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.

FOOD & DRINK

BEST BRUNCH

Maxwell’s
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

1. Starbucks
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

Lira Lounge
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.

 

BEST HAMBURGER

TailPipes
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

 

BEST ITALIAN

1. Oliverio’s
52 Clay Street; 304.296.2565; oliveriosrestaurant.com

2. Stefano’s
735A Chestnut Ridge Road; 304.581.6930; stefanosmorgantown.com

3. Puglioni’s
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.

D.P. Dough
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
{THREE-WAY TIE}

Boston Beanery
383 Patteson Drive; 304.599.1870; bostonbeanery.com

Café Bacchus
76 High Street; 304.296.9234; cafebacchus.net

Yesterday’s
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

Gene’s Beer Garden
461 Wilson Avenue; 304.292.1147

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

 

 

BEST MEXICAN

Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant
1137 Van Voorhis Road; 304.598.3715

Lunchtime, dinnertime, before and after WVU games—you can pretty much count on this favorite Mexican restaurant being packed. “Believe it or not, some people come every single day and have lunch here,” says manager Adrian Trevino.

Offering authentic Mexican cuisine at affordable prices, Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant is a Morgantown staple. “We have our own traditional dishes and everything, we just try to adjust those for American people,” Adrian says.

The restaurant has many regulars who come for the authentic cuisine, which includes nearly every kind of burrito, enchilada, taco, and fajita imaginable. The restaurant also offers unique dishes, such as chile rellenos, stuffed poblano or bell peppers served with rice and beans, as well as traditional Latin American tamales. The signature margaritas are another great feature of the menu. Customers can order them in virtually any size, from a glass to a pitcher. Lime margaritas and strawberry margaritas are extremely popular. “The recipe is a secret,” Adrian laughs.

Adrian says Los Mariachis’ owner, Jose Soliz, opened the restaurant in 1998. Both Adrian and Jose are natives of Mexico. Jose also owns and operates Mariachi Loco, located on Hornbeck Road in Morgantown. Adrian says there are plans to open a third restaurant in the Cheat Lake area in February. “It will have a different name from the other two, but it will serve the same food at the same prices." —LYDIA NUZUM

 

BEST PEPPERONI ROLL

Collasessano’s
6120 Mid Atlantic Drive; 304.241.4917; info@colasessanospizza.com; colasessanos.com

What’s a pepperoni roll? Just ask a West Virginian. Freshly baked, golden brown buns filled with strips of pepperoni and toppings and toasted to perfection, Colasessano’s has been making their world-famous pepperoni bun and signature pizzas for 50 years for patrons in Fairmont, Morgantown, and across the nation. They take online orders to ship frozen pepperoni rolls anywhere in the country. Open most days 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., this legendary dine-in and carry-out pizza restaurant sells frozen or freshly-baked pepperoni buns in addition to serving up an extensive menu of pizzas, sandwiches, and other delicious dishes.

 

BEST PIZZA

Pizza Al’s
2952 University Avenue; 304.599.4040; pizzaals.com

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: When it comes to pizza, Pizza Al’s can’t be beat. For about $12, customers can buy a pizza that has to be turned sideways just to get it out the door. The pizza makers toss and form the dough right behind the ordering counter so patrons can watch as the little ball of dough is transformed into an enormous pizza. Pizza Al’s also makes sandwiches, calzones, and salads. The service is eat-in or pick-up only (no delivery), but there is nothing quite like walking out of there with a huge pizza that is sure to satisfy any appetite.

 

   

 

BEST PLACE TO WATCH THE GAME

Damon’s Grill & Sports Bar
550 Suncrest Towne Centre; 304.598.7427; damons.com
Come on down and cheer for the Mountaineers at Damon’s, featuring a state-of-the-art, multi-screen entertainment system, happy hour specials, and a mouth-watering selection of prime rib, grilled steaks, chicken, seafood, salad, and award-winning ribs. Conveniently located off of Highway 705, sports fans are sure to enjoy the high energy at Damon’s. The restaurant is open every day at 11 a.m.

