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The Food Guy: Sad days for fans of Moxxee and Happy Days

Charleston lost a beloved coffee shop last week with the closing of Moxxee on Valentine’s Day (social media followers are still grieving) and now South Charleston is losing a popular spot as well.

“I heard an ugly rumor that Happy Days Café in South Charleston is closing soon — any truth to it?” asked reader Sally Perkins. “I certainly hope not, as it is a great place for locals to gather and is usually very busy during the lunch hour. Please check it out. I love your column.”

Thanks so much, Sally, but I have some bad news.

After several readers and longtime customers confirmed that the old-fashioned joint near the Mound will close its doors at the end of the month, I drove down and found this sign posted on the door.

“Over eight years ago, we began this venture with wide eyes, a lot of hope and excitement, and very high expectations,” it read. “Although I raised my children near Montrose, I was not familiar with the treasure of downtown South Charleston. It’s not just a neighborhood — it’s a community and a neighborhood bound together. I have been in this business for 43 years and have never had or seen this kind of relationship with a restaurant and its location. It is truly so special.”

But on the evening of March 1, the sign said, Happy Days will close its doors so the owner can retire.

“This makes me wistful, desperately sad, but also darn excited. I am looking forward to time that I haven’t had in quite a while. I am looking forward to spending time with my family, as well as my sweet new granddaughter.”

Well you certainly can’t fault her for that, but I know a lot of people will miss this place.

“My friends and I enjoy your Food Guy column very much,” reader Gary Hart recently shared. “We go to lunch together on a semi-regular basis and we like to go to different places, just for the variety. Your columns have come up with some suggested places we probably would have never tried otherwise, but we are careful not to go to them until some time has passed after your review in the paper, as we know the restaurants get heavy traffic after your article shows up. It is a nice service that you provide, both for the business and for potential new customers like us.”

Then he went on to say that one of their favorite lunch spots was, that’s right, Happy Days.

“Our group goes there often, as we all have our favorites, whether it is a chef salad, a grilled pimiento cheese sandwich or one of the many burgers they offer,” he added. “I don’t recall if you have been there, but it is worth a trip for a good, basic lunch.”

Come to think of it, I had never eaten there so I promised Gary that I’d remedy that soon.

It will have to be really soon now.

Happy Days Café, 600 D St. in South Charleston, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until March 1. For more information, call 304-720-6273 or look up “Happy Days Café” on Facebook.

•••

In other restaurant news, an anonymous reader also sent in this plea:“Hey Food Guy! I’m looking to find the perfect place for a good corned beef sandwich. Can you help me out?”

He didn’t specify if he was chasing down something like a Reuben, or more of a traditional deli sandwich, so I’d love to hear your votes on both to share with him.

•••

I am so looking forward to Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam’s “A Taste of The Station in Charleston” from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Clay Center, and I hope you’ll come up and say hello if you see me there.That is, if you can catch me between bites of the popular Fayetteville restaurant’s delicious offerings.

I can’t wait to sample the cheese board with fresh fruit, veggies, pickles and nuts; the mixed green salad with Champagne-poached pears, candied hazelnuts and bleu cheese; the pancetta crisps with herbed goat cheese, arugula and fig; the lobster bisque with basil oil and chives; the red-wine-braised short ribs with creamy polenta, roasted carrots and onions; and the German chocolate cake.

So basically, all the things!

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by e-mail at wvfoodguy@aol.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy”.

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Campbell, James - 2 p.m., St. Anthony Catholic Church, Charleston.

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Conger, Jacqueline - 2 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Daugherty, Roy - Noon, Deal Funeral Home, Point Pleasant. 

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Jennings, Betty - 4 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

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Parsons, Joan - 2 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Persinger, Patsy - 1 p.m., White Funeral Home, Summersville.

Petry, Jo Ann - Noon, Cunningham - Parker - Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Stirling Sr., Robert - 1 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation Inc., Grantsville.

Waldron, James - 1 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Woodard-Thomas, Carolyn - 1 p.m., West Virginia Memorial Gardens, Calvin.