11 Unique Restaurants in West Virginia: Flavors of the Mountain State

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in West Virginia
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Ready to discover West Virginia’s most unique restaurants? We’re diving into everything from wild hot dog creations in Lesage, Jamaican flavors in Charleston, and cozy German vibes in Huntington. Join me as we explore the coolest restaurants in WV.

If you’re like me, always on the hunt for that next great meal spot, West Virginia’s got a treat for you. Now, I’ve had my fair share of meals at places you might walk past without a second glance, but trust me, what I found inside these doors blew my mind.

Picture this: hot dogs that go way beyond your standard fare, a spot where Jamaican vibes are as authentic as they get right here in the mountains, and a secret society that’s all about sandwiches. Intrigued? You should be!

In this guide, I’ll share 11 of the most unique places to eat in West Virginia. Each place we’re about to explore offers something you won’t find anywhere else, from unbeatable views to flavors that’ll have you planning your next visit before you’ve even left. Trust me, you’re in for some unforgettable meals that’ll make you want to stay in West Virginia. Let’s get started!

The top restaurants to visit in West Virginia right now

Unusual places to eat in WV

Ready to explore the best eateries in West Virginia? From a charming vegan spot in Harpers Ferry to a vibrant restaurant celebrating basketball legend Jerry West, West Virginia is a paradise for foodies. Join me as we uncover the most unique restaurants in WV.

1. Hillbilly Hot Dogs

Hillbilly Hot Dogs is one of those places you’ve got to see to believe. Nestled in Lesage, with the Ohio River as its backdrop, this isn’t your average hot dog stand. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most fun places to eat in West Virginia.

The moment you roll into the parking lot, you’re met with a sight that’s part quirky museum, part foodie heaven. Small buildings, school buses, and an eclectic mix of Appalachian art set the stage for a dining experience like no other.

Walking into the main restaurant, you grab your dogs and drinks before finding a spot at the picnic tables or inside one of the school buses. Let me tell you, the place is full of knick-knacks. You’re not just there to eat; you’re there to explore. Feel free to sign your name on the building or bus – it’s all part of the fun.

With so much to see, you could spend ages just taking it all in. They’ve even got a wedding chapel, in case you’re feeling particularly spontaneous!

If you’re feeling brave, tackle the home wrecker or widow-maker dogs. These aren’t for the faint-hearted, but conquering one is a badge of honor. Hillbilly Hot Dogs is a must-visit for anyone looking for a meal that’s as memorable as it is delicious. Trust me, you won’t forget this place anytime soon.

Hillbilly Hot Dogs is one of the unique restaurants in West Virginia.
Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, with the Ohio River as its backdrop, is one of the most fun places to eat in West Virginia.

2. Karubees Jamaican Restaurant

Let me tell you about a gem I found in Charleston, Karubees Jamaican Restaurant. Before my first visit, Jamaican food was uncharted territory for me. Now? I can’t get enough of it!

Karubees is the real deal, thanks to a Jamaican proprietor who ensures every dish is bursting with authentic flavors. The menu is a vibrant parade of options, each more tempting than the last. During my visit, I went for the jerk chicken and oxtails, sided with rice and peas and plantains. The chicken had just the right amount of kick, and the oxtails were so tender, they practically fell off the bone.

The portions here are generous. They leave you satisfied but somehow still craving more. It’s not just about the food, though. The atmosphere here buzzes with music and good vibes, making you feel like you’ve been transported straight to Jamaica.

If you’re heading to Karubees, I’d recommend trying one of their Jamaican drinks to complete the experience. It’s a fantastic spot for anyone looking to dive into Jamaican cuisine for the first time or for seasoned fans craving that authentic taste. Hands down, it’s one of the coolest restaurants in West Virginia.

Discover Karubees Jamaican Restaurant in Charleston, where unfamiliar Jamaican cuisine becomes irresistible.
Discover Karubees Jamaican Restaurant in Charleston, where unfamiliar Jamaican cuisine becomes irresistible. | Image Source: https://www.yelp.com/

3. Secret Sandwich Society

Next up is the Secret Sandwich Society in Fayetteville, and wow, did this place make an impression on me! After a stroll on the New River Gorge Bridge, popping in here was the best decision. The vibe is cool, and the sandwich game is strong.

Let’s talk about the main event: the sandwiches. In my opinion, they’re out of this world. They have lots named after presidents and historic figures, which is pretty cool if you ask me. I went for the Eisenhower, loaded with ham, garlic mayo, and cherry peppers. It was the perfect blend of flavors. And the truffle fries? You have to try them—crispy, golden, and addictive.

When you’re looking for fun restaurants in West Virginia, make sure to hit this place up. Great for catching up with friends or just chilling after a day of adventure. And hey, those truffle fries alone are worth the trip. Believe me on this one; it’s a spot you’ll want to come back to.