 

BEST RESTAURANT WITH A VIEW

Richwood Grill
318 Richwood Avenue; 304.292.1888; richwoodgrill.com

Not only is Richwood Grill one of the best restaurants around, but it also has the very best view of this Mountaineer city. When the temperatures start to rise outside, be sure to make a reservation for a seat on the deck. You’ll gain a whole new perspective on this town and on fresh food.

 

BEST SUSHI

Ogawa Japanese Restaurant
2920 University Avenue; 304.598.8338; ogawasushi.com

For some of the finest in sushi, Morgantown residents need look no further than University Avenue. Tucked between Exxon and Sanders Floor Covering is Ogawa Japanese Restaurant. Inside, patrons dine on high-quality sushi and other Japanese and Korean dishes in an intimate environment featuring traditional Japanese décor. “When they step foot in my restaurant, they become my family,” says restaurant owner Gunn Hong. And Gunn serves his family nothing but the best. “If it’s not good food, I throw it away.”

The secret behind Ogawa’s delectable sushi is the fine quality of fish and precision in cutting, says He Cho, a restaurant manager. The fish used in Ogawa’s sushi is shipped twice a week from Washington, D.C., but Gunn will sometimes make the eight-hour roundtrip himself if the restaurant is getting low on supply.

Ogawa’s most popular sushi rolls are the Mountaineer and WVU rolls, two of their Americanized sushi rolls, and the spicy tuna roll. The Mountaineer roll is a California roll deep-fried and topped with smoked salmon, eel crunches, and eel sauce. The WVU roll is the cooked shrimp tempura roll with salmon, tuna, white fish, crunches, and a spicy sauce. The spicy tuna roll consists of rice, seaweed, and spicy tuna.

Other popular dishes include the spicy noodle bokeum and the dol-sot bi-bim bop. The spicy noodle bokeum features thick udon noodles, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, carrots, and seafood, chicken, or beef, in a spicy sauce. The dol-sot bi-bim bop, a traditional Korean dish, features rice, vegetables, and choice of seafood, beef, chicken, or tofu topped with a fried egg and served in a heated stone bowl. The dish is served with a spicy sauce. Ogawa is also the only place in Morgantown for Okonomiaki, or “Japanese pizza,” Gunn says.

Ogawa is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 10:30 p.m., Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. —JOANN SNODERLY

 

BEST SWEET TREAT
{THREE-WAY TIE}

The Cupcakerie
194 Willey Street; 304.212.5464; orders@thecupcakerie.com; thecupcakerie.com

The first, the only! The Cupcakerie is Morgantown’s only exclusively cupcake bakery. Using the finest ingredients, this adorable shop delivers the best in jumbo, regular, and mini confections, including gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, and figure-friendly options. Perfect for every occasion, The Cupcakerie caters for everything from tailgating to Christmas parties, and offers favorites like P’Nutty for Chocolate and Red Carpet Red Velvet.

Nonna’s Bakery & Deli
511 Burroughs Street; 304.554.3813; nonnasbakery.com

Perfetto! Delizioso! One of the finest bakeries in town, Nonna’s authentic Italian bakery serves up pepperoni rolls, breads, muffins, biscotti, cakes, sandwiches, soups, salads, and of course, sweets like eclairs, cream horns, cookies, and cannoli—just to name a few..

Tutto Gelato
755 Chestnut Ridge Road; 304.291.2444; tutto-gelato.com

Less butterfat, less air, warmer serving temperature—these are the secrets to what makes gelato the best. Just ask the owners of Tutto Gelato, who have been dishing up Italy’s version of ice cream since 2007. Open until 10 p.m., find Tutto’s in their new location in Suburban Plaza.

 

BEST VEGETARIAN & BEST KID-FRIENDLY

Black Bear Burritos
132 Pleasant Street; 304.296.8696; blackbearburritos.com

If variety is the spice of life, then Black Bear Burritos is one of the hottest restaurant and music venues in Morgantown.

Black Bear began in 2003 as a business venture between WVU alumni, Jason Coffman and Matt Showalter. The restaurant’s style, live music, and vegetarian-friendly menu were a shared vision between the friends. “The early concept of the restaurant, in our minds, were things that we wish had been here when we were in college,” Matt says.

