Friday, December 2, 2016

Bridgeport Edition: Meagher's Irish Pub

Meaghers Irish PubIt's not every day you see an Irish restaurant in the middle of West Virginia, but Bridgeport made that possible.

Meaghers Irish PubMeagher's Irish Pub is as much of a social gathering place as it is a restaurant or bar. Located at Charles Pointe, the building is new with tons of parking. Inside, there are some Irish pennants and other memorabilia hanging on the walls.

Meaghers Irish Pub
About Meagher's Irish Pub: Featuring traditional Irish fare, New Celtic cuisine and plenty of Irish ale and whiskey – Meaghers Irish Pub at Charles Pointe.

The pub – short for “public house” – a fundamental establishment in Irish culture and the focal point of many small towns – is owned by Tim and Jade Meagher.

“We felt there was a need for more dining options – a place where people can go out and enjoy great conversation, food and a drink with friends – and what better place than a Irish Pub” – Tim Meagher

“My fathers family (the Meaghers) immigrated to America in the mid-1800s from a town called Nenagh in County Tipperarey”. “My mothers side (the Gilroys) immigrated during the same period from the Northern part of Ireland.”

According to his ancestral culture, Irish pubs have traditionally been the gathering places for family and friends.

“And that’s what we are trying to create here in Bridgeport – ‘Your Social Gathering Place’,” “We definitely want people to feel comfortable bringing the whole family, kids included.”

An original idea and design by Tim and Jade Meagher, occupies 5,123 square feet located at Charles Pointe.
Meaghers Irish PubThe menu features some takes on Irish food - like corned beef and cabbage egg rolls, Irish nachos, fish & chips, shepherd's pie, boxty, bangers & mash, and a "celtic knot" which is three large pretzel braids served with dressing, honey mustard, chipotle ketchup and beer cheese.

I totally appreciate them putting modern spins on some classic Irish dishes. I think it's pretty cool. For example, their "boxty": Our take on a classic Irish potato pancake. A thin crepe like pancake layered with with onions, peppers and cabbage wrapped and topped with a creamy cheese sauce. Choice of Salmon, Chicken, Steak or Vegetarian.

Meaghers Irish PubOne thing that is a little different is their pepperoni roll: Thank you Mr. Argiro! Ground pepperoni rolled in an airy dough shaped like a donut and deep fried and served with creamy ranch dressing - 2 per order. We ordered this appetizer because I had to try it.

Meaghers Irish PubSi, it is essentially a fried donut that has little bits of pepperoni and cheese wrapped up inside. It comes with a side of ranch (idk why it's not marinara... but alas). These are greasy as all get out, but I can't deny that they're decent. I do wish the outside was maybe rolled in parmesan or something - that would've made it 1,000 times better. But, not bad.

Meaghers Irish PubWell I ordered Fish & Chips for my entree. "Flash fried, ale-battered cod served with sea salt and pepper chips with your choice of citrus herb tarter or malt vinegar aioli."

This fish wasn't bad. A little on the greasy end, especially for the ratio of fish to batter. And, the fries were a bit soggy. I feel like this is always a thing with fish & chips. I just want my chips to be crisper.

Still, I think there are some things here you can't get everywhere - even if they have a unique spin on them. Pretty cool.

Grade: B
Meagher's Irish Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Morgantown Edition: Beertopia


There's a new craft beer shop in town, and it's making a big splash.

BeertopiaBeertopia, your new go-to for everything craft beer in Morgantown, is located on Brockway Avenue right across from Pizza Hut.

BeertopiaBeertopia has lots of home brew equipment and accessories, as well as coolers full of craft beer and a large bar with local beer on tap.

We are a small family owned business.

Here at Beertopia, we love craft beer. We have a special appreciation for West Virginia breweries. We want to promote these hidden gems so that our fellow Mountaineers can enjoy them with us!
Stop by and fill your growler, grab your favorite six pack, pick up a keg for your next gathering, or put together the brewing supplies for your own perfect brew.

