Tag Archives: restaurant

Muriale’s Is a Must

muriale1Susan says…

It’s sure been a long time since I’ve written a post, huh? During that span of time I reconnected with my high school love, ran off to Louisville KY, got married, changed jobs, and started a Louisville restaurant blog called NewtoLou. I come back to West Virginia frequently, mostly because my girls are finishing school here, but also because I miss my friends, family, and my true home. You can take the girl out of West Virginia but you can’t take West Virginia out of the girl! (At least not THIS girl!)  I’m sure all my new acquaintances are completely sick to death of hearing me wax poetic about the mountain state.

I have been suffering inner conflict. Should I tell you all about Muriale’s during football season or not? As you read my review will you come to understand just how perfect a plan it would be to include Muriale’s in your pregame (night game, that is) ritual and I don’t want to have to wait on a table as a result of sharing this great tip. But alas, I have a duty to the Fork You public and I will proceed.

As a mother, a wife, a victim of Pretend OCD, and a food fanatic, I have lots of rules and policies. Some of my rules include: 1) spread the shower curtain back over the length of the tub when you’re done; 2) you must be completely ready for school before you’re allowed to goof off in any way; and 3) check the order before pulling away from the dive thru. One very important policy is this: when traveling to Route 50 and points north, one must eat Italian. There are some great places in the Clarksburg area alone.

On our way to the WVU home opener last weekend, I was prepared to follow the policy. My husband took a little convincing. (I found out later he thought I was going to take him to some froo froo gourmet place.) (Is that how you spell “froo froo”? You know what I mean.) I successfully campaigned for Oliverio’s , my favorite in the area, and my mouth was already watering at the thought of pasta and pine nuts. We approached the parking lot and realized they don’t serve lunch on Saturdays. That’s fine for ordinary Saturdays but they are missing an opportunity on Night Game Saturdays. Just sayin’. My next most favorite is Muriale’s so we skipped the visit we planned to Mountaineer World (we honestly don’t need more WV gear) and headed on up I-79.

My husband had never been to Muriale’s before. Poor thing. He even grew up in Buckhannon! I was more than happy to accompany him on his virgin visit. We arrived around 1:30 and had no trouble obtaining a table. There are great old photographs on the walls and displays of wine, pasta, and oils. I quickly located a lunch special that was too good of a deal to pass up: you can choose from several pastas (ravioli, spaghetti, rigatoni, manicotti or linguine with fresh vegetables) and also receive a house salad and a slice of garlic cheese toast ALL FOR ONLY $10!! I would pay almost that much for a Wendy’s combo meal. We both chose the manicotti.

We were served a basket of bread and butter when the salads were delivered. The housemade Italian dressing was tangy and herbalicious. Husband chose the housemade balsamic and offered me a taste, which was also very good. Salad toppings included roasted red and yellow peppers, large marinated green olives, tomato, pickled onions, and shredded cheese.

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Manicotti Lunch Special

Our lunch specials were so generously portioned we could barely eat it all. Well, I didn’t eat all of mine. I gave it my best effort but had to leave just a few bites, even after my husband had a little of my meatball. We received two large manicotti stuffed with an herb and ricotta cheese mixture generously covered in meat sauce and a large meatball. The meatball was a bonus I had not expected since there was no mention of it in the menu description. The meat sauce was richly and deeply flavored, and had obviously spent a good amount of time simmering. The pasta was delicate and the ricotta mixture flavorful. For me, I could have done with more ricotta to balance the richness of the sauce. Plus, I really like ricotta. The meatball was tender and well-seasoned. I wasn’t too crazy about the garlic cheese bread. I LOVE the garlic toast at Fazio’s and declare it is exactly how garlic toast should be made: crisp, almost dripping with butter, and significantly tasting of garlic. Muriale’s sprinkles the bread with some herbs and the oregano totally overpowered any taste of butter or garlic. I could do without the cheese on it, too.

This was a meal worthy of the Number One Foam Finger. What a great deal for fresh, homemade, delicious Italian fare. We were so satisfied from the meal, we didn’t even bother to grill the hot dogs we had packed for tailgating. I am going to the Oklahoma game next weekend with my daughters and hope to convince them that a pregame meal at Muriale’s is just what we need to fuel up for an evening of Mountaineer excitement. Another nice touch is that all the waitstaff wear WVU apparel on game day. It made us feel more comfortable coming in with our t-shirts and face stickers and also provided a festive atmosphere.

The service was excellent. Our water glasses never went below the half-full mark and the entire staff worked together seamlessly to meet every customer’s needs quickly and efficiently. Our server was friendly and fun.