The two hoped to offer the community a broad selection of vegetarian and vegan items, as well as classic sandwiches such as the Reuben and Philly Cheese Steak served on West Virginia Fiestaware. “Each of us had been vegetarians during part of our lives, and we definitely saw the need for more options in Morgantown,” Jason says.

Every item in the restaurant is made from regional ingredients. The chicken comes from a farm in Ohio, and the steak is brought in fresh from Bridgeport. The tofu used in many of the vegetarian options is produced in Spencer.

The Parkersburg natives also serve handcrafted beers from around the state, as well as specialty brews from as far as Newport, Oregon. Some specialty beers at Black Bear include chipotle smoked beer, chocolate stout, and even beers co-developed by Food Network Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

The restaurant has a long standing tradition of booking great live shows, too, and Black Bear has hosted both local artists and Grammy-nominated musicians during its eight years on Pleasant Street. Black Bear hosts live music ranging from indie rock to jazz, blues, and reggae. “Our philosophy has always been to use a big net and not focus on one particular style of music,” Jason says. “We try to provide variety, and a little bit of something for everyone.”

Some Black Bear favorites include Morgantown’s Sam Lamont, Parkersburg native Mike Morningstar, and the Falling Run Bluegrass Band. “It’s really a labor of love for us because we are such music fans,” Matt says. Matt, a guitar player and former band mate of Sam Lamont, says shows at Black Bear have always been a major part of the business. “In our earliest conversations about what we wanted the restaurant to be, we always factored in live music.”

Black Bear’s menu is filled with every kind of burrito imaginable, and patrons can build their own burrito or salad wrap to suit their tastes. There is also a children’s menu, and children under the age of six eat for free. “Our philosophy, as parents of young kids, is that they’re not always going to eat what you order for them when you go out,” Jason laughs. “Whether it’s just a bad night or they’re not hungry, it’s sometimes painful to spend money on a child’s meal that they don’t end up eating. As a parent, maybe they don’t get as much time to see live music or visit local bars, and we try to be a family-friendly place where they can come with their kids and still have some of that experience.”

Once you’ve ordered your burrito at this local favorite, you’ll get a toy to take back to your seat instead of your usual restaurant place card. If this isn’t enough to make dinner fun, kids also love playing on the small stage or rocking to the local bands. Both young and old love to admire the local art all over the walls.

More than just the best vegetarian place in town, Black Bear is a favorite retaurant of many locals. Jason and Matt say they are considering opening a second location on the WVU Evansdale campus. “We’rejust a couple of guys who serve food and serve what we like, and we’ve gotten lucky in that our customers seem to like those things as well.” —LYDIA NUZUM

 

 

BEST TAKEOUT

Great Wall
162 High Street; 304.291.3412/3417; greatwallchinesefood.com

You will have great fortune when you order from Great Wall, a local favorite for Chinese takeout. Delivery is quick, and ordering online is easy. Don’t forget to add the fried cheese wontons.

 

BEST WINGS

Kegler’s Sports Bar & Lounge
735 Chestnut Ridge Road #A 304.598.9698; keglerssportsbar.com

Voted by the people of Morgantown for the best wings in town for more than a decade, Kegler’s wings come in a variety of sauces, from mild, medium, hot, and hotter to lemon pepper, ranch parmesan, honey teriyaki, and Kegler’s special sauce. Head to this Morgantown hot spot for the ultimate experience of an American sports bar and grill.

 

BEST BEER SELECTION
{THREE-WAY TIE}

Jay’s Getaway
227 Chestnut Street; 304.291.2291

Step off the beaten path and step into Jay’s Getaway, a haven for beer lovers and nonsmokers. This small, relaxing bar has more than 70 beers of all different kinds, plus wine. Have fun trying new things by recording your drinks and earning points that could get you a free keychain, a discount on your bill, or your name on the leaderboard, among other things. Just be sure you get there early. Jay’s fills up fast and typically does last call early.

