In breaking local restaurant news, not only has The Barge opened its outdoor dockside dining area for the season, but its previous two restaurants are also shaking things up this year.
Both restaurants (casual downstairs and fine-dining upstairs) have combined into one and are now open during the day as well, giving the area another upscale weekday lunch option.
Even better, you can order from a limited fine-dining menu downstairs and a section of the patio is now reserved for fine-dining in the evenings, meaning you can enjoy a burger and fries — or lobster and pork belly — al fresco on the water.
I’ve always kind of liked the casual/upscale separation — offering each type of guest the specific experience they’re after — but I am curious to see how this new setup works out.
Now through Oct. 1, the new “combined” restaurant will be open for lunch from noon to 5 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Outside of “river season” October through May, hours will revert back to 5 to 10 p.m. those same days indoors only.
For more information, call 304-744-2628 or visit www.bargerestaurant.com.
In other restaurant news, Stonewall Resort’s Lightburn’s Restaurant is now open for the season overlooking the Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course in its beautiful lakeside setting in central West Virginia.
And the upscale steakhouse’s new menu sounds like one of the most creative I’ve seen around the state in some time. You can try dishes like:
- Smoked pork belly with maple bourbon glaze, orange-cinnamon compressed apples, spring onion-infused oil, radish and house baby pickles.
- Trio of hot smoked salmon — saffron honey and lemon; hibiscus, tarragon and orange; apple, bacon and honey.
- Smoked lemon-grilled Spanish octopus with house-smoked chorizo, charred jalapeno/sweet onion puree, crispy shallots and fennel.
- Whole-roasted Appalachian rainbow trout with fresh herbs, lemon compound butter and ramps.
- Tea-smoked duck breast with caramelized pears, Appalachian tomato jam and citrus foam.
- Red deer osso bucco with parsnips, fresh vegetables, molasses, cranberries, juniper and house bacon.
- A wide variety of USDA and Prime quality steaks served with roasted carrot jus, bordelaise, whole roasted garlic clove and finished with red wine butter, fresh thyme and sea salt.
- And a whole array of splurge-worthy desserts.
The resort’s lakeside TJ Muskies Bar & Grill and Stillwaters — now with an outdoor dining patio adorned with bistro lights — have both launched new menus this spring as well.
For more information on all three restaurants, visit www.stonewallresort.com.
And finally, I’m excited to be judging this weekend’s Charley West BBQ Fest from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Haddad Riverfront Park, featuring tons of delicious food, contests, live music — and free admission.
This annual event, benefiting the Bob Burdette Center’s after-school program on the West Side, gives the public a chance to purchase meals from both commercial barbecue vendors and buy tasting tickets to sample food prepared by local backyard barbecue cooks.
Tasting tickets are 10 for $10 and enable you to vote for one professional and one amateur entrant to be named People’s Choice winners. Meanwhile, I’ll join a panel of judges to blindly taste all commercial, competition and backyards cooks to declare our “Best BBQ in Charleston.”
Competition entrants will vie for trophies honoring best pulled pork, best ribs, best sauce and best wild card entry, while backyard contenders will compete for cash prices.
Live music throughout the day — all from bands donating their time — will feature Peddlers Glory (grass-stained mountain music), Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns (Appalachian rock meets alt country), The Mark Miller Band (southern rock and blues) and Emmalea Deal (alt rock-pop singer/songwriter).
For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.charleywestbbqfest.com. Hope to see you there.