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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

Randy Moss hopes to score with new Huntington restaurant

NFL superstar Randy Moss regularly lit up the football field with fireworks during his time playing at Marshall University for two seasons back in the ’90s. More than 25 years later, he’s now hoping to make a similar Boom back in Huntington.

A selection of chicken sandwiches from Chick-a-Boom
A selection of chicken sandwiches from Chick-a-Boom

A Chick-a-Boom, that is.


That’s the name of the restaurant he’s opening inside The Market, on the southeast corner of 8th Street and 3rd Avenue downtown, where The Corner Hoagies & Hops used to be. It will be West Virginia’s first location for the restaurant, which Moss invested in when Chick-a-Boom opened its first location in Philadelphia last summer.


Randy Moss in the kitchen - photo from Chick-a-Boom
Randy Moss in the kitchen - photo from Chick-a-Boom

During that grand opening, the former Minnesota Viking himself worked a full shift back in the kitchen, helping the restaurant make quite a splash thanks to raving customer reviews for what Chick-a-Boom claims is “the best chicken sandwich in America.”


That’s quite a claim, but one that seems believable coming from a player known as “The Freak” for his freakishly amazing talents, gravity-defying jumps and acrobatic catches on the field.


“Stay tuned West Virginia,” Moss, a West Virginia native, said in a recent social media post. “I tell you, I’ve got love for you all. I’m coming back home with something big.”


With four locations now in Pennsylvania, the emerging chain specializes in over-the-top (of course!) chicken sandwiches, wings and crazy chicken-and-waffle combinations. How crazy? Try Fruity Pebbles or Cinnamon Toast Crunch chicken and waffles, along with Banana Nut Crunch, Blueberry Cream or Peaches & Cream.


Wings from Chick-a-Boom
Wings from Chick-a-Boom

And those Hall of Fame-bound sandwiches come in combinations like Honey Mustard, Buffalo, Mango Habanero, Honey Garlic Parmesan, Barbecue, Jalapeno Honey and Sweet Thai Chili, which Moss says is his personal favorite.


Breakfast options include various biscuit, muffin or chicken-and-waffle sandwiches, along with chicken and waffles, yogurt parfaits, hash browns and signature BoomNuts. BoomWhats? Those are housemade donuts in flavors like Maple Turkey Bacon, Cinnamon Sugar, Fruity Pebbles, Chocolate Dreamer, Cinnamon Toast and more.


“I can't wait to bring it back home to my people in West Virginia,” Moss added. “I want my people to come on out and enjoy this food.”


No opening date has been set, but stay tuned here for more details!

WV State Parks Get a Culinary Boost


In case you missed it, officials announced last week that restaurants at West Virginia State Parks will soon be getting a culinary upgrade thanks to a new relationship with a celebrated Mountain State chef.


Chef Matt Welsch from Vagabond Kitchen
Chef Matt Welsch from Vagabond Kitchen

That guy is “Vagabond Chef” Matt Welsch, owner of Vagabond Kitchen in Wheeling, who’s been tapped to help state parks source local ingredients and prepare them with Appalachian flair.


Often found traveling the state’s highways and byways in search of authentic local food, Welsch has already been serving as a culinary ambassador for the West Virginia Department of Tourism and previously gained fame as a winner on the Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” cooking show, where his Appalachian influence played a heavy role in his winning dishes.


Moving forward, state tourism officials hope the blend of Appalachian culture and elevated cuisine will be a winning combination for guests when they come play, stay and dine at West Virginia’s state parks.


Welsch’s first order of business in this new role will be overseeing food served at the “Taste of West Virginia Event” being offered as part of National Hunting and Fishing Weekend activities later this month, which will showcase new items now on the menu at Cacapon, Hawks Nest, Chief Logan and Twin Falls state parks.

Double Gold Brings in the Business


As I’ve shared here many times before, I get such pleasure out of shining a light on local restaurants, chefs and entrepreneurs who are hustling to make a name for themselves – and West Virginia’s burgeoning food-and-drink scene – right here at home.


Future home of Chick-a-Boom in Huntington
Future home of Chick-a-Boom in Huntington

So it did my heart good to wake up to this post the morning after my column last week ran, sharing the news of The Bullock Distillery’s prestigious Double Gold award-winning bourbon.


“Man, we almost had a line when we opened the doors this morning, only to discover why,” the West Side distillery shared on its Facebook page. “Great article from Charleston Gazette-Mail and WV Food Guy, Steven Keith, covering our recent win in San Francisco. Thanks guys! Come try the bourbon that is helping put West Virginia on the spirits map!”


I’m certainly doing my part. I’m a regular customer of Bullock bottles these days, and picked up two to share with current and former West Virginia-based friends during a guys getaway to Canaan Valley this weekend.


Cheers!


Blueberry Cream Chicken and Waflles from Chick-a-Boom
Blueberry Cream Chicken and Waflles from Chick-a-Boom

• • •


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 wvfoodguy@aol.com.

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