The Davis-Thomas area has always been attractive to me. It's been out of the way from my main paths of travel, it's near Blackwater Falls, and it plays host to a a number of really cool local restaurants. It's one of those pockets in West Virginia that just has a really cool local culture - like Fayetteville or Lewisburg.
One restaurant I've been wanting to try is Hellbender Burritos. The name just sounds really cool - like they're super spicy or something. But, nope, they're actually named after a kind of salamander - also known as a snot otter - I learned about at work. But they're native to the Davis area.
They opened at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, and my interview for a story was at noon. So, we were there right at 11:30. We parked right along the main road (for free) and walked to the restaurant. It was the first time I saw snow this season, so I was super happen to see a nice fireplace in the front room. We walked down the steps into the next area where there was a man at the bar (and some folks at another table). He told us we could sit anywhere, so we chose the room closer to the fire to warm up.
The inside is cute and cozy. A server brought us menus fairly quickly. They have specialty burritos, including items named "Gendarme," "Treehugger" and "HooDoo VooDoo." I gravitated toward "The Hellbender," which is shrimp or chicken in a spicy garlic buffalo sauce, with rice and homemade bleu cheese dressing. I got the shrimp.
I think it was something about the homemade bleu cheese that did me in. That just sounded amazing. So when it came out, I instantly knew I would need a to-go box. They are giant burritos, served with a side of chips and slaw. Instead of using a fork, which I assumed would lead to a mess, I picked it up and dug in.
Full of rice and a creamy bleu cheese sauce, it packed just a slight heat and some fresh shrimp. Incredible. Flavors of garlic and smokiness are made all the better with the rich creaminess of the bleu cheese dressing and light shrimp. Even though chicken goes well with this flavor combo, the shrimp gave me something different. I dug it.
Chips and slaw were fine. That burrito, though, delicious.