CJ Maggies – Downtown, Buckhannon, WV
C.J. Maggie’s is like a Diamond in the Rough of central West Virginia. I was turned onto this joint about three years ago. I think I was hooked at that point. This trip over the past Weekend, was for that infamous Strawberry Festival that this town hosts every year in the spring… Believe me – you need to witness it once.. Anyhow, when in Rome, do as the Romans.. or something like that… and if the Buckvilleians do not eat here.. well then they should.
Today, we started off with their fresh cut potato chips ~ I have to say these are typically very good, and this time was no exception. My main course was the Buffalo Chicken Pizza – the intent my guess is that it’s a pizza that is supposed to have that chicken wing flavor. It’s a little bit spicy and not too bad. I can’t really say too much about it. The service was good and the beer was cold. The only problem I really had is one I think I’ll write about in a future post. (mental note – post on waiting in line versus waiting at an empty table). The visit to CJ’s today was about average – I’ll give it three forks for the visit.
Normally I’d say most of my experiences would probably rank around four forks just today something was a little off. The food isn’t that expensive, several different styles of pizza’s that probably average $8 – $10 in price. They are large enough to split with two people and be satisfied. Their pasta dishes for the one’s I tried are great. Sandwiches / Burgers have all been good with no complaints. The menu has about 700 different items on it – figuratively. My only problem is that I have yet to have that “I have to have that” dish here yet, and I’m starting to think I never will. If they had that one dish, I probably would give it four forks every time. Three Forks today.
PART I – Now THAT’S a Fish Sandwich
This week I am in my hometown of Buckhannon, WV enabling my younger daughter to play princess in the 67th Annual WV Strawberry Festival. Anytime I visit Buckhannon, I try to make it to my favorite restaurant and this week is no exception. I managed to wait a couple days but I couldn’t take it anymore so we headed off to CJ Maggie’s for lunch on my third day in town.
The restaurant is on Main Street in an old storefront that CJ has decorated with all sorts of antique artifacts. The booths are very private with light fixtures made of upside-down galvanized tubs. If you don’t ever make it to Buckhannon, try one of the other locations in Elkins, Ashland, KY or Fairmont. (Oh goodie – another place I could stop on the way home from a WVU game!)
The only bad thing about CJ’s is I like so many things on their varied menu, it’s tough to make up my mind about what to order. They have big salads, big sandwiches, big pastas, (are you noticing a trend?) brick-oven pizzas, a few tex-mex options, unusual appetizers and some meat & tater offerings. These sandwiches and pastas are not only big, but they are original and different from what you can get anywhere else. They have an awesome, unusual side called Alfredo Bites. These little jewels are cubes of fettucini alfredo that are breaded and subsequently deep fried, served with alfredo and marinara sauces. As you may have guessed already, this restaurant will get a lot of forks from me.
Today, I ordered the Codzilla. It’s a gigantic fish sandwich with a side of homemade kettle chips for $6.99. This meal is so big, I have split it with my Dad before, the man who gave me a love of the Fish Sandwich. Take a look at this photo – I stacked as much fish as I could on the huge bun and still had one entire fillet that had to stand alone. I received not one, not two, but THREE big cod fillets, hand-breaded with Panko and fried to a delightful crispness. The fillets were thick enough to get a good taste of fish but in perfect proportion to the wonderful breading. The bun was crispy and warm, called Hearth Bread in these parts, and the chips were great. They also serve homemade fries they call Fribos, which are also….you guessed it: awesome!
I have never seen a fish sandwich like this one anywhere else, and certainly not at the Tricky Fish. Heck, my leftover fillet was three times what the Tricky Fish gave me on their $7.95 sandwich.
My daughter ordered a kids’ meal – there are about a half dozen choices, and she received a big portion of Spa-Get-E and announced that it was delicious. Her meal was $3.95 and her soda was $.50. Seeing as how I was on vacation, I didn’t order a soda (but it would have been $1.89 if I had) and instead enjoyed a cold Michelob Ultra draft for $2.50.
Based on the atmosphere, choice, portion size, value and tastiness of the food, I hereby declare CJ Maggie’s receives FIVE FORKS. I think I’ll come back tomorrow for a pasta!
PART II – The Brick Oven Fires Up a Tasty Pizza!
I did return the following evening when Ron arrived in town. My original plan was to order the Thai One On – a spicy pasta dish with chicken, veggies and a peanut sauce. But that meal is, as I have mentioned earlier, BIG and it comes with bread and a salad. In fact, the salad that comes with the meal would suffice for an entire lunch entree. I did not have the gastronomical fortitude to handle that much food, so I opted for its cousin, the Thai Chicken Pizza.
The pizzas are made in the brick oven, which produces a delightfully crispy/chewy crust. Piled high with chicken breast, this pizza also sports carrots, green onions, chopped peanuts, and a peanutty sauce, along with a nice coating of mozzarella cheese. My pizza was priced at $8.99 and we could have easily split one if we could have agreed on a flavor. As it turned out, we took half of each pizza home with us and Ron ate it for breakfast the next morning.
Ron ordered the homemade chips as an appetizer for only $2 – what a value. I enjoyed a glass of house Merlot for $4 – I like the combination of wine and pizza.
The pizza didn’t thrill me as much as some of the other offerings, but I knew that going in and ordered it anyway. That is in no way meant to imply that I did not like it – just not as much as I love some of the other dishes. My rating stands at FIVE FORKS.