in the Kanawha Valley, the last one being a very small house on Washington Street in the East End.”

This was a new one to me, so I leaned on my ol’ pal Google to learn this was a national chain of quick-service diners.

“They made the best grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches,” the reader continued. “A friend has an excellent recipe for pimiento cheese and when she shares some with me, I always grill a sandwich. But what was even more special was the chocolate cream pie they had.

“I know there are so many recipes for chocolate cream pie, but this one is by far the best you could ever have. Could you possibly find that recipe?”

There you have it, folks. Please tell me someone out there remembers the old Toddle House restaurants – and has a connection to it?

• • •

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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