Tag Archives: South Charleston

Toto, We’re Not in Shoney’s Anymore – Los Agaves



Susan says…




My first impression of this Mexican eatery was that of surprise.  The parking lot was remarkably crowded for lunchtime in South Charleston.  We had to wait for someone to back out of their parking space for our vehicle to find a slot.

The former Shoney’s had shed itself of most of the Shoney-esqueness to look like a typical Mexican joint.  The place was clean and we were seated quickly – another surprise given the packed parking lot.

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Clock ‘Em With a Calendar – Griffs

Griff’s – Riverwalk Plaza, South Charleston, WV

Dan says…

I have been to Griff’s a grand total of three times since I moved to WV in 1998.  All my experiences have been similar so at least they’re consistent.  The taco salad I got the first time was just ok and the service was slow.  During the second visit I only drank beer to celebrate the going away party for a former boss.  I had a pint of New Castle and it was slightly warm.  This last visit with the five was memorable to say the least.

After searching for a parking space in the far corner of the Riverwalk Plaza parking lot we seated ourselves on the deck to enjoy the last day of outdoor dining for the season.  Tip:  There is a parking lot behind Kroger and you can pull right up to Griff’s deck.  That will save you a few minutes and believe me you’ll need it.  After reviewing the menu our orders were taken in an acceptable time period.  We placed our food and drink orders at the same time to speed the process. At this point the lunch marathon started. Continue reading

Grand Opening – Pho Vinh Long

Susan says…

Yes folks, it has finally happened, the day we’ve all been anxiously awaiting.  Pho Vinh Long opened their doors yesterday at 601 D Street in South Charleston.

The inside of the space looks great and I got a lung-full of enticing aromas.  I also left with a menu.

Here’s a sneak peak:

Several different varieties of beef noodle soup are available.  The small size is $6.95, the large is $7.75.  If beef isn’t your thing, chicken is also served.  An order of two spring rolls or three egg rolls cost only $2.50.

To wash it down, choose from an extensive offering of beverages including coconut juice, soda with egg yolk and condensed milk and Thai’s Iced Tea.  All drinks are priced at $2.75 each.  Daniel will order the Tra Da Chanh for sure – described as “Iced Tea Lemondae” on the menu – the Vietnamese Arnold Palmer!

Please comment with your reaction when you give Pho Vinh Long a try.

Get Your Island On, Mon – Jamaican Cuisine Comes to South Charleston

Jamaican Food in Philly

typical Jamaican meal

Susan says…

South Charleston is becoming a veritable playground for the tastebuds it seems.  We recently reported that Pho Vinh Long, a Vietnamese restaurant, is opening on October 10, and we have more good news:  The area’s first Jamaican restaurant will be opening Tuesday, October 14th

Although the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau was unsure of the name of the eatery, they could tell us that it will be located at 228 7th Avenue.  The owner already has two restaurants in Jamaica to his credit.


scotch bonnet

Most people are already familiar with one of Jamaica’s most beloved exports, jerk.  Jerk is a method of cooking rather than a dish itself.  It originated with the Arawak Indians cooking marinated meat over a fire of pimento wood.  Pimento berries yield allspice, which is an essential ingredient in jerked dishes.

Speaking of fire, watch out for the scotch bonnet pepper, another traditional Jamaican ingredient.  Akin to the habanero, the scotch bonnet is one of the hottest peppers in the world.   Scotch bonnets impart the heat in a Jamaican-jerked dish.  Other seasonings common to jerked meats include cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme and garlic.


Fried plantains may make an appearance on the menu as well.  A plantain is similar in appearance to a banana, however plantains are firmer and have a lower sugar content.  To enjoy them, plantains are usually cooked or processed in some way, many times in ways similar to the potato: steamed, boiled or fried.

Don’t be fooled by the name of another well-known Jamaican dish – rice and peas.  The “peas” are actually pigeon peas, red kidney beans or even cowpeas.  None of which are “peas” to me!  (The black-eyed pea is a subspecies of the cowpea.)  Rice and peas is a staple of the Jamaican diet and is traditionally eaten with the Sunday meal.

By combining native ingredients with influences from Spain, England, Africa, India and China, the unique Jamaican cuisine was developed.

Experience a taste of the island and make summer last a little longer by checking out the Jamaican restaurant soon.

For more information about Jamaican cuisine and common ingredients, visit Wikipedia or jamaicans.com.

A New Taste Sensation: Vietnamese Food Comes to South Charleston – Pho Vinh Long

Pho Vinh Long, the area’s first Vietnamese restaurant, is scheduled to open October 10 on D Street in South Charleston.


Named after a famous Vietnamese dish and a town in that country, the restaurant will seat about 30 diners and feature bamboo floors.

Pho (rhymes with “duh”) originated in Vietnam in the 1880’s and spread to southern and central Vietnam, gaining in popularity, during the 1950’s.  It is a rice noodle dish served in a flavorful broth which takes many hours to prepare.  Traditionally, the broth is made by simmering beef (and sometimes chicken) bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, and spices.  Seasonings may include cinnamon, star anise, charred ginger, cloves, and black cardamom pods.  Thin slices of beef or chicken are added to the dish.  It usually arrives at your table with accompaniments including green onion, cilantro, Thai basil, lemon or lime wedges and bean sprouts.

Vietnam’s best known dish is meant to be enjoyed with both hands: chopsticks in one, grabbing the noodles, and soup spoon in the other to scoop up the broth.

Of course, Pho Vinh Long will offer other items including rice dishes, goi cuon (spring rolls) and cha gio (eggrolls). 

Already wildly popular in major metropolitan areas of the United States, pho is sure to become a favorite among the foodies of Charleston.  Over 1000 Pho restaurants operate in this country, including national chains like Pho Hao.

For more information about pho and other Vietnamese foods, try visiting phofever.com or wikipedia.

Be sure to give Pho Vinh Long a try, we sure will!

Quesadilla With a Side of “View” – Casa Garcia

Susan says…

As a lover of Mexican food, I have patronized nearly every Mexican joint in the greater Kanawha Valley area.  Casa Garcia could not escape my chimichanga radar, effective within a 30-mile radius of my current location at any given time.  In fact, one reason I am considering upgrading to an iPhone is so I can locate Mexican and Indian eateries when in unfamiliar territory.

Casa Garcia is located in Riverwalk Plaza in a space that used to be a Chinese place.  On my first visit to Casa Garcia I noticed the décor had a lot of Asian flavor…but since then, the restaurant has transformed into a bright and cheery setting where you expect to receive a taco, not an eggroll.

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