On a recent trip to Wheeling, WV three members of the five were looking for a couple of good places to eat. So being pretty proficient with the web we consulted Yelp and Urban Spoon. You have to wonder about the accuracy these social network restaurant review sites. You would hope that the cream would rise to the top, but I suspect that some restaurants and their fans know how to game the system. I checked out Yelp! and at the top of the list was the Ye Olde Alpha Club with 4.5 stars, but only 4 reviews. Apparently Wheeling is not Yelping. Next I wanted to see where Urban Spoon would have us dine. Again in the number one position was the Alpha Club with 119 votes and an 88% approval rating. So it was decided.
I arrived in Wheeling late and picked up a very hungry Susan and Misty. Utilizing the finest GPS technology we found the Alpha Club a couple blocks off of National Road in a nice neighborhood that contained variety of Tudor and craftsman style houses. It was after 9PM when we arrived and the bar was packed. Hunting trophies presided over the impressive array of spirits. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. Alcohol always helps. We felt our way to the dining room and seated ourselves. A server quickly found us, presented the menus and delivered our cocktails. Little moose heads identified the house specials and I ordered up a Cap’n Crunch Shrimp starter. Before I knew the shrimp were at the table and the server was taking our dinner orders. The five jumbo shrimp dusted with sweet corn cereal, fried and served with an orange horseradish sauce. Both the shrimp and sauce were enjoyable and priced at about $9.
There is something for everybody on the menu. Susan initially thought that they had too many types of cuisine when reviewing the online menu. After reading the menu at our table it quickly came apparent that the Alpha Club served typical American fare with Greek influences. Maybe the restaurant name should have tipped us off. Several of the entrees are served with Greek sides or seasoned with Mediterranean herbs and spices.
I ordered an Olympus Burger, which is char grilled fresh ground beef and lamb mixed with Greek seasoning and crumbled Feta cheese. The burger is cooked to your specifications and I chose medium. Served on a Kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato, dill pickles and a velvety tzatziki sauce, the burger was a mouthful. I dressed the Olympus Burger then sliced it in half to check if it was truly cooked to medium. Not only was it cooked perfectly, the texture confirmed to me that this patty was made in house. This was a great burger with intense flavor. My only demerit is that I would prefer a different bun, such as grilled flat bread or Grecian bread. The burgers are not served with fries or chips. Baskets of truffle oil fries or onion rings can by added a la carte.
I ordered an iceberg wedge that was topped with blue cheese crumbles, warm bacon and a side homemade 1000 island dressing. I really prefer when a restaurant make their own dressings. I can get preservative filled, guar gum infused kraft dressing from Kroger. The wedge was good, but half way in I had enough blue cheese. A little goes a long way. I used my 22 oz draft Yuengling Lager to wash it all down. I wasn’t thirsty enough to order the 80 oz portion, which comes to the table with an ice block to keep it cold and a tap so you can share.
So did Yelp and Urban Spoon have it right? I haven’t been to enough restaurants in Wheeling to say that it is the best, but I can confidently check “I like it”! I will be back to dine under the supervision of the moose the next time I visit Wheeling. FOUR FORKS!
I’ll admit that I was skeptical about this place from the “get-go”. I figured Ye Olde Alpha was a Jack of all Trades, Master of None. There were just way too many different types of food on the menu. Fajitas, burgers, seafood, pub food, gyros. But it was either Alpha or TJs (given the late hour) and I didn’t want to go back to TJs after a lackluster meal of fried, fried, and more fried about 3 years ago on my last visit to Wheeling.
The exterior was unexciting and the interior didn’t enthuse me much more. The place was large and there were a lot of folks there late on a Tuesday night. Our server was prompt and helpful, providing a few recommendations which I did not heed.
In a surprise move, I blurted out “chicken philly”. Then made sure there was no mayonnaise to 86.
While waiting for the entrees I enjoyed the large, butterflied shrimp breaded with pulverized Cap’n Crunch cereal and fried crispy. We received 5 shrimp for $8.95. Check that, we received 5 shrimp for Daniel’s $8.95. Thanks, dude.
My sandwich (priced around $8) was served warm on soft French bread stuffed with seasoned chicken, melted cheese and roasted red peppers. It tasted good but was nothing really special. How can a chicken philly be really special, though? It met my expectations because they weren’t that high to begin with.
I also ordered a side of sweet potato fries for $3.95. They cleverly put them on a plate instead of in some type of cone or bowl where the steam makes them go all limp. They can’t beat Vandalia’s SP fries, but they are in second place of all the SP fries I have ever tried. Most of them were reasonably crispy without being burnt (an inherent problem when frying something with such a high sugar content).
Good points include prompt service, variety, reasonable priced sandwiches, and late kitchen hours. On the down side are pricy appetizers and ho-hum décor. I would recommend Ye Olde Alpha and I would return to try something else. My overall experience was one of adequacy, not excellence. Therefore: THREE FORKS.