Summer’s almost here, it's time for some tasty road trips!
With summer fast approaching (can I get an amen?) it seems like I’m not the only one who’s itching to hit the road. The Food Guy inbox is quickly filling up with requests for my top picks for some of the best restaurants to visit around the state. And I'm here for it.
Anything new to like in Lewisburg? Where’s the best place to eat in Elkins? What are some of my favorite spots on the road to Morgantown? I’ll be sharing the answers to all of these questions and more this week and next.
So let’s dig in!
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I’ve received several requests asking if there’s anything new to report on Lewisburg’s restaurant scene and, thanks to a recent visit, I can happily say there is.
After enjoying the awesome Blue Sulphur Pizza (garlic oil, house-blend cheeses, shaved prosciutto, shaved Brussels, gorgonzola and hot honey drizzle) at one of my favorites spots there, The Humble Tomato, I took a walkabout town and stumbled upon a newish German-themed indoor/outdoor craft beer bar cleverly named Briergarten.
Biergarten + Greenbrier County = Briergarten. Love it! Granted it’s been open a year now, but it was still a discovery to me.
Decorated to resemble a traditional European beer garden, Briergarten’s festive space features long tables stretched out for folks to gather over a small menu of food items and a larger selection of mostly European-style brews, plus hard seltzers, ciders, wine and gluten-free beers.
Having just scarfed down a pizza, I had to pass on nibbles like brats, wursts, hotdogs, pretzels and pepperoni rolls. But a full belly didn’t stop me from sipping on a flight of brews featuring a German pilsner, Kolsch, lager and Dunkel.
Located just steps off the main street through downtown, Briergarten is a fun new stop on any Lewisburg pub crawl, a great way to while away a Saturday, or maybe the perfect spot for a drink before heading on to one of the town’s full-service restaurants for dinner.
IF YOU GO: Briergarten, located at 121 Straton Aly in Lewisburg, is open from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to midnight Friday-Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 304-520-4039, visit www.briergarten.com or visit the beer garden’s Facebook page.
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Reader Amy Elizabeth recently reached out wondering if I had any great food or cocktail spots in Elkins that I’d recommend.
In full disclosure, I told her the only Elkins spot I’ve been to recently is Smoke on the Water, a sprawling casual BBQ joint on your way out of town as you head to Canaan Valley. I then also disclosed that the trout spread appetizer and brisket dinner with coleslaw and mac-and-cheese I ordered there were all fine, just not stellar.
But I did roll out my repertoire of other Elkins hot spots I’ve been to (or heard about) through the years. I specifically mentioned Vintage Restaurant and Wine Bar, which has been on my hit list for a while, Mama Mia Pie & Pasta, which I recently discovered, and El Gran Sabor, which I adore for its flavorful Venezuelan food, cool Latin vibe, creative cocktails and occasional live music.
She ended up liking the latter as well, sending this follow-up report after her visit.
“El Gran Sabor had ramp cachapas at the ramp festival this past weekend and we loved them! Thanks for responding as I am sure we will be back to Elkins to visit the wine bistro,” she wrote. “Until then, I look forward to trying your recent recommendations in the Charleston area!”
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Tune in again next week when I take you on an unusual culinary tour through some of the signature, new and unexpected stops around Fairmont and Marion County. Like epic burgers in the back of a laundry mat and fine-dining tucked in a building where you’d least expect it.
Buckle up and wear your stretchy pants. I did.
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PS – Before signing off, I wanted to share this quick update on three restaurants that I recently reported had temporarily closed for various reasons.
I’m happy to let you know that not only are Kita Modern Japanese at Southridge, Ristorante Abruzzi at WV Power Park and First Watch on Summers Street all open again, but I’ve also visited all three within the past week to enjoy fantastic experiences all around.
Be sure to plan your own return visits soon!
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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 email@example.com.