I’m from West Virginia, a state that doesn’t get a lot of attention when it comes to the media or popular culture. Some people still think we’re a part of Virginia, despite the fact that West Virginia seceded from Virginia to become its own state in 1863. Let’s just say we tend to fly under the country’s radar. But I believe, and I think you will, too, after visiting one of these restaurants I’m going to talk about, that there’s a lot people are missing out on when it comes to the good eats in the beautiful state of West Virginia.
I’m from Morgantown, just below the Mason Dixon Line bordering Pennsylvania, and there are plenty of great restaurants in my college town. But two of the coolest and most delicious places I’ve eaten in West Virginia can’t be found unless you travel about 15 miles south to Fairmont, WV. Here, you’ll find two takes on the classic dining experience.
The first, a family-owned Italian restaurant called Muriale’s, dates back to 1969, when the Muriale family started the business. The other, a flashy, colorful diner offering spins on classic diner food and desserts called The Poky Dot, which started in 1952 by the Delligatti family.
If I only get to say one important thing about Muriale’s, it would be one word: manicotti. This is by far my favorite dish at the restaurant, although there are plenty of other delicious Italian classics, like the Taste of Italy, Gnocchi, or the Lasagna. Each pasta meal I’ve had has melted in my mouth, been rich with flavor, and the best kind of cheesy.
When you walk in the door, you are greeted by kind and warm waiters and instantly enveloped in the homestyle ambience. Like most great restaurants, it’s family-run, which is at the heart of why it’s such a success. It’s a world of its own, but it’s not the only world of its own in Fairmont.
The Poky Dot
The other restaurant that you can’t miss when visiting West Virginia is the famed Poky Dot, probably most well-known for its insane and impossible dessert challenges. This classic style diner is covered from head to toe with colorful, rainbow decorations and paint. And while they serve delicious diner foods, like burgers and fries, most would argue that their dessert menu is where the party really starts. The most famous dessert on their menu is probably the famed nine pound banana split. That’s right. This beast has a whopping nine scoops of ice cream – each of which is as big as a normal bowl of ice cream – and it’s topped from head to toe with syrups and sprinkles, whipped cream and cherries. Most of the other desserts aren’t quite as overwhelming, but they are all colorful and delightful to look at.
Both of these restaurants are must-sees when it comes to visiting the state of West Virginia, and if you only get the chance to stop in one town, try Fairmont. The dining experiences will not disappoint.