Charleston Edition: Thelma Fay's Cafe

By Candace Nelson - 8:00 AM

I was out of options for a Sunday lunch, so I turned to Twitter for suggestions. I received a few responses, many of which I hope to try on my return trip, but one place in particular was named by three separate individuals: Thelma Fay's.

I hadn't heard of Thelma Fay's. But if three people whose opinions value, I thought I'd go ahead with it. Besides, these home-cooked, hole-in-a-wall places sometimes have the best food.

This pink building doesn't have a devoted parking lot, so we circled the block for awhile trying to figure out where to park. We finally got a space and walked inside. I noticed some mismatched framed art on the walls, as well as some records. A few long tables decorated the wall on the left, and a couple single-person booths lined the right wall. We walked back toward the counter. I noticed the wall to the left had "Thelma Fay" herself, along with tons of signatures. At the counter were a few menus. We took them to a booth and looked over them.

The man behind the counter asked us what we'd like to drink, and he filled us up some styrofoam cups and handed them to us. I said thank you, but he just walked away. Their Sunday brunch menu looked fabulous - eggs benedict, eggs Thelma Fay (with smoked salmon), bagel & lox, and Captain Crunch french toast.

I had a hard time narrowing down between the Captain Crunch french toast and eggs benedict. I decided to try to be an adult and order the eggs benedict. After a little wait, our food was served. Two English muffins, topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. I bit down to only taste some bland, mediocre soft food. I tried again, sopping up more hollandaise to get some more flavor. Nothing. Where's the rich, buttery flavor? That mild tang? Absent.

I finished one muffin/poached egg combo and sent the rest away. This fabulous brunch item was reduced to a mediocre dish that I didn't want to associate with. It was simply … there. The service was questionable, at best. And the food was nothing to be desired.

You know, I love when I can find a great little diner that has an outstanding dish that you could find in a 5-star restaurant. But this wasn't my experience here. 

Maybe I ordered the wrong dish? It's hard to say. But I hold those who suggested the place in high regard, so I must just need to try a different dish. Captain Crunch french toast it is!

I did, however, try one fried cheesecake bite from a friend who ordered them. They were quite tasty. Fried desserts hit this odd comfort food in all of us - they're so good, but so bad to love them.

Grade: C
Thelma Fay's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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  1. I stumbled upon your blog. Very nice and well written!

    Is there one food or restaurant that's unique to the area that an adventurous food lover should try?

    1. Depends on where you are? Do you mean West Virginia in general, or southern, northern, Pittsburgh-area? One of my faves is Pies & Pints (http://candacelately.blogspot.com/2011/07/charleston-edition-pies-pints.html). But if you have a specific area you're referring to, I can do my best to help target more location-specific places!

    2. WV in general and more specifically Morgantown area. I'm always looking for food that's somewhat unique to the area or region that you can't really get elsewhere...like boudin is somewhat unique to Louisiana

    3. I'd say for Morgantown - I'd look into Richwood Grill, because they source much of their food locally. So you get a real taste of WV beef, pork, etc.

  2. Candace, as the owner of Thelma Fay's, I would like to invite you back to try us again. We have reimaged the restaurant and menu and are now know as Thelma Fay's Deli.

    1. Hi Ernie - I'd be happy to! I do my "restaurant redemption" series. I'll add you to my list and will be sure to stop in when I'm back in Charleston! Thanks!


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