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dwights food

Comfort foods rule the menu at Dwight’s Restaurant in St. Albans.

I recently received a call from St. Albans reader Linda Troutman, who must know of my insatiable breakfast obsession.

She alerted me to an article in Blue Ridge Country magazine that offered a roundup of great breakfast menus throughout the region, including one right here in the Kanawha Valley.

Little did she know how significant this news was to me.

Not because a local restaurant was praised in a regional or national publication. That happens often. But because of which one it was.

In a sidebar accompanying the story highlighting even more great breakfast spots, Dwight’s Restaurant, on MacCorkle Avenue in St. Albans, made the cut.

Wait, what?

I’ve lived in Charleston some 27 years now and didn’t even know there was still a Dwight’s in the area!

I grew up in Huntington, adoring this iconic greasy spoon, which was a popular 24-hour diner for families during the day and, um, “celebrating” Marshall students in the wee hours of the morning. (Think of Kanawha City’s late Southern Kitchen, may it rest in peace.)

The first Dwight’s opened on the corner of 8th Street and 9th Avenue in Huntington back in 1963, although the family had other restaurants as early as the 1950s. As the third generation of founder Dwight Messinger, Mike and Vickie Messinger now carry on the same family tradition — but their St. Albans location is the only one left.

As a Huntington mainstay for many, it shook the town to its core when the original Dwight’s closed back in 1995, followed by the demise of a second location on First Street in 2003.

I haven’t been the same since. So Linda’s news that a Dwight’s still exists (and is still in the same family, no less) had me squealing like a child on Christmas morning. I immediately checked out the menu online and found many of my old favorites on it.

Fresh ground beef burgers and fat crinkle-cut fries. Scratch-made soups, chili, cole slaw and more. Awesome onion rings cut, breaded and fried fresh daily.

For heartier appetites, there are hand-cut steaks and chops, meaty spaghetti, hand-breaded haddock, slow-roasted beef and cubed steak in luscious brown pan gravy.

Then there’s breakfast (mercy!) which you can enjoy morning, noon or night. Biscuits baked daily, sausage gravy, fluffy pancakes and waffles, eggs and meats all sorts of ways.

I’m starting to quiver just typing these words, so you can bet I’ll be making a trip down MacCorkle just as soon as the hectic holidays pass.

IF YOU GO: Dwight’s, 513 MacCorkle Ave. in St. Albans, is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. For more information, call 304-722-1745 or visit dwights-restaurant-saint-albans.com.

•••

Poor fruitcake can’t catch a break.Not only is this much-maligned holiday “treat” the butt of many jokes, but it can’t even get its own day right.

Turns out National Fruitcake Day is today — two days AFTER the only holiday on which it has a prayer of being celebrated, or at least sampled, because no one likes the stuff.

But don’t just take my word for it. According to pollsters at National Today:

1 in 5 Americans have never eaten fruitcake and 1 in 10 admit making fun of it, whether they’ve tried it or not.

Only 11 percent confess to actually liking fruitcake, and nearly two-thirds of that small group are men. Most women aren’t having it.

Although 42 percent said they bake every Christmas, only 5 percent have ever made their own fruitcake.

I’m actually not a hater. The combination of dried fruit, nuts, spices and sometimes booze is rustic and satisfying to me. But if you’re looking for a REAL holiday to hoot up, National Bacon Day is coming up this Friday.

Unlike fruitcake, most people dig the pig.

•••

Like coffee? Love free? How about both!Convenience store Sheetz will celebrate the holidays by offering customers a free cup of coffee from 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 4 p.m. New Year’s Day. The national chain did the same thing on Christmas, just as they have for more than 20 years.

While you’re there picking up your free cup o’ joe, you may want to grab a snack, too.

Seriously.

The gas station’s MTO (made-to-order) food counter features a menu of fresh, creative and — more often than not — tasty baked goods, breakfast items, sandwiches, flatbreads, wraps, sliders, pizzas, subs, salads, mac ’n’ cheese, soups and more.

And I’m not kidding about the “good” part. I’m kind of a fan.

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at 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.”

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