We'd love to meet you and discuss your passion for craft beer.
BeertopiaI stopped by to check the place out and tried Big Timber's Frost Notch Winter Ale. This beer is pretty damn good. I could definitely see myself drinking a few more this winter. I also ended up having a Screech Owl Brewing Thrashing Wheat, which was also tasty. Love that they have a good variety of local beers on tap - and good taste in selection, too.

BeertopiaThey also have a small selection of food available. Their standard bar fare includes a pepperoni roll, meat/cheese plate, hot sausage pepper dip & chips, hummus, baked cheese raviolis and sausage cheese balls.

BeertopiaSo, we got an order of the sausage cheese balls - only because it was the strangest thing on the menu, and I was intrigued.

BeertopiaThey weren't bad - not sure there's any cheese left, but it's little just a little ball of sausage. Pretty self explanatory here. But, I must say, these little greasy bites feel good on a belly full of beer.

BeertopiaThis place is pretty sweet. If you haven't made your way out there yet, clear some time and take time to take it all in. Whether you're brewing or just enough a nice craft beverage, there's a little bit of something for everyone.

BeertopiaGrade: A
Beertopia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Moundsville Edition: Quality Bake Shoppe

Quality Bake ShoppeI have a friend (*ahem*Ann Ali Semenick*) who has sung the praises of Moundsville bakery Quality Bake Shoppe for quite some time.

Quality Bake ShoppeThis bakery, which is a hometown favorite, is small but has quite a selection. When I walked in - about an hour before closing time - they still had tons of donuts, cookies, cupcakes, pastries, Mad Dogs (which are long pastries that look like hot dogs filled with a cream), and their "World Famous" Butterscotch Seasonal Cookies.

Quality Bake Shoppe
We are a "baked fresh daily" bakery. This means that everyday we are putting out fresh baked goods. From our famous mad dogs, to our delicious glazed donuts we put out fresh donuts right up to closing! We also have some very talented cake decorators on staff who make all types of cakes, including wedding cakes and birthday cakes! And don't forget our bread, pies, cookies, and other pastries! Call ahead to place orders!
Quality Bake Shoppe
I had to get a butterscotch cookie, which was a pumpkin, and one of the Mad Dogs, which I got in peanut butter.

Quality Bake ShoppeThe butterscotch cookies are the real deal. Think of a sugar cookie - only better. Super sweet an rich but with some nice salty characteristics, too. So good.

Quality Bake ShoppeThe Mad Dog is very similar to Spring Hill Pastry's hot dog. A long pastry split and filled with cream. The peanut butter one was quite good - a nice fluffy, chewy pastry with peanut buttery filling. Delish.

This is quite the little bakery. Out-of-this-world pastries and goodies. I'll definitely be making another stop on my way through Moundsville in the future.

Grade: A
Quality Bake Shoppe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wheeling Edition: TJ's Sports Garden Restaurant

TJ's Sports GardenSo, as I slowly eat my way through the Northern Panhandle, I'm trying to hit all the key places. TJ's Sports Garden in Wheeling is one of them.

TJ's Sports GardenWhile not necessarily revered for its culinary offerings, the environment of TJ's is unmatched. Calling it a "sports bar" would be putting it lightly - football field rugs, tons of giant TVs with every sport imaginable, neon beer lights, pool tables and scoreboard decorations. 

TJ's Sports GardenThe menu has lots of fried appetizers, burgers, pasta, seafood, sandwiches, wraps and more. I had called in my order, so I actually went to toward the back counter to pick it up. It was quick and done actually much quicker than the time they quoted me. Even better. I got my box full of food and headed out back toward Morgantown.

TJ's Sports GardenI got the TJ's Par Three Cheeseburgers, which are three cheeseburger sliders with an onion ring. They're topped with mayo, mustard, ketchup, and a pickle on a toasted bun. Sides of "TJ's famous cole slaw and fries."

