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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

The Pitch scores with new menu items and dinner specials

After being forced to briefly close after this month’s double-whammy of severe storms, The Pitch of WV has not only reopened – but with a new menu, new weekly dinner specials and the return of a popular pizza.


Braised Chicago beef sandwich from The Pitch
Braised Chicago beef sandwich from The Pitch






I recently stopped by to try a few of the new items and was immediately reminded why I dig this place so much. Reminded, but not surprised.


I mean, how many sports bars do you know that are led by a two-time James Beard Finalist chef? Paul Smith’s partnership in that popular pub at Shawnee Sports Complex between Dunbar and Institute continues to pay delicious dividends.


One of my favorite new items is the zesty corn ribs with serrano ranch, candied jalapenos and queso fresco. For those who are unfamiliar, this trendy “it” dish of the moment is made by slicing full cobs of corn into smaller slabs that are then grilled, seasoned and/or sauced.


Corn ribs from The Pitch
Corn ribs from The Pitch

The other dish I dug is a Chicago braised beef sandwich with spicy giardiniera that looks plain at first sight, but is anything but. A soft hoagie bun is stuffed with moist, seasoned, thin-shaved beef that nearly melts in your mouth with each bite.


There’s also a new BLT, pimento grilled cheese sandwich, deviled egg salad sandwich, cast-iron shrimp scampi, beet burger and apps like edamame with sweet Thai chili sauce, buffalo cauliflower with herbed buttermilk dip, buffalo chicken dip and spinach dip.


Every Thursday night at The Pitch now brings a new chef’s dinner special, with recent offerings like prime rib with mashed potatoes and creamed corn; shrimp carbonara with bacon, corn, peas, tomato, egg and parmesan; a salmon burger with pickled red onion; and a salmon cake salad with spring mix, spinach, carrots, cucumbers and roasted peppers in a strawberry champagne vinaigrette.


And that returning pizza I mentioned? That’s The Greenhorn, a gloriously messy pie piled high with green tomatoes, pimento cheese, bacon, pickled red onion and a mozzarella-cheddar blend drizzled with serrano ranch.


It – and the new menu items I’ve tried so far – are so, so good.


  • IF YOU GO: The Pitch of WV at 2947 Fairlawn Ave. at Shawnee Sports Complex in Dunbar is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. For more information, call 304-205-4017, visit www.thepitchwv.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.


 

Tidewater & Chop House closing is the end of an era


Much has now been said about this week’s sudden, permanent closing of Tidewater Grill and The Chop House, two iconic restaurants at Charleston Town Center that had been serving regional guests for the past 39 and 22 years, respectively.


Most people seemed shocked (or at least saddened) by the news, while others said they saw it coming based on factors they swore led to their demise.


Salmon cake burger from The Pitch
Salmon cake burger from The Pitch

Rumors were rampant. The parent company went belly-up! Corporations don’t care about smaller markets! The mall quadrupled their rent! Food costs got out of control! They can’t hire enough workers! The food and service aren’t as good as they once were!


Some of those rumors were just that, although a few of them probably played at least a small role in what I’m sure was a tough decision. And yes, as a food critic, I do believe the food and service quality at both had fallen to unacceptably inconsistent levels of late, which is tough to bounce back from.


The real scoop, according to President and CEO Kevin Gudejko of restaurant parent company Mainstreet Ventures, is that both restaurants had been losing thousands of dollars since the pandemic and the company could no longer wait on promised changes to the mall in the hopes of bringing business back.


"We waited as long as we could hoping that some of the changes promised — like new tenants and hotels — would materialize," Gudejko told the Charleston Gazette-Mail in a news story first published online Monday night. With both leases at the mall expiring this week, he said it was finally time to pull the plug.


Regardless of the reason, or how you feel about the restaurants themselves, there’s no doubt this is the end of an era in Charleston.


One of the mall’s original flagship restaurants, Tidewater was THE place you wanted to take out-of-town guests back in the day and a popular spot to enjoy your free birthday meal each year. And long before the days of 1010 Bridge, Noah’s Restaurant, Bridge Road Bistro, Bricks & Barrels and others, The Chop House was one of the city’s few “upscale” spots reserved for special occasions and expense accounts.


I’ve had stellar and sub-par meals at both places through the years, for sure, but I’ve also collected lots and lots of good memories along the way.


And for that, I’ll miss them both.


• • •


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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