Hinton has become a dining destination with two unique restaurants.
There are many reasons to visit Hinton: a charming historic downtown, outdoor recreation on the New River, a hub for railroad enthusiasts, and close proximity to both Sandstone Falls and Pipestem Resort State Park. But two unexpected—yet equally deserving—reasons are The Market on Courthouse Square and Chessie’s on the Square.
Both businesses are owned by MountainPlex, a company dedicated to the restoration and sustainability of the Hinton Historic District. Under the guidance of Chef Kevin Hall, who before taking over as the culinary services manager previously worked at The Greenbrier and Tavern 1785, and executive Chef Sam Hall, who worked as the executive chef at Stella’s in Lewisburg before joining the team, these restaurants are drawing people from near and far.
Located in the heart of downtown, The Market on Courthouse Square has been dishing out gourmet sandwiches, creative burgers, fresh salads, and popular brick oven pizzas since it opened in 2010. Try the Market Meatball Sub, served on a baguette and topped with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese, or the Fireman Cuban Panini, served with sliced roast beef, black forest ham, Swiss cheese, spicy mustard, and dill pickles. The Locomotive Panini—grilled chicken breast, pesto mayonnaise, provolone cheese, tomato, lettuce, and onions—is another favorite.
You can’t go wrong with any of the Whistle Stop Salads, and the brick oven pizzas can hold their own with the best in the state. The Loaded Market Pizza is piled high with fresh toppings on the restaurant’s signature red sauce. But if you are in the mood for something different, try the Appalachian Pizza: a garlic white sauce-based pizza topped with spinach, country salt-cured ham, blue cheese, West Virginia maple-glazed walnuts, and fresh Granny Smith apples. And make sure you save room for dessert.
Answering the demand for a fine dining option in Hinton, in fall 2016 MountainPlex opened Chessie’s on the Square in a building adjoining The Market. Custom sepia murals depicting historic Hinton scenes line the walls, and the unique menu features Appalachian-inspired fare, like the Grilled Pork Chop—a 10-ounce apple cider–brined pork chop served with a ramp chimichurri sauce, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and vegetable du jour. Or opt for Chef Chris’s Andouille Encrusted Catfish, which is served with a crawfish cream sauce, rice pilaf, and vegetable du jour. At only $20 each, these mouthwatering and beautifully displayed dishes would easily go for twice the amount in a larger city. The Barbeque Shrimp and Grits and the Beef Tenderloin are also popular with regulars.
For dessert, try the Sweet Potato Pie, a Southern classic served with candied walnuts and salted caramel sauce and topped with fresh whipped cream and mint. There’s also the Appalachian Bread Pudding, a twist on classic bread pudding made with cornbread, golden raisins, and buttermilk, served with a maple crème anglaise and topped with fresh whipped cream, mint, and candied walnuts. Customers’ perennial favorite, though, is Chessie’s New York–style cheesecake.
When you find your way to Hinton, give one—or both—of these restaurants a try. Don’t be surprised if this charming town beckons you again and again. The Market on Courthouse Square, 200 Ballengee Street, 304.466.6626, themarketwv.com, “Market on Courthouse Square” on Facebook; Chessie’s on the Square, 405 Second Avenue, 304.466.2598, chessieswv.com, “Chessie’s on the Square” on Facebook
written and photographed by Nikki Bowman