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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

Phat Daddy’s moving from the tracks and into a new building

After chugging along in an open-air barbecue joint along the railroad tracks on Charleston’s West Side (or Elk City, as the cool kids now call it) Phat Daddy’s on Da Tracks will soon move into a new brick-and-mortar restaurant at 1634 6th Ave. near Patrick Street.

Seafood platter from Phat Daddy's on Da Tracks
Seafood platter from Phat Daddy's on Da Tracks

Located at 480 Railroad Ave. since the summer of 2021, Phat Daddy’s offers a menu of appetizers like honey butter or honey sriracha wings and empanadas, plus sides like fresh-cut fries, onion rings, tater tots, seasoned cabbage, white cheddar mac-and-cheese, baked beans and baked potato.

Rosemary ribs with sides
Rosemary ribs with sides

Sandwiches include smoked pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket or rosemary ribs on a ciabatta roll; chopped steak-and-cheese or chopped chicken with onions and peppers; fried whiting or catfish on white bread; and a quarter-pound beef hot dog with homemade chili and white cheddar cheese.

Specialty bowls feature marinated grilled shrimp over basmati rice with pico de gallo and avocado cream; grilled steak with steamed broccoli; blackened fish topped with seasoned cabbage; and smoked chicken with mac-and-cheese topped with scallions.

(Or you can build your own veggie bowl for a choice of options.)

And entrees will get you fried or grilled shrimp, fried whiting, fried catfish, salmon cakes or ribs – sometimes in multiple combinations – with hearty sides.

Phat Daddy’s well remain open at its current location along the tracks through this Saturday, then will close to take a break and begin the move exactly 1.5 miles west to their new digs. Hours this week are 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Even more Mexican on the way

After last week’s news of Cozumel Cantina & Grill on the River opening in Jefferson and Plaza Maya getting ready to open a second location in Kanawha City, here’s even more scoop on the Mexican food front.

Honey butter wings from Phat Daddy's
Honey butter wings from Phat Daddy's

Sources say yet another Los Amigos will soon open a third – yes, third – location where The Pitch of Kanawha City was located outside the old Kanawha Mall.

So yes, just like coffee shops in Seattle, it looks like the Kanawha Valley will soon have a Mexican restaurant every few blocks. 

Best dish from FeastivALL

During a fundraising feast where guests dined on the likes of tuna tartare wontons, Tuscan bean soup, braised wagyu beef cheek Bourguignon and strawberry shortcake, who knew it would be a Humble little salad that stole the show?

Hot dog and onion rings from Phat Daddy's
Hot dog and onion rings from Phat Daddy's

Prepared by the Lewisburg restaurant’s owner, Emily Isaac, The Humble Tomato’s unassuming plate featured baby arugula, shaved Brussels sprouts, candy-striped beets, roasted fennel, toasted pine nuts and Parmesan Reggiano dressed with a tomato vinaigrette.

And it was amazing.

Since this was dinner benefiting the arts, let me put it this way. The different tastes and textures provided by the roasted fennel, toasted pine nuts, earthy beets and tangy dressing combined to create a beautiful symphony of satisfying flavors.


Savannah’s closes in Huntington

I was sad to recently hear that one of my favorite restaurants in Huntington suddenly closed last month after 27 years in business.

Although I hadn’t been back in a few years, I always included Savannah’s in my list of the top restaurants in the state anytime someone asked.

Fish bowl from Phat Daddy's
Fish bowl from Phat Daddy's

Tucked in a charming circa-1903 house in Huntington – peppered with small dining rooms throughout with a bistro area added in later years – the cozy place always provided fantastic food, wine and service every time I visited, without fail.

It was one of those restaurants that understood what it meant to offer a great overall dining “experience” – which goes beyond just the food – and they did that very well.

The original owner of Savannah’s sold the restaurant in 2020 to Tara Dunn, who had worked there for the previous 20 years, and Dunn reopened it as Savannah’s Bistro that same year.

“We love you, we love you, we love you,” Dunn said in a Facebook post announcing the closure. “This has been a wonderful endeavor and every single person who has supported myself and all of our staff will always have a special place in my heart. I will treasure the memories, celebrations, tears and laughter we have shared. Cheers to the next adventure!”

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

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