Gibbie’s Pub & Eatery
368 High Street; 304.296.4427; gibbies.com

Check out the specials on your way in, then grab a seat at one of the bar stools or grab a table to order some good grub. Gibbie’s has an extensive selection of great beer on tap, with options like Rogue and Great Lakes. Catch up with friends at one of the pub’s two bars, or go for a night of karaoke, trivia, or comedy. You won’t be alone. There’s almost always a crowd at this local favorite.

Morgantown Brewing Company
1291 University Avenue; 304.292.6959; morgantownbrewing.com

Just down the hill from the college nightlife is a quieter place to hang out and drink some local brews. The Morgantown Brewing Company offers eight craft brews as well as several seasonal beers and special, small-batch brews. This longtime brew pub has been recognized for its ales at the Bramwell Beer Festival and is known around town for some of the best dinner. Check it out for a night of drinks and darts, or go for a brew with supper.

 

BEST HAPPY HOUR & BEST WINE BAR

Vintage Room
467 Chestnut Street; 304.225.9595; bwvintageroom.com

So, so much wine. This restaurant and bar is the only place in town where you can actually sit in a room with wine bottles from floor to ceiling. Order it by the bottle or by the glass, just make sure you look at the extensive menu—there is A LOT to choose from. Besides great wine, champagne, and cocktails, The Vintage Room offers some rare, suave spaces to hang out in Morgantown—from the two large wine rooms you can sit in to the upper bar area or the main room with bar, oversized booths, and the smell of gourmet pizza.

Stop by for the most popular happy hour in town—Working Women’s Wednesday, with $5 pizza and cocktail specials for the ladies. The Vintage Room is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 to 11 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays.

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY WINE & BEST CHOCOLATE

Slight Indulgence
407 High Street, 304.292.3401; 3200 Collins Ferry Road, 304.599.3402; slightindulgence.com

There is nothing “slight” about this gourmet shop—with hundreds of bottles of wine to choose from to suit every taste. At Slight Indulgence, wine prices range from $7 a bottle to bottles worth more than $1,000, though most bottles sold cost around $20. At this glorious store, you can choose from wines all over the world.

JC and Suzy Warman opened Slight Indulgence in 1983 on High Street. “My husband wanted to be his own boss; he wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Suzy says. “We had lots of neighbors who had businesses downtown who encouraged him.” JC had a background in dealing with food from when he worked at a major food chain. The couple took a leap of faith and dove in. The business was so successful, a second Slight Indulgence opened in Suncrest.

The owners’ passion for food and wine is clear when they’re working with customers. “We hand sell all of our wines here. We ask what foods will be served with the wine and what kind of tastes the customer has,” Suzy says. “Chocolate is a little different because people are really into chocolate—they pretty much already know the flavors they like.” Slight Indulgence is known for its chocolate, gourmet foods, and now, a café in their Collins Ferry Road location.

Suzy says gourmet food is part of her family’s culture. “I’m Italian and my husband has always had a love for food and wine. Opening a gourmet shop just seemed right.” Their risk has paid off. Slight Indulgence is the only gourmet shop in West Virginia to be showcased in Specialty Food Magazine.

Suzy sees the store as an extension of her family. “We’re a family business so we have very strong family values with personalities that really exude our products. We’re into food. We’re into wine. Our business is our life.” —BEN SCOTT

 

BEST OVER 30 SPOT

The Rat Pack Lounge
2 Waterfront Place; 304.296.1700

Settle into the sophisticated at-mosphere of The Rat Pack Lounge for an evening with friends or colleagues. Nestled inside the Waterfront Place Hotel, this inviting lounge offers extensive wine options, top shelf spirits, a wide selection of martinis, small batch bourbons, single malt scotches, and specialty cocktails, as well as appetizers. The refined ambience and broad drink selections make The Rat Pack Lounge a top hang out spot for professionals.

 

BEST UNDER 30 SPOT

Bent Willey’s
471 Chestnut Street; 304.292.9590; bentwilleys.com

The ’80s room, the dance floor, the deck, the basement—what 20-something wouldn’t love Bent Willey’s for a night on the town? This much-loved college nightclub has rotating specials and, at times, very long lines behind the velvet rope.  

 

BEST PLACE FOR A TEA PARTY

The Tea Cupboard
The Seneca Center, 709 Beechurst Avenue; 304.413.0890; bob@theteacupboard.net; theteacupboard.net

Have a spot of tea at The Tea Cupboard’s brand new location in the historic Seneca Center. With a variety of tea accessories and loose leaf teas for purchase—ranging from chai, black, and green to rooibos, estate, and British favorites—The Tea Cupboard is an ideal setting for indulging in an afternoon tea.

 

 

CITY LIFE

BEST LOCAL BAND

The Hillbilly Gypsies

For more than a decade, the members of The Hillbilly Gypsies have roused audiences with old-fashioned barn-party music. When Dave Asti picks furiously on his banjo strings, Joey Damiano tugs away at his upright bass. Ty breaks in with his fast fiddle, and Trae Buckner strums his guitar while his wife, Jamie-Lynn, sings. The crowd responds by jumping to its feet. “We have a certain reputation,” says frontman Trae.

The band’s origins trace back to when the members attended Wednesday night jam sessions with Keith McManus at the West Virginia Brewing Company in Morgantown. The popular sessions drew a great amount of interest as well as large crowds. “It got really busy. There were almost 40 guitar players—a lot of strumming, so it was hard to hear what was going on,” Trae says. “So we got together with a few friends and practiced on the side, and it went from there.”

No one in the group imagined that those jam sessions would turn out the way they did. “We just did it to have fun. I didn’t really expect anything out of it. We just hoped to get something to eat, have a couple of beers, and hopefully entertain somebody,” Trae says.

Trae describes the band’s sound as old-time Appalachian mountain music with a twist. A decade after it began, The Hillbilly Gypsies plays large festivals and has appeared on WV Public Radio’s Mountain Stage, in addition to touring across the U.S. The band has four studio albums and one live recording—all of it done on their own. —ANDREW BARNES

 

BEST LOCAL ARTIST

Eddie Spaghetti
814.322.6463; morkthedork@hotmail.com; pbase.com/eddiespaghettiart

“Nature is my biggest muse,” says Eddie Maier, or Eddie Spaghetti as he is known around town.

Eddie is a local printmaker who works with woodcuts. The carved surface is inked, followed by printing on handmade paper. Eddie says the beauty of his work comes from the realization that the first art by humans was the handprint. “It’s the same concept, raised areas are what makes the image,” he says.

After high school, Eddie went to college, but ended up taking a job at Yellowstone National Park with his brother before he finished undergrad. During that time, his brother passed away in a car accident. “It was shocking,” he says. “His accident made me realize that you only get one chance at this life.”

Eddie began to travel. He went back to school and studied in Australia, where he learned his trade. Then, he traveled to Europe, and he eventually found himself living in England. “I traveled for inspiration, and just to see what the world was like,” he says. His work gave him the means to travel. “I could make money here and there,” he says. “My work is light and portable; I carried a sketchbook everywhere.”

In England, Eddie worked at a pub to get by. “I saw people every day out on the streets selling their crafts, and I thought I’d give it a try.” So he made a couple of prints and hung them on a church wall, and waited. “I sat there for four hours, lots of people walked by,” he says. Finally, someone stopped, and Eddie sold his first piece. “It gave me hope.”

After England, Eddie moved to Pittsburgh, where he set up a table on the lawn outside of Carnegie. “I’d hang my art up on the trees, and sell it just like that.”

It wasn’t until after 9/11 that Eddie came to Morgantown. “I’ve never been treated so kindly anywhere else in the world,” he says, adding that the college town was where he was meant to be. He finished his undergrad at WVU in printmaking, and he now sells his art locally while teaching workshops and as a substitute. He is married with two children.  —ANTONIA CEKADA

 

BEST ART SPOT
{TWO-WAY TIE}

Appalachian Gallery
270 Walnut Street; 304.296.0163; wvcraft.com

Appalachian Gallery is known for doing beautiful framing, but they also have a great gallery and gift shop showcasing the best in art and crafts by West Virginians. 

