Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Logan Edition: Janet's Park & Eat

Janet's Park & EatI'm rounding the last corner on my trip to try all the drive-in restaurants in West Virginia. If you haven't been following along, West Virginia has just about a dozen drive-in restaurants left in the state. I love that there are some of these restaurants still leftover from a different era - more than a half century ago - when eating out wasn't the norm, and a trip to the restaurant was spent in your car with carhops on roller skates bringing trays full of burgers and shakes to you.
The first drive-in restaurant was Kirby's Pig Stand, which opened in Dallas, Texas, in 1921. In North America, drive-in facilities of all types have become less popular since their heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, with drive-throughs rising to prominence since the 1970s and 1980s.
Janet's Park & Eat

Most of the remaining drive-ins are located in the southern part of the state. I've made my way to the Sterling Drive-In in Welch, the Pinnacle Drive-In in Pineville, the Tunnel Drive-In in Williamson, the King Tut Drive-In in Beckley, the Frostop Drive In in Huntington, Jim's Drive In in Lewisburg and Biggie's in Grafton (the last two have not yet posted at the time of writing this post).

Janet's Park & EatThat means I just have a couple left in the Huntington area, one in Bluewell and THREE left in Logan. I'm much more likely to get to Huntington or Bluewell along my travels, so I planned a specific trip just to get to Logan (because who actually ever travels through Logan regularly?) to try these drive-ins.

Janet's Park & EatYes, Logan has three drive-in restaurants. At first glance, I thought it was strange, too. However, it makes more sense once I read that all three are owned by the same family. According to the article, Jay Mayhorn manages Janet's Park & Eat, Parkway Drive-In, and, the most popular, Morrison's Drive Inn. John Morrison opened Morrison's Drive Inn eatery in 1947. Jay Mayhorn's grandfather, Leonard Refeitt, started working there the next year and would eventually become the owner. When he died, ownership passed to Robert Mayhorn, Jay's father.

All three have similar menu items, but they each have their own recipes. And for a town of 1,779 to support three curbside restaurants in 2015? That's pretty cool. I wanted to try all three.

I met up with my friend BJ Hatfield to embark on a back-to-back-to-back lunch at Janet's Park & Eat, Parkway Drive-In and Morrison's Drive Inn. Up first was Janet's Park & Eat (mostly because it opens the earliest). Janet’s is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays.

Janet's Park & EatThe restaurants was fairly quiet when we first pulled up. In fact, I wasn't sure they even actually offered curb service anymore. They assured us they did, and later on as we were leaving, I did see a carhop taking an order on a paper pad, running it to the kitchen and returning with hot, often fried food. But for this first stop, we actually went inside.

Janet's Park & EatThere are a few separated dining areas with old-school booths. We grabbed a seat nearby and a server immediately stopped by. The menu spans everything from a 10 oz. ribeye and oysters to spaghetti and meatballs and chicken livers. I remember reading that the three restaurants are known to have good hot dogs, good cheeseburgers and good chicken. So, why not spread the love? I ordered the breaded chicken specialty sandwich here. BJ opted for the "Whatchamacallit," which had fried bologna, salami, lettuce, and onion.

Janet's Park & EatConsidering I still had two more lunches to eat after this one, I didn't get the "basket" option. When my sandwich came out, I realized that maybe I should have gotten the chicken planks to get the chicken that everyone was talking about, because this was a chicken patty. But, it was actually really tasty. It was lightly breaded but not dry or minced. It was tasty.

Janet's Park & EatAs for BJ's whatchamacallit, I think he was happy, too.

Janet's Park & Eat

Grade: A
Janet's Park & Eat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 5, 2015

Morgantown Edition: Papa Allen's Pizza

Papa Allens PizzaA new pizza place has opened in University Place, the new public/private student housing on University Avenue on the Downtown Camps. Papa Allen's Pizza features traditional, white, Sicilian and gourmet pizzas, in addition to fried appetizers, wings, salads, calzones, pastas, speciality pastas, burgers, hoagies, wedgies and gyros.

