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While reaching out to share her love of always gathering around the table for family dinners, reader Elaine Endicott also asked me if one of her favorite West Virginia gems – Café Cimino Country Inn in Sutton – was closed.

“If it is, what a shame,” she added. “We love that place and it will be sad for West Virginia to be without it.”

Sadly, Elaine, Café Cimino did indeed close a while back after owners Tim and Melody Urbanic decided to “retire” to their family farm in Chloe. I say “retire” in quotation marks, however, because you can still enjoy Chef Tim’s talents.

He spent time off during the pandemic adding a commercial kitchen to his farmhouse, which is now home to the new Bop & Nana’s Bakery and Catering, offering delicious pre-ordered dinners and treats featuring home-grown and locally sourced ingredients.

Customers can select what they want from a changing menu of items, which will be delivered or available for pickup.

Special event catering is offered as well, plus the family farm is available as an outdoor venue for weddings or other celebrations, complete with an authentic “West Virginia red barn” and a pond with a fountain for great photo-ops.

Almost Heaven, indeed!

For more information, call 304-532-5560 or check out the new entity’s Facebook page.

•••

Another reader recently reached out asking me to get to the bottom of a potentially concerning situation he encountered at a popular local Vietnamese restaurant.

“Hello Food Guy, could you look into whether Yen’s Sandwiches in South Charleston has been sold or is under new management?” he asked. “Prices appear to have been raised but, more importantly, THE BREAD IS NO LONGER HOMEMADE! Your readers need to know if this is a permanent change! This could be your Pulitzer Prize story.”

Oh, the horror, I thought. Those fresh baguettes were part of what made their traditional (and flavorful!) banh mi sandwiches so addictive. And who am I to turn down a Pulitzer?

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After a little digging, I was told the longtime owners are no longer there and have turned the business over to others in the family to run. So technically, I guess the place is under new management.

I’ve heard about several hiccups during the transition — including inconsistent hours of operation and a few unexpected closings — but I’ve been told customers can expect the same service, quality and, yes, even amazing bread moving forward.

Fingers crossed that’s the case. Let me know what you experience!

•••

After last week’s announcement of the glorious return of Nawab Fine Indian Cuisine’s uber-popular lunch buffet, several readers chimed in on the big Sitar vs. Nawab debate I knew was coming.

While both of Charleston’s Indian restaurants have their fans, most seemed to agree that Nawab comes out on top when it comes to quality and taste of the food itself. This reader, in fact, summed up most of the feedback I received.

“As always, I enjoyed yet another one of your columns in the paper and I’ve got to chime in on the Sitar vs. Nawab debate,” he wrote.

“There was a time in one of its prior incarnations that Sitar knocked the socks off with their Indian food and I would have easily put the food that they served back then up against any Indian food that I’ve eaten anywhere, including outside of the U.S. However, this latest group just doesn’t seem to be able to maintain that standard.”

He went on to describe several specific instances to support his cause — including far too many onions in dishes like Aloo Matter, Baingan Bartha and Chana Masala — which he said he’s also brought up to the restaurant himself on several occasions.

“So over time, I’ve gravitated over to Nawab and most of the time it’s pretty good and it is my go-to place for Indian once a week and sometimes more.”

Nawab is my go-to as well, but I’m still glad the area has at least two Indian restaurants to choose from, no matter which one folks prefer.

Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WV Food Guy.” He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at wvfoodguy@aol.com.

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