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yep, it was that good

Even though I now live in the big city of Louisville, there are just some things that can’t be done better than in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia: beautiful scenery, friendly people, an exciting college football atmosphere, and some great traditional Italian food. The quote of the day, from my husband, after devouring his meal and licking the bowl clean (as in the photo): “I don’t know why I even doubted you”.

Go to Muriale’s. Four forks.

1742 Fairmont Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
304-363-3190

Muriale's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Definitely Not a Smoke-Free Zone: Barnyard BBQ

Ashley says…

 

A few months ago driving through Teays Valley on a Friday evening just hoping something different would jump out at us for dinner, my husband and I discovered this little gem.  Nestled  in a small building on Hospital Drive just off of Rt. 34, you really wouldn’t notice this place if not for the huge smoker out front and with the smoke rolling out of it.  Then there’s the smell. ..I love the smell of dead animal cooking on a wood fire.  Barnyard smokes all the meat right there in the front of the building.

We walked in to a surprisingly-crowded place with the décor to match its name.  Rough wood floors and walls are throughout making it appear barn-like.  We were seated immediately in the main dining area at the only empty table left.  Barnyard BBQ has a bar in the main dining room with a couple of TVs and sells a large selection of beers, but no other alcohol. 

We ordered the fried pickles for an appetizer.  Unlike Susan, I love pickles,  all shapes, sizes and flavors.  Barnyard makes theirs from scratch.  They were very good. 

One of that night’s specials was fried chicken livers, cooked to order, with two sides.  My husband ordered them because he is a sucker for liver. Blech!!!  I’m like Fonzie when it comes to liver.  (Anyone remember that about him on Happy Days?)   I’m here for barbeque so bring on the meat!  I ordered the combo plate with pulled pork, pulled beef brisket and smoked chicken.  I chose onion rings and sautéed green beans as my sides.  All meals also come with a corn fritter. 

Portions are huge.  I got a good amount of the pork and beef and  ¼ (leg and thigh) of a chicken.  The pork and beef had some of Barnyard’s homemade BBQ sauce drizzled over them.  All three meats had a great smoky flavor, were very tender and very good.  On the table were three sauces, all made in-house, sweet tangy heat Memphis-style, vinegar-based North Carolina-style and a mustard-based sauce.  I love NC-style sauce so I used some of it combined with the Memphis-style.  Yum!  My onion rings were the frozen kind, but still good, and the green beans weren’t your typical southern style beans.  They were sautéed and flavored nicely.  Husband liked his chicken livers, mashed potatoes and green beans.

I recently had a craving for BBQ so we made a second visit.  This time I got the two-meat combo of pulled pork and beef with cole slaw, macaroni and cheese and a fritter.   One thing to note also is that all of Barnyards sides are homemade except for the onion rings and French fries.  Other sides include red skin potato salad, macaroni salad and baked beans.  This time Husband ordered ½ rack of baby back ribs with baked beans and potato salad.

My pork and beef were just as good as the first time and the mac and cheese was to die for.  The cole slaw, however, wasn’t so much.  It was super finely shredded, too watery and without much flavor.  The ½ rack of ribs was a good size and very meaty.  The smoky flavor was really evident too, which I love.  I also tried the beans and potato salad.  Both were really good.  I don’t even like potato salad, but I would consider ordering it here. 

This time, against my full belly’s recommendation to pass, we ordered dessert.  Desserts are also homemade.  On our first visit we heard other diners talk about how good the bread pudding was, but they were out of it that night so we didn’t get an opportunity to try it. This time we were in luck.  “WOW!” is all I can say about it.   It was warm and gooey and tasted like a cinnamon roll right out of the oven.  Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this dessert was heavenly.

Barnyard BBQ opened as a full-service restaurant late last year.  They’d done only catering before and now do both.  It is the only place of its kind in the area that I know of since Smokey’s and Smokey Bones closed.   It ranks right up there with all the other BBQ joints I’ve tried here and in other states.  I give it FOUR FORKS.

Barnyard BBQ
1101 Hospital Drive
Teays Valley, WV 25526
Tel: (304) 964-3322
Barnyard BBQ on Urbanspoon

Teays Valley New Edition – Fireside Grill

Ashley says…

It’s about time a new “sit-down” restaurant finally opened in Teays Valley.  Located in the building that used to house Uno’s, the Fireside Grill began operations in February.  Our first and only visit so far was a few days after the opening on a Tuesday evening around 5:30.  I was surprised by the crowd of people on the host’s list waiting 20 minutes or more for a table.  A member of our party had gotten there a little early and got the waiting out of the way for the rest of us. 

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Gourmet Pizza With Some Elbow Room – Pies and Pints

 Susan says…

I have heard a lot about the Fayetteville incarnation of Pies & Pints but since girls who can’t swim shouldn’t be whitewater rafting, I never had an occasion to sample their fare.  All the comments I heard were positive so I was excited to try the Charleston location.  Crowds and busy schedules delayed the experience but a birthday celebration with my two BFFs finally got me there. 

