The Best of Morgantown 2012
The people have spoken. From the best Mexican food and first date spot to Morgantown's favorite coffee shops and the best place to change your oil, we bring you more than 70 of the city's most prized places and pastimes, as decided by you, the readers.
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FOOD & DRINK
1 Wall Street; 304.292.0982; eatatmaxwells.com
Tucked in a basement on Wall Street that resembles Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley is one of Morgantown’s most revered dining institutions—Maxwell’s. For more than 20 years, Maxwell’s has been dishing out healthy, homemade dishes from an eclectic menu. From designer deli sandwiches to seafood to curry, everything is made with fresh ingredients. On Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., droves of faithful patrons frequent the establishment for its famous brunch. Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Whole Grain Pancakes, scrumptious Coffee Cake, and the decadent Bread Pudding topped with a Jack Daniel’s Sauce are tried and true favorites. And now Maxwell’s is open Monday through Saturday for breakfast, where you can order omelets, egg platters, sandwiches, and breakfast wraps.
Maxwell’s is open from Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
BEST CUP OF JOE
1109 Van Voorhis Road; 304.599.2740; starbucks.com
2. Jay’s Daily Grind
168 Willey Street; 304.296.5297; jaysdailygrind.com
3. Blue Moose Café
248 Walnut Street; 304.292.8999; thebluemoosecafe.com
Coffee is a must in a fast-paced college town such as this, and fortunately, Morgantown has no shortage of fresh brews. Whether you crave America’s favorite, fanciful brews from Starbucks, can’t get enough of the lattes with sig-
nature designs in the foam from Jay’s, or keep going back for more chai and special events at the Blue Moose, we understand. We love them all, too.
BEST FIRST DATE PLACE
344 High Street; 304.285.8245; liralounge.com
Forget your nerves and let loose at this former bank on High Street, now a swank restaurant and bar that offers meals big and small—to share or not to share?—in a setting unlike anything else in town. Be sure to call ahead for reservations on the weekends. Small groups may reserve seats in the former bank vault, but a special date may call for a reservation in one of the booths.
The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner service is offered Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.
417 High Street; 304.225.2535
When you walk into TailPipes Gourmet Burgers and Shakes, you may feel nostalgic, but you’re about to experience something new. The diner-esque setting is complete with a black and white checkered floor, shiny, vinyl red booths, and photos of hot rods lining the walls, but the adventure begins the moment you open the menu—do you or don’t you want fried bananas on your burger?
WVU graduates Joe Reilly and Evan Tauber opened TailPipes two years ago. “Burgers were becoming a hot thing, and we said, ‘We really need to get a good burger joint here in Morgantown.’” Joe says.
The High Street “modern-day burger and shake shop” evolved from there. Joe, the manager, says the restaurant is constantly growing its menu, while keeping its promise to use local ingredients. “We’re always working to source locally raised beef for our sandwiches,” he says.
The menu is divided into classic burgers and signature creations, each named for a model of car. “Our signature burgers are definitely for the more adventurous,” Joe says. One of the most popular creations is the Barracuda, topped with grilled pineapple, jalapeno bacon, caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese, and sesame teriyaki sauce. Other creations include the Camaro—a burger topped with caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, banana peppers, and cheese sauce—and the Charger—topped with peanut butter, fried bananas, smoked bacon, pepper jack cheese, and grilled red onions. Customers can also create custom burgers. —LYDIA NUZUM
52 Clay Street; 304.296.2565; oliveriosrestaurant.com
735A Chestnut Ridge Road; 304.581.6930; stefanosmorgantown.com
1137 Van Voorhis Road; 304.599.7521; pugspasta.com
Morgantowners love to eat, and we’re very particular about our pastas. Even so, our readers had a hard time choosing just one favorite Italian restaurant. For a calming night outside on the deck, the family restaurant, Oliverio’s, is one of the best and sits against riverfront walking trails for convenient people watching. At Stefano’s Restaurant, romance awaits in the large candlelit room with a seasonal menu to die for. Nearby, Puglioni’s has been a local favorite for years, offering everything from the freshest pastas (served with a heaping loaf of buttery garlic bread) to the meatiest calzones.
BEST PLACE TO GET FOOD AT 2 A.M.
405 High Street; 304.292.2444
Sometimes you just want food to be inexpensive and fill you up, especially if you’re in college and it’s been a long night. For a late-night snack that’s not quite pizza, but that is just as deliciously greasy, D.P. Dough is your answer.
D.P. Dough puts its own spin on the calzone, made from dough folded into a semicircle and filled with tomato and mozzarella, traditionally. But at this after-midnight favorite, college students choose from more than 40 items and a wide variety of ingredients, from steak and chicken to pepperoni and bacon. The large menu appeals to vegetarians and meat lovers alike and fits into the frugal minded budget. And they deliver! Call for your next calzone before they close at 3 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, or 2 a.m. on Sundays.
BEST PLACE TO MEET THE PARENTS
383 Patteson Drive; 304.599.1870; bostonbeanery.com
76 High Street; 304.296.9234; cafebacchus.net
3013 Northpointe Plaza; 304.284.0740; yesterdaysrestaurantbarandgrille.com
Meeting the folks for the first time is stressful enough. Don’t let the restaurant where you first shake her Dad’s hand be anything less than inviting. In Morgantown, you might try the cozy atmosphere of Café Bacchus, where dinner is served in a charming, old house in a historic area of downtown and you can chat over some of the best wine. Or the Boston Beanery on Patteson Drive where photos all over the walls give you something to talk about and there’s always something good on TV. Across town, Yesterday’s Bar & Grille also invites you to chatter about the mementos of yesterday hanging all over the restaurant while waiting for your appetizers to arrive and glancing at the score on the big screen.
BEST HOT DOG & BEST DIVE BAR
In 1944, Gene Perilli Sr. started a barbershop in South Park that just so happened to serve beer and hot dogs. That business eventually became Gene’s Beer Garden, a local dive bar favorite that has continued to serve South Park’s young and old for decades.
Al Bonner, the current owner of Gene’s, says the bar provided Perilli’s family with a place to work, and the building has become a fundamental piece of the fabric that makes South Park so interesting. Al says Gene had a barbershop in the back where the kitchen is now, and people would stop by, bring their kids, and get their hair cut. “It was just a place for them to come and hang out.”
Gene passed away in 1979, and Al bought the business from two of his brothers in 1985. Al, a Morgantown native, has continued the tradition, serving both regulars and newcomers affordable hot dogs and beer for 26 years. “We have a pretty diverse crowd,” he says. Some of the bar’s most recognizable patrons include Charleston native and retired NASA astronaut John McBride, former WVU football coach Bill Stewart, and current WVU head basketball coach Bob Huggins.
Al says the area has changed significantly since he first bought Gene’s, but the bar runs much the same way it used to. “There are a lot more places to go around Morgantown, and prices keep going up. I’m kind of stuck in what I think of as a time warp here, because I’m not in the downtown area where they can charge more for beer and food, and people are willing to pay it. Coming here, it’s like stepping back into time.”
The average cost of a beer at Gene’s is $2.25 per bottle, and a hot dog costs $1.25. Bud Light, Yuengling, Miller High Life, and Guinness are among the favorites with Al’s customers, and the neighborhood tavern attracts both nearby college students and longtime South Park residents. The bar even offers local live music, and the laid-back atmosphere of Gene’s has made it a hometown favorite. Al says he has visited Gene’s since he was a child—he remembers crossing the street from his elementary school, now an apartment complex, to buy hot dogs for himself and his classmates. “Just growing up in the neighborhood, I’ve probably been coming here since I was eight or nine years old.”
Al says the bar’s intimacy sets it apart from other places in town. “It’s always been a neighborhood type of thing,” he says. “People come here who’ve known each other for years, and their lives intermingle with each other. It’s a family." —LYDIA NUZUM