Monongalia Arts Center
107 High Street; 304.292.3325; monartscenter.com

The historic Monongalia Arts Center (or MAC) is home to multiple galleries, artists’ workspace, and a theater. Check out an exhibit, take a class, or reserve one of the spaces for your own special event. 

 

BEST FESTIVAL

Wine & Jazz
4-H Camp Road; wvwineandjazz.com

For years, the West Virginia Wine & Jazz Festival has brought thousands of people to Camp Muffly, just off of the Goshen Road exit on Interstate 79, to set up blankets and chairs and settle in for a day of music and wine tasting. This two-day event held every September is hands-down Morgantown’s favorite festival. Admission gets you a wine glass and corkscrew, not to mention seemingly unlimited samples of wine from some of the state’s finest wineries. Take a sip or buy a bottle and cozy up in the grass for a relaxing afternoon.

 

BEST MOVIE THEATER

Hollywood
1001 Mountaineer Drive; 304.598.5890

With its convenient location behind the University Town Center shopping plaza, Hollywood Theaters is Morgantown’s preferred movie theater, as decided by our readers. The theater opened in 2005. “We have 12 screens and show about 45 movies a day,” says Emily Davis, theater manager. The theater is in the process of turning all of its screens into digital screens allowing viewers to enjoy high definition.

Along with buttery popcorn, cheesy nachos, and a wide assortment of candy, there is also an arcade area in the lobby. “We’re really known for our customer service here at Hollywood. We keep it a family-oriented atmosphere,” Emily says. The theater opens around noon or 1 p.m. depending on the movie schedule. The last movie is shown at 10:15 p.m.  —ANTONIA CEKADA

 

 

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

BEST ESCAPE & BEST SCENIC VIEW

Coopers Rock State Forest
Interstate 68, Exit 15; coopersrockforest.com

Did you know Coopers Rock is the largest state forest in West Virginia? With scenic views of the Cheat River nestled along beautiful hiking trails, Coopers Rock State Forest is a local must-see for any adventurer hoping to catch a glimpse of something wild and wonderful.

Located 13 miles east of Morgantown and eight miles west of Bruceton Mills off of Exit 15 on Interstate 68, the park is more than 12,000 square miles of flawless forest. It serves as both a major recreation and preservation site for northern West Virginia and as an invaluable resource for timber management, forestry research, and watershed and wildlife protection.

The rock is known for its labyrinth of boulders and overhangs, and hikers visit the site year-round to explore the vast network of trails that connect the overlooks with an almost limitless view of mountains. The main overlook is accessible by a wooden foot bridge and offers a panoramic view of the gorge, punctuated by the winding Cheat River, a popular river for whitewater rafting in the region. A visitors area and picnic shelters constructed in the 1930s and 1940s encircle the main overlook. Although the main entrance to the park is closed between December 1 and March 31 each year, visitors can park and hike to the overlook and trails. The main entrance reopens each spring, and hikers walking the trails will often see rhododendron and mountain laurel along the path.

Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to choose from at Coopers Rock, including hiking, rock climbing, bouldering, and camping, as well as Glade Run, a six-acre pond stocked with trout. The Coopers Rock campground is open April through November and provides amenities such as electric hookups and a shower house.

The forest is also home to the Henry Clay Iron Furnace, which stands more than 30 feet tall and is positioned along the Clay Furnace and Clay Run Trails. The furnace was built between 1834 and 1836 and produced pig iron for a young Morgantown. Capable of producing four tons of iron each day, the furnace was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Coopers Rock earned its name from a tale surrounding the area long before it became a state forest and major recreation area. The rock was home to a fugitive who eluded capture and lived for years in the forest, earning a living by “coopering,” or making barrels, which he sold to nearby residents. —LYDIA NUZUM

 

BEST HIKE

Virgin Hemlock Trail

Also at Coopers Rock State Forest, nature lovers adore the easy to navigate Virgin Hemlock Trail. At 1.2 miles, this path winds through a large hemlock grove that is more than 300 years old.