After a walk on the New River Gorge Bridge, visiting the Secret Sandwich Society in Fayetteville is a must.
After a walk on the New River Gorge Bridge, visiting the Secret Sandwich Society in Fayetteville is a must.

4. Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten

Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten in Huntington is a spot you’ve got to check out, especially if you’re into German cuisine. The moment you step into their Biergarten, you’re hit with such a cozy vibe, it’s like a mini getaway to Germany without the flight.

I went with a few friends and we started off with their giant pretzel, served with this amazing raspberry butter and classic mustard – talk about an appetizer! For the main course, we couldn’t decide between the Jägerschnitzel and the Wienerschnitzel, so we got both. It was a great decision! They nailed the authentic taste, and the sauerkraut was just the cherry on top.

The service was super friendly and quick. Plus, the decor just adds to the whole experience, with a very German feel that pulls everything together. Whether you’re in it for the food, the atmosphere, or both, this place delivers. Make sure to drop by if you’re in Huntington. It’s easily one of the best places to eat in WV!

Check out Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten in Huntington for German cuisine lovers.
Check out Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten in Huntington for German cuisine lovers.

5. The Forks

After a day of hiking around Elkins, stumbling upon The Forks was like finding a hidden gem in West Virginia. The terrace offers stunning mountain views, which blew me away. I definitely recommend visiting here in the fall, when the leaves are changing.

They keep the menu tight, which I appreciate because you know each dish is going to be special. I went for the prime rib, and it was outstanding. Juicy, flavorful, and just the right amount of tenderness. Pair that with the scenery, and you’ve got yourself a meal to remember.

Definitely make a point to visit if you’re around Elkins. If you can time it with the fall colors, you’re in for a treat. The combo of the view, the vibe, and the mouth-watering food makes The Forks a must-visit.

Just a tip: since it’s one of the most scenic restaurants in West Virginia, booking ahead might save you the wait. Plus, after your meal, the surrounding area is perfect for a relaxed stroll to round off a great day.

Discovering The Forks post-hike felt like uncovering a hidden gem in West Virginia, with breathtaking fall mountain views.
Discovering The Forks post-hike felt like uncovering a hidden gem in West Virginia, with breathtaking fall mountain views.

6. Kelley Farm Kitchen

Kelley Farm Kitchen in Bolivar is a gem I found right next to Harpers Ferry National Park, and it’s all about delicious plant-based comfort food. This cozy spot seats only 10 in the main room, but there’s plenty of outdoor seating, too.

Their menu is a dream for anyone looking for hearty, plant-based options. I’m talking about a hot bowl of award-winning loaded chili, creamy mac-n-cheeze that’ll make you forget it’s dairy-free, a juicy Impossible mushroom burger, and a spicy buffalo chick’n sandwich that’s just bursting with flavor. Don’t even get me started on the slaw – it’s a side that could easily steal the spotlight!

The small-town vibe of Bolivar, with its European charm, reminded me of my travels through Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. It’s a quaint setting for such a vibrant eatery, and easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in West Virginia.

After your meal, take a walk around Harpers Ferry National Park. It’s the perfect way to round off a delightful dining experience. Trust me, Kelley Farm Kitchen is a must-visit for anyone in the area.

Kelley Farm Kitchen offers plant-based comfort food in a cozy space with limited indoor seating and outdoor options.
Kelley Farm Kitchen offers plant-based comfort food in a cozy space with limited indoor seating and outdoor options.

7. Jim’s Steak & Spaghetti House

Dropping into Jim’s Steak & Spaghetti House in Huntington is like stepping into a time machine. Open since 1938, this place has an iconic status for a reason. It nails that 50s diner vibe, with waitresses in vintage outfits and a hostess ready to welcome you. Sitting down, you can’t help but feel a part of history, especially when you realize you’re in the same booth Kennedy once sat in back in 1960!

The atmosphere is buzzing, filled with the sound of chatter and the clinking of cutlery. The walls are a gallery of visitors past, adding to that historic feel. Now, onto the food – the spaghetti is a standout, with just the right balance of flavors. Ending the meal with their apple pie is like the perfect encore to a great show.

Honestly, if you’re looking for a place in Huntington that serves up good food with a fair price and a side of history, Jim’s is the spot. If you ask me, it’s up there with the coolest places to eat in West Virginia.

Jim's Steak & Spaghetti House in Huntington, a nostalgic 50s diner since 1938, even hosted JFK in 1960!
Jim’s Steak & Spaghetti House in Huntington, a nostalgic 50s diner since 1938, even hosted JFK in 1960!

8. El Gran Sabor

El Gran Sabor in Elkins is a hidden gem that truly shines once the sun goes down. Tucked away in an old house, this Venezuelan restaurant offers an experience you won’t forget. The vibe here at night, especially on Fridays and Wednesdays, is electric thanks to the live music that fills the air.