I'll tell you what, these sliders are pretty damn good. I wasn't expecting much, so maybe my bar was pretty low. But, they had big patties, and the abundance of condiments and seasoning of the beef made for a good flavor, and that onion ring added some nice texture.

The fries were also not bad. Could be crisper.

TJ's Sports GardenThe biggest surprise, though, was the cole slaw. I didn't even know I liked cole slaw that much until I had it from here. Sweeter, more finely chopped. Really good. I'm glad I got this, too, because I almost subbed it out for something else.

Overall, definitely a cool place to hang out and catch the game. And, I would say the food is pretty good, too, if you are wanting some good, standard burgers and fries fare.

Grade: A
TJ's Sports Garden Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, November 28, 2016

Jeannette, PA Edition: DeLallo Italian Marketplace

DelalloHave you seen the DeLallo branded Italian products in Kroger? They essentially make up the specialty Italian section, and they often have an end cap devoted to pasta sauce, olives and other goodies.

DelalloWhat I didn't know is that DeLallo is actually a family-owned marketplace in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, that has seen success in the wholesale and retail business.
The George DeLallo Company was founded with the ideals of offering true authentic Italian foods with integrity and consistency. In the mid-1940s, George DeLallo began selling Italian grocery items door-to-door in the immigrant neighborhoods of Western Pennsylvania. In 1954, he and his wife Madeline established a grocery store in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, which specialized in authentic Italian foods. Soon after, they began to develop and sell traditional Italian products under the DeLallo name. 
As the years progressed, the retail and wholesale businesses grew. In the 1980s, DeLallo pioneered the olive and antipasti bar concept, which has become a staple of grocery stores around the U.S. and has revolutionized the American consumer’s experience of table olives and antipasti. 
Today, DeLallo’s original Jeannette retail store remains a vibrant and beloved part of the community and DeLallo products are distributed throughout the country. Whether it is found on traditional Italian grocery items such as olive oil, pasta, vinegars and tomatoes, or on our complete line of cured olives and antipasti, the DeLallo label guarantees consumers authenticity, integrity, and consistency.
DelalloThis small business that started just over the border in PA has secured a contract with Kroger, apparently, and it has brought these products to people who otherwise wouldn't know this -- like me. Once I discovered this is actually a small, not-too-far marketplace, I wanted to check it out.

DelalloSo, you will pass through two tolls likely, so be sure to have some extra cash on hand ... Once I arrived, there was a parking lot attendant directing me to go to the back parking lot.

Walking in, there is immediate product. There is fresh produce and nuts. There's a little bit of everything you can think of - fruits, vegetables, fresh nuts that you can scoop by the pound.

Moving around, there's a crazy long olive bar. Olives with feta, blue cheese-stuffed olives, seasoned olives, plus a number of other things like roasted red peppers, bruschetta, stuffed grape leaves, artichokes. You name it. You pile it into a container and weigh it.

Moving around, there's the cheese station. This area was particularly busy , and you even have to pick a number to wait your turn in line. So, I could only see so many items. But, there was fresh mozzarella, cheese spreads, giant wheels of every cheese you can think of.

Moving around, there is a section for prepared foods. Like General Tso's Chicken or cheesy stuffed polenta or spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms, lasagna, homestyle Italian meatballs, and cabbage rolls.

Then, there's the meat counter. Turkey, ham, whatever you could possibly imagine.

Freshly baked bread lines the wall. I'm also told their pepperoni rolls are great, but I arrived too late to try it out.

DelalloThen, there was the sweets counter. Biscotti, cupcakes, salted caramels (you know I picked one of those up!).



And, finally, there is all the packaged pasta and sauces.

DelalloThere is so much stuff here that it's pretty incredible. It's not like something in a major city, but it's a scaled down version of that, and something I'd love to see in any West Virginia city. Everything I had from that salted caramel to olives from the olive bar to some creamy tortellini was all spectacular. If you have a free moment, check out this place not too far from home for a taste of Italy.


Grade: A
DeLallo Italian MArketplace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato