The Best of West Virginia Awards 2013

The votes are in! Readers from all corners of the state have weighed in on their favorite eateries and entertainment venues, celebrities and care providers, shopping spots and scenic escapes.


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Food & Drink

BEST CHEF- It's a tie

Dale Hawkins

He’s a celebrity in West Virginia—a household name. Dale Hawkins grew up in Rock Cave and while he collected education and training from across the country, he brought his expertise home. With a style he coined New Appalachian Fare (local ingredients used in global dishes with a regional interpretation), Dale owns and operates Fish Hawk Acres, his family’s farm, and has devoted himself to developing a strong food network in the Mountain State. His latest endeavor, a community-supported kitchen, brings freshly prepared meals into West Virginia’s homes. Fish Hawk Acres

1 Fish Hawk Drive, Rock Cave, WV 26234; 304.924.9880;

Tim Urbanic

Tim was an early proponent of the farm-to-table movement in West Virginia, supporting local farms since he opened Café Cimino Country Inn in 1999 with his wife. Tim cites his grandmother, an immigrant from Calabria, and his mother as the most formative influences in his culinary style, instilling an early understanding of the difference fresh ingredients make and immersing him in the flavors of Southern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. These flavors continue to inform many of his award-winning recipes, and his restaurant draws droves of people from around the state to the tiny town of Sutton.

616 Main Street, Sutton, WV 26601; 304.765.2913;



Bluegrass Kitchen

Bluegrass Kitchen serves up comfort food for the savvy eater, prepared with healthy ingredients that are locally sourced. Each creative twist, like Fish and Chips breaded with craft beer and served with homemade tartar sauce or Short Ribs rubbed with sassafras and slow-braised, feels like a responsibly delicious return to the dishes that your grandma made. Don’t miss Sunday brunch, but get there early, as the bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas are in high demand.

1600 Washington Street East, Charleston, WV 25311; 304.346.2871;


At Diehl’s, comfort food is exactly how you remember it—except maybe a little better (sorry, Mom). Family-owned and operated for more than 50 years, the food is savory and homemade. Doled out in huge portions, Diehl’s offers classic dishes like fried chicken and pot roast with homemade rolls and all the country sides you could want. The deep-fried sage stuffing is a must-have.

152 Main Avenue, Nitro, WV 25143; 304.755.9353

Photographed by Elizabeth Roth


Pies and Pints

In 10 short years, Pies & Pints has become one of the state’s most popular eateries. After washing down your first slice of Grape Pie or Cuban Pork Pie with a Bridge Brew Works beer, you’ll already be planning your next visit. But it isn’t just the artisan pizzas and craft brews that keep people flocking through the doors. The hip, inviting environment somehow makes the pies and the pints taste even better.
219 West Maple Avenue, Fayetteville, WV 25840; 304.574.2200
222 Capitol Street, Charleston, WV 25301; 304.342.7437
1002 Suncrest Towne Centre Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505; 304.777.4749




Fairmont was the first place Guiseppe Argiro sold his now-famous coal miners’ snack, and that’s where Colasessano’s began selling their version of the state’s official food more than 50 years ago. The pepperoni bun is a huge chunk of freshly baked bread filled with long strips of pepperoni. If you want, you can get them sliced open and stuffed with Oliverio peppers (out of Clarksburg), provolone cheese, and homemade sauce. What’s not to love?

506 Pennsylvania Avenue, Fairmont, WV 26554, 304.363.9713;
9705 Mall Loop, Fairmont, WV 26554; 304.363.0571
6120 Mid Atlantic Drive, Morgantown, WV 26508; 304.241.4917



Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream

When Ellen Beal isn’t playing flute for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, she’s whipping up the state’s favorite homemade ice cream. Fourteen standard flavors are fixed on the regular menu. The Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Mint Oreo are customer favorites. Each week Ellen rolls out new flavors to keep customers happy. The seasonal creamy pumpkin is anticipated all year.