The food is spectacular. If there’s one thing you have to try, it’s the spicy shrimp soup. It’s a burst of flavor in every spoonful that will have you coming back for more. There’s plenty of outdoor seating, too. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a meal under the stars.

El Gran Sabor is a super cool restaurant in West Virginia. The atmosphere is so welcoming, you’ll feel right at home. My tip? Make sure to catch some music if you can, and definitely don’t skip on that spicy shrimp soup. Oh, and snagging a spot outside makes the experience even better.

El Gran Sabor in Elkins shines at night with live music and Venezuelan cuisine in a charming old house.
El Gran Sabor in Elkins shines at night with live music and Venezuelan cuisine in a charming old house.

9. Yen’s Sandwiches

Yen’s Sandwiches in South Charleston is a spot you’ll want to remember. It’s a cozy place, seating maybe 12 people max, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. The owners, a couple from Vietnam, whip up some of the best pho I’ve ever tasted.

Their Banh Mi sandwiches are available every day of the week, and at 5-6 dollars, they’re a steal. They’re as authentic as you can get, partly because they bake their own baguettes. It’s a no-brainer if you’re looking for cheap eats in West Virginia.

Yen’s is the kind of place where it’s all about the food and the people who make it. No frills, just genuine, delicious meals served up with a smile. If you’re ever in South Charleston, do yourself a favor and drop by Yen’s. Whether you’re there for the pho or a Banh Mi, you’re in for a treat.

Yen's Sandwiches is one of the unique restaurants in West Virginia.
Yen’s Sandwiches in South Charleston is a cozy spot with amazing pho. | Image Source: https://www.yelp.com/

10. Prime 44 West

Prime 44 West at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs is a spot that’s all about celebrating Jerry West. Everywhere you look, there’s something that nods to his incredible career, from his Olympic gold medal to those shiny NBA Championship rings. For any sports fan, it’s like hitting the jackpot.

The salmon and squid ink pasta are out of this world, and if you’re a steak lover, you’re in for a treat because they know how to cook it just right. But the highlight for me was the lobster mashed potatoes. It was fantastic.

If you’re looking for fine dining restaurants in West Virginia with a twist, consider Prime 44 West. It’s perfect for those special occasions or when you want to treat yourself. Remember to book in advance because it’s quite the hotspot.

Prime 44 West at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs celebrates Jerry West's legacy, a sports fan's dream.
Prime 44 West at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs celebrates Jerry West’s legacy, a sports fan’s dream.

11. The Handle Bar + Kitchen

After hitting the Long Point Trailhead in Fayetteville, I found myself at The Handle Bar + Kitchen. Talk about a cool spot! The entire place is decked out in a bicycle theme, which is pretty awesome if you’re into biking or just love unique decor.

They’ve got this great selection of beers, perfect for winding down after a day on the trails. And the food? Top-notch. It’s not every day you come across a place that has mountain bike trails and goats hanging around. Yeah, you heard that right – goats!

It’s such a relaxed atmosphere, which makes it the perfect place to chill with friends. If you’re planning a visit, definitely check it out after a hike or if you’re looking to explore some mountain bike trails.

The Handle Bar + Kitchen is one of those unique West Virginia restaurants that’s all about good vibes, great food, and even better beers. Plus, who can resist the chance to hang out with some goats? Definitely add this one to your list.

The Handle Bar + Kitchen in Fayetteville is known for its cool bicycle-themed decor.
The Handle Bar + Kitchen in Fayetteville is known for its cool bicycle-themed decor. | Image Source: The Handle Bar + Kitchen on Facebook

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the quirkiest restaurants in West Virginia

Are you searching for more information about where to eat in West Virginia? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about West Virginia’s most unique restaurants.

What food is West Virginia known for?

West Virginia is famous for its pepperoni rolls. They’re a tasty, convenient snack that miners traditionally took underground for their meals

What is the most interesting thing about West Virginia?

The most interesting thing about West Virginia has to be the New River Gorge Bridge. It’s one of the longest steel spans in the world and hosts an annual base jumping event. Visiting this spot is one of the top things to do in West Virginia.

Fall foliage at the bridge over New River Gorge, West Virginia.
Fall foliage at the bridge over New River Gorge, West Virginia.

Is Charleston a foodie city?

Yes, Charleston is definitely a foodie city. It has a growing scene with diverse restaurants, making it one of the top places to live and visit in West Virginia. You’ll find everything from traditional Southern cuisine to innovative, modern dishes.

What is one weird fact about West Virginia?

One weird fact about West Virginia is that it’s the only state formed by separating from a Confederate state during the Civil War. It’s a unique birth story not shared by any other state.

The top restaurants in West Virginia for all types of travelers
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