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The Food Guy: New restaurants coming and a Dow feast for the ages

Breaking food news!

Here’s the juicy scoop on a handful of new restaurants that have recently opened — or soon will — throughout the area.

The scenic location that used to house Adventures Bar & Grill up on the hill at Eagle View Luxury Apartments is set to open early next month as Tin Box BBQ Pub & Grub, the Michigan-based catering company’s first restaurant.

In addition to signature smoked brisket, beef, pork, chicken, turkey and sausage, the new place will offer salmon, scallops, sandwiches and appetizers, along with a handful of sides and scratch-made sauces.

The restaurant’s tentative opening is Dec. 1, with planned hours Monday through Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. No word yet, however, if the place will be open to the public as Adventures was.

Meanwhile downtown, folks from Filmanatix film production company in the Atlas Building on Quarrier Street have taken over the former Atlas Coffee nook inside, leading to the grand opening of Melange Café this past weekend.

Although I can’t find a full menu online, Facebook posts show offerings that include tacos, burrito bowls and a selection of Hispanic and Samoan specialties, including an incredible-looking Kaleve Pisupo, a Samoan dish of corned beef gravy over coconut curry rice that I want that in my belly, like, yesterday. The specialty coffees and drinks look good, too.

Melange Café at 1031 Quarrier St. is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

And fellow food writer, Judy Grigoraci, keeps feeding me tasty restaurant tidbits about spots she’s heard about as well. Her latest morsel is there’s a new restaurant starting up in St. Albans called The Grind, which will serve diner-style food and offer tabletop games.

Check back for details on these new spots and more in the coming weeks and months!

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I had the pleasure of being invited down to Dow Chemical Company’s West Virginia Operations complex in South Charleston last week to judge a bounty of food served as part of this year’s annual Dow Food Fair benefiting the United Way of Central West Virginia.For more than 75 years, Dow has been raising funds for the United Way, which supports local people and organizations in need of food, social services, medical or dental care, and other basic and emergency needs.

This year’s fair invited local restaurants and groups of employees to prepare lunch for some 200 employees and contractors, who each paid $10 for an all-you-can-eat feast from 10 teams.

Five groups representing different departments at Dow served items like smoked brisket, a traditional Thanksgiving meal and a bountiful Italian feast. In the restaurant competition, Whiskey Taco (tacos), Ridgeview BBQ (barbecue), Top Spot (chicken and dumplings), Red Lobster (chicken wings, strangely enough) and Qdoba (tacos and taco bowls) all pitched in, too.

After sampling to their heart’s content, guests cast ballots for the People’s Choice best restaurant and employee meal, while I did the same to determine Judge’s Choice winners.

My restaurant winner was a slam dunk, with Whiskey Taco’s Tinga Chicken Tacos featuring chipotle pulled chicken, lime crema, queso fresco and cilantro coming out on top. (Their Korean Steak Taco with pickled red cabbage, lime crema and toasted sesame seeds was good, but not as.)

The Dow employee competition was much closer in my book, with the Employee Resource Group’s Italian feast of chicken Parmesan, spaghetti, veggie lasagna, garlic toast, salad, cookies, chocolate cheesecake and coconut cake edging out the South Charleston Lab’s smoked brisket taco with slaw.

Not far behind was a full Thanksgiving dinner from PSFL (Polyglycols, Surfactants, Fluids and Lubricants — say that three times fast) offering deep-fried turkey, stuffing, twice-baked potatoes, mac and cheese, green beans and more. Pilot Plant Research and Development served good chili and the Maintenance Department made a nice pot of Swedish meatballs.

And it seems like the employees and I were pretty much on the same page, with that group selecting Whiskey Taco and the Lab’s brisket as their winners.

According to event coordinators, this year’s Food Fair alone raised nearly $9,000, bringing Dow’s total United Way contributions this year to almost $90,000.

That’s some sweet icing on the cake right there.

•••

Finally, St. Albans reader Roger Stanley reached out to see if we could help him track down a favorite restaurant recipe from his past.“I enjoy your weekly column very much,” he said. “Keep up the good reporting. I am looking for an appetizer recipe that my family and I enjoyed when we visited the Country Road Inn in Zela, Nicholas County.”

For those who don’t remember, that Summersville gem was also known as Mama Jarroll’s to many.

“The dish was a cheese spread with pepperoni in it — one of many good appetizers at the restaurant. Thank you for any help you might be able to offer.”

I never made it to Country Road Inn, unfortunately, but heard so many people rave about it back in the day.

Can anyone shed some light on this particular recipe in question?

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at http://blogs.wvgazettemail.com/foodguy/. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by email at wvfoodguy@aol.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy,”

Funerals for Friday, August 23, 2019

Boggess, Robert - 11 a.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Conway, Blanch - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Marker, Geraldine - 1 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Pritt, Charles - 1 p.m., Gauley Bridge Baptist Church.

Quehe, Ryker - Noon, Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Warren, Joyce - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.