Here’s a sampling of the banter at our table:

Server: Can I start you ladies off with a beer or cocktail tonight?  We are featuring blah blah blah on tap.

Friend #1:  I’m pregnant so I’ll have water.

Server:  Congratulations!  Would you like lemon with that?

Friend #1: No thank you.

Me:  I’m not pregnant so I’ll have a Michelob Ultra.  And you can congratulate me for that.

Server:  Congratulations!  (laughter all around at my funny joke)

There were several mouth-watering menu items that caught my eye but I kept going back to the Thai Pie – shrimp, curry, toasted coconut, and basil.  I’m a sucker for that sort of stuff.  My friends ordered the eggplant pizza and the plain ol’ pepperoni.  Our server was friendly, funny and kind enough to suggest we order a large and do the “half and half” for two of our choices which would result in a bigger pizza for less dough.  So we did.  The 10” small pizzas are still too large for me to eat at one sitting (heck, who am I kidding?  I could eat it all at one sitting, I just shouldn’t!) and are priced around $12.  The 16” large pizzas yield 8 large slices for around $22. 

One friend ordered the small spinach salad for $7 which was definitely large enough to share.  The ingredients appeared to be very fresh and the add-ons were plentiful.  Pies & Pints also offers appetizers, sandwiches and a nice beer selection.

My pizza was De. Lish. Us.  The crust was fabulous – on the thin side and crispy.  The shrimp had a great flavor and the mild curry and coconut notes came through nicely.  I ate two slices at the restaurant and took two home with me which, paired with a salad, was enough for two meals.  Reportedly, the eggplant and roasted red pepper pie was also delicious but I didn’t put on a pouty face to try to snag a bite.  The texture of eggplant is a turn-off to me.

We ended the meal with house-made tiramisu for $4.50.  It was made in individual serving dishes and was a nice portion size for the price.  It was good, but the texture was a bit grainy.  Honestly, I like Olive Garden’s better even though I know they probably get that from US Foodservice.  It’s not a problem for me, though…I’ll just fill up more on that delicious pizza!

I’m gonna do that thing that some of you may not like: I’m gonna compare.  I just can’t help it.  I felt the creativity of the pizzas at Pies & Pints was comparable to that at Lola’s but the menu was more extensive.  Lola’s cramped quarters could be labeled “intimate” but I felt a crowded and was very aware of the conversations around me.  I really enjoyed the extra elbow room at Pies & Pints.  Pricewise, they are about the same.  I liked the crust at Pies & Pints better – it was thinner and didn’t have the cornmeal dusting.

In the future I’d like to try the Grape Pie (grapes, gorgonzola and rosemary), the Black Bean Pie (black beans, jalapeno, salsa, and cilantro) and the Mozzarella Caprese Pie (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil & balsamic reduction). 

Everything about this experience was positive and I highly recommend Pies & Pints.  In fact, I tried to go there for lunch today but there was a 20 minute wait.  Shucks!  FOUR FORKS

Pies & Pints on Urbanspoon

Nominate Your Favorite

Susan says…

Surf on over to wvfarm2u.org and nominate your favorite West Virginia eatery for the 101 Unique Places to Dine in West Virginia. 

Simply click on the icon right under the website header.

Big Taste at Little India

Susan says…

An Indian restaurant within walking distance of my workplace is a dream come true.  We tried it out the first couple weeks they were open.

Little India is located in the old firehouse location on Washington Street near the Capitol where at least 138 different eateries have called home.  The exterior was spiffed up and adorned with a new sign.  More significant changes were made inside: new booths and tables and new lighting updated the space and made dining more comfortable.  A change I wish they had made is to get rid of that awful ramp from the back seating area to the buffet area.  I feel like I am going to fall over head first when I walk down that ramp in my high-heeled shoes.   If it weren’t for the handrail, I don’t think I could sit in that section.

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Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe

photo from their website

Ashley says…

My husband and I were in Huntington on a non-home game Saturday afternoon recently looking for somewhere “different” to eat.  We don’t make it to downtown Huntington very often, so finding somewhere “different” shouldn’t be too difficult, right?  We struggled a little.  We didn’t want to go to one of the chains (Uno’s, Max & Irma’s or Five Guys’ Burgers and Fries) at Pullman Square and we weren’t in the mood for Asian, Italian or Mexican food (Thai House, Frankie B’s, also at  Pullman Square, or Chili Willi’s.)  It was between lunch and dinner hours and a couple of other places (Huntington Prime and another I can’t recall the name of) weren’t open yet.  So we decided on the Marshall Hall of Fame Café.  We’d eaten there a couple of times before, but it had been a few years.

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