 

BEST PARK & BEST DOG PARK

Krepps
1235 Parkview Drive; 304.296.8356

The 36-acre Krepps Park, located in the Suncrest area off Patteson Drive, is a family-friendly haven with wooded trails, green space, an outdoor swimming pool with children›s aquatic area, a pavilion, numerous picnic sites, tennis courts, and a baseball field. It also has one of the area’s best dog parks. Licensed and vaccinated dogs over six months of age are welcome. Just remember to scoop the poop!

 

BEST PLAYGROUND
{THREE-WAY TIE}

Tugboat Depot Playground
adjacent to the Mon River Rail Trail, Star City; 304.599.0485

Marilla
797 East Brockway Avenue; 304.296.8356

Krepps
1235 Parkview Drive; 304.296.8356

Your kids will want to slide and swing all day at these great Morgantown playgrounds.

 

BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
{THREE-WAY TIE}

Boating on Cheat Lake

Just minutes east of Morgantown, Cheat Lake is a boater’s haven. Whether you’re in a speedboat, fishing boat, kayak, or canoe, there is space (and rental options) for everyone on the eight-mile long, 1,730-acre reservoir on Cheat River.

Farmers Market
morgantownfarmersmarket@gmail.com; morgantownfarmers.org

Shop local, and leave a small footprint! Head to the farmers market held every Saturday morning (and Tuesdays in peak season), from 8:30 a.m. to noon, on the corner of Spruce and Fayette Streets from May 5 through November 3, 2012. The diverse collection of vendors offers the Morgantown community the freshest produce, meats, eggs, breads, and more.

The Mon River Trail System

With nearly 400 miles of rail trails in the Mountain State, the Mon River trail offers a 48-mile stretch accessible from Morgantown. Learn more about the area’s trails at montrails.org or by calling 304.594.2817.

 

BEST (WORST) EYESORE

The Power Plant

The Morgantown Energy Associates energy facility on Beechurst Avenue may keep the university warm, but it was voted best eyesore as an aesthetic hindrance to riverfront development.

 

BEST GOLF COURSE

Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa
1 Lakeview Drive; 304.594.1111; lakeviewresort.com

The Lakeview Course skirts the cliffs above Cheat Lake, providing scenic overlooks all along the two ridge-running layouts on 500 acres of rolling green. These championship courses are located conveniently off of Interstate 68.

 

BEST WINDY ROAD

Kingwood Pike

Anyone who has driven across this road knows about its twists and turns. Kingwood Pike intersects with Interstate 68 and Route 7.

 

 

CAMPUS LIFE

BEST DORM

Towers
Evansdale Campus; 304.293.2814

With more than 10 residence halls to pick from, choosing a place to live at WVU can be a daunting task for the young student. But for many of our voters, the choice is easy. Known affectionately as “Towers,” the Evansdale Residential Complex is made up of Bennett, Braxton, Brooke, and Lyon towers. As the largest dorm on campus, these facilities provide students with the opportunity to make new friends, enjoy one of the best cafeterias, and hang out in some of the most spacious outdoor areas. Outside are large fields and tennis and basketball courts for students. Perhaps the biggest perk of living in Towers, though, is the location. Students living here can walk to many restaurants, the PRT, Kroger, and the Student Recreation Center.  

 

BEST ON-CAMPUS FOOD

Taziki’s Café
1550 University Avenue; 304.293.6738; tazikiscafe.com

If you’re looking for options beyond the typical burgers and fries offered at most college food courts, then look no further than Taziki’s Café.

Belinda Butler, Taziki’s West Virginia operations manager, says, “We believe Taziki’s was voted as Morgantown’s ‘Best On-Campus Food’ because we offer a fresh alternative to the menus offered in the traditional campus food court.” From chicken roll-ups and gyros to top-selling daily specials—like the Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich, Spanakopita Roll-Up, and Mediterranean Taco—WVU’s Taziki’s in the Mountainlair has become a student and faculty favorite since opening in August 2010.

Overwhelmingly selected as the best food on campus, Taziki’s is also giving back to the university, pouring at least 80 percent of all on-campus profits back into the university. Belinda says, “Taziki’s is an integral part of the hospitality and tourism program of the College of Business and Economics.” Operated by Belinda