These Almost Heaven restaurants are serving new approaches to Appalachian cuisine

Across West Virginia, we are seeing chefs highlighting the importance of authentic dishes. Appalachian food is popular across much of the southeast, but its tradition and importance does not go unnoticed in West Virginia. Many restaurants in the Mountain State have remained true to their Appalachian roots by offering modern twists on traditionally Appalachian dishes. These restaurants find a way to keep their selections fresh, locally sourced and rooted in Appalachian tradition.

Vagabond Kitchen

“Original dishes created from regional favorites mingled with fresh ideas…”

Chef: Matt Welsch

In 2013, Matt Welsch trekked around the country on his motorcycle exploring what he calls the “culinary renaissance” in the United States. When Welsch returned home to Wheeling, he brought with him experience and knowledge gained from restaurants and chefs around the country. Today, Welsch owns and operates Vagabond Kitchen in beautiful downtown Wheeling where he uses his experience with flavors and ingredients from around the world to create uniquely Appalachian dishes. Vagabond Kitchen uses locally sourced food and drink from local providers in and around the Wheeling community. At Vagabond Kitchen, the food is as fresh as the ideas and recipes Chef Matt Welsch continues to develop.

Fish Hawk Acres Market

“Fish Hawk Acres Market provides a delicious escape from the conventional restaurants for customers to enjoy freshness and goodness of foods from different cuisines all across the globe.” 

Chef: Dale Hawkins

Fish Hawk Acres Market is located in historic downtown Buckhannon and is owned and operated by Dale Hawkins and Teresa Lipps. The market works closely with local food producers and gives local residents a viable alternative to unhealthy fast food options. Fish Hawk Acres Market is home to local value-added products, seasonal produce, grab-and-go sandwiches and homecooked baked goods and entrees. Once a month, Fish Hawk Acres hosts a farm dinner that has become a popular attraction in the Buckhannon community. The dinners also feature a tour of the farm as well as live entertainment. It is the ultimate farm-fresh Appalachian culinary experience.

Bourbon Prime

“We convey the Appalachian Spirit through artfully-crafted libations and award-winning cuisine.”

Chef: Donnie Orr

Located along the banks of the Monongahela River in Morgantown, Bourbon Prime seeks to tell the story of the Appalachian spirit through their food and drink. The restaurant takes classic dishes and adds a modern and regional touch to them. Bourbon Prime uses locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients provided by local farmers and quality purveyors that are within a 100-mile radius of Morgantown. Chef Donnie Orr maintains strong relationships with the farmers and brewers in the area as a way to continue to support the local community. Bourbon Prime was even invited to Woodford Reserve in Kentucky to create its own signature batch of bourbon, appropriately named “Country Roads” – making it the only restaurant in West Virginia to have its own blend there.

Each of these restaurants continues to find a way to serve fresh, classic dishes with a modern Appalachian touch. They provide customers with the freshest locally sourced products which in turn supports the growth of their local communities. Next time you’re in their vicinity, drop in and get a unique taste of Appalachia.

What is your favorite Mountain State restaurant?

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This post was last updated on March 2, 2022