Papa Allens PizzaSo, really, it's more than a pizza place because they offer a bunch of different items. That's not always the best indication. I'd rather have a restaurant that offers just a few items - but does them all really well, instead of a restaurant that offers a ton but they are all mediocre. But we shall see.

Papa Allens PizzaPapa Allens Pizza
It was lunch time, so I just wanted pizza by the slice. To my surprise, you can only order Sicilian by the slice (not traditional). I was hoping to try one slice of traditional and one of the Sicilian, but that's OK. I got tow slices of Sicilian with mushrooms.

Papa Allens PizzaAfter a bit of waiting, I was served one of my pieces. Tony got both of his - one pepperoni and one sausage. They're large pieces; one would have been enough. At first bite, it seems like the dough is frozen and then baked. The whole thing was a little hard and crunchy. The sauce was far too sweet without much depth. And my mushrooms weren't cooked through, so they were dry in the center.

Papa Allens PizzaNot my favorite piece of pizza. Curious about the traditional, though.

Grade: C
Papa Allen's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Morgantown restaurant The Bank has a new menu

The BankThe Bank, located at 344 High Street in Morgantown, has a new menu. Typically, when restaurants get new menus, they switch out a few items and sub in some others. Not major changes - but more subtle ones. That's not the case with The Bank, which is why I wanted to make another visit.

The Bank's menu now exclusively features gourmet grilled cheese melts and macaroni and cheese platters, in addition to their beer and cocktail menu. Grilled cheese AND macaroni and cheese? Yes and yes.

The BankOne half of the menu features grilled cheese sandwiches - like a Philly melt, a pork melt, and a cordon bleu melt. The other half features macaroni and cheese - like roasted red pepper ranch mac, Texas mac and jalapeno parm mac.

So, yes, this is super cheesy (and amazing), but I didn't want to TOTALLY overdo it. So, Tony and I ordered one grilled cheese and one mac and cheese and split the two. We ordered the buffalo chicken melt, which had buffalo tossed tenders with melted mozzarella and ranch, and the jalapeno parm mac, which was a traditional macaroni and cheese with a jalapeno parmesan cheese sauce.

The BankThe grilled cheese so good. I think it was the combination of that hitting the perfect craving, and it actually just being really good. The bread was lightly toasted, the tenders inside were crisp with a nice buffalo kick, and melted mozzarella cheese enveloped each bite. The ranch added just an extra bit of flavor. You can't go wrong with this combo, and it was executed well.

The macaroni and cheese was also quite good but less impressive. The thick cream sauce was spiked with fresh jalapenos. Lots more sauce than noodle so it could get a little soggy quickly. But, good flavor.

Check 'em out. Lots of different menu options than when they first opened.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Vegetable Garden

The vegetable gardenThe Vegetable Garden is a new addition to the Morgantown Farmers Market, frequenting the Westover Farmers Market on Tuesday afternoon/evenings.

The Vegetable Garden, known as Davis Brothers, Inc., on Facebook, sells a number of - wait for it - vegetables at the market.

The vegetable gardenAccording to Connect Clarksburg: Julie and her family have 30 acres in production, growing everything from potatoes and onions to collard greens and corn.

I snagged an onion, as you can see! Find Julie on Tuesdays at the Westover Farmers Market or give her a call at 304-376-2143.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lewisburg Edition: Osage Pecan Company of Lewisburg

Osage PecanThe Osage Pecan Company of Lewisburg is quite the pleasant surprise. It's a small shop full of all sorts of nuts, candies and other treats for purchase. Chocolate amaretto covered pecans? Butter toffee pecans? Chocolate covered pecans!

Osage PecanThe business is locally owned, with the first location in Butler, Missouri, and then the one in Lewisburg opened in April 2014. They give out free samples, so be sure to grab a handful or two!

Osage Pecan

Osage Pecan