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steven keith

Reader Ronald Campbell’s request to track down how to make the Fiesta Burger he used to enjoy at Joey’s Bar and Grill back in the day is one I’m able to fulfill right away.

As soon as last week’s column ran, Joey’s sister herself — Karen Samples — called to give me the scoop.

“I’m sitting here looking at an original copy of Joey’s old menu and it describes just how that burger was made,” she said. “Would you like me to send you a copy?”

Yes, please!

While not a detailed recipe, the menu’s simple description pretty much tells you exactly what you’d need to make one.

Noted as one of “Joey’s Favorites,” the open-faced Fiesta (Tex-Mex) Burger featured “a charbroiled beef patty smothered with chili, picante sauce, nacho chips, blended Mexican cheese, lettuce, tomato and jalapeno peppers. Bravo!”

Really makes me miss the weekly Joey’s ritual I fell into when I first moved to Charleston back in 1991. Almost every Saturday afternoon I’d join friends down at that Quarrier Street spot for beer and copious amounts of fried food, usually enjoyed while watching a game on one of the jumping joint’s many TVs.

Bravo, indeed.


Here’s a bit a sweet news coming out of Capitol Market. Remember the mobile donut truck featured in the Nov. 8 paper? It’ll be parked at the market serving its tasty treats throughout the month of December.

Owner Stephanie Woody says her little Vandalia Donut Company camper will make its debut there on Friday, Dec. 8, then set up shop every Thursday and Friday thereafter from 4 to 7 p.m.

I am so all over this.


Hate to end on a downer, but I have a bit of bad news to report on the Sterling front.You may remember from past columns that just about every time I mentioned that former downtown restaurant, an older woman named “Mrs. White” would call and go on and on sharing all of her favorite memories from working there years ago.

I made a plea for her to call me again during last month’s quest to track down Sterling’s beloved spaghetti sauce recipe, sure that she’d be just the woman to help. I never heard back — which was very unusual — and I had a sinking suspicion why.

“Hi Steven, I was a friend of Martha White, the longtime Sterling employee you mentioned in your column on Oct. 18,” Charleston reader Don Swick wrote, attaching an obituary to his email. “Sadly, Martha passed away last year. But she loved her work at the Sterling and loved to share her memories and stories about it.”

I was especially sad because another reader, J.D. Kellner, had reached out hoping I could put him in touch with Mrs. White. Turns out his late grandmother used to work at the Sterling as well, and he was hoping to connect with someone who could share stories about that time in her life.

Sorry to share the news of her passing, J.D., but there is a silver lining here.

Remember Dottie Lowery, a surviving sister of Sterling’s late owner who now lives in Little River, South Carolina? She’d love to help you take a walk down Memory Lane.

“Hey Mr. Food Guy, this is Dottie Lowery,” she said. “I read where a young man had reached out to you because his grandmother had worked at the Sterling, and he was hoping to reach out to Mrs. White so he could hear a few stories from that part of her life.

“I would be happy to talk to him if he wants to give me a call. We were a close-knit group at the Sterling, so it’s very possible that I did know her.”

There you have it, J.D. If you’d like to talk to her, please let me know.

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by email at You can also follow him on Facebook as WV Food Guy and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as WVFoodGuy.