225 Capitol Street, Charleston, WV 25301; 304.343.6488;

Photographed by Carla Witt Ford

Café Cimino Country Inn


In the historic P.J. Berry estate in downtown Sutton, Café Cimino Country Inn is a purveyor of genuine Southern hospitality. Its quaint, secluded location on the banks of the Elk River doesn’t impede owners Tim and Melody Urbanic from offering one of the most refined destinations in the state. Melody takes care of the guests, treating them to lavish, unexpected personal touches, while Tim prepares his award-winning cuisine for breakfast and dinner. Guests leave feeling like family.


The Urbanic family has made Café Cimino Country Inn a culinary destination, with elegant dishes composed of fresh, local ingredients prepared by Tim and son Eli. Dishes like Shellfish Pescatore (shrimp, clams, scallops, mussels, and calamari in a white wine-tomato sauce) and Filet Mignon Gorgonzola (a black angus filet served with potatoes and sautéed spinach atop a creamy Gorgonzola sauce) bring in classy culinary aficionados from across the state. It’s not just the food, though—the gracious brand of hospitality, overseen by Tim’s wife Melody, makes each guest a loyal guest.

616 Main Street, Sutton, WV 26601; 304.765.2913;

Photographed by Nikki Bowman


Hillbilly Hot Dogs

Before you step through the doors of Hillbilly Hot Dogs, you know you’re in for a unique experience. Every inch of this eatery’s buildings are covered in the owners’ quirky brand of rural charm, and the hot dogs are more of the same. Where else can you sit in an outhouse and eat a 15-inch, 3.5-pound hot dog called The Homewrecker?

6951 Ohio River Road, Lesage, WV 25537; 304.762.2458;
1501 3rd Avenue, Huntington, WV 25701; 304.522.0044


Cathedral Café

The most unique feature of Cathedral Café? It isn’t the whimsical hand-painted tables or the quirky selection of gifts. It isn’t the shelves stuffed with used books for buying and browsing. It isn’t the tortellini salad or the sweet potato pancakes (local favorites), or even the coffee. It’s the location. Housed in an old church in downtown Fayetteville, Cathedral Café has a distinct ambience with its domed ceilings and streams of colored light shining in through stained glass windows.

134 South Court Street, Fayetteville WV 25840; 304.574.0202


Coffee at Charleston’s Moxxee rivals the most sophisticated cafés in New York City. Assuming the principles of the Third Wave of Coffee, Moxxee approaches coffee with an artisanal flair. Beans are bought in small batches, roasted to exact specifications, and prepared using the latest technology—via vacuum with specially filtered water.

301 Morris Street, Charleston, WV 25301;

Taylor Books

Taylor Books is a Charleston institution. Tin ceilings, hardwood floors, and exposed brick feel trendy but inviting, and many residents start their day here at 7 a.m. with a cup of coffee and a fresh pastry. Customers are often seen enjoying their coffee while perusing the books, collections of specialty cards, or local art in the Annex Gallery.

226 Capitol Street Charleston, WV 25301; 304.342.1461;


King Tut’s Drive-In

Owned and operated by the McKay family since 1955, King Tut’s is so much more than traditional fast-food fare. A relic of a bygone era, guests are served homemade food by a carhop after they’ve parked. You can snag an award-winning pork barbecue sandwich on a homemade bun for less than $5 and finish up with a slice of coconut cream pie—also homemade, of course. Eating in your car is respectable—even cool—again.

301 North Eisenhower Drive Beckley, WV 2580; 304.252.6353;

Photo Courtesy of Muriale's


Muriale’s Italian Restaurant

Sitting inside one of the cozy dining rooms at Muriale’s, slurping down noodles coated with the deliciously complex red sauce, you’ll be so busy savoring each bite you might not notice how well you’re being treated. A doting service staff bustles about, ready to fill your glass or offer you to-die-for dessert. The homemade lasagna is famous amongst regulars, cooked in layers with the artfully blended house red sauce.

1742 Fairmont Avenue, Fairmont WV 26554; 304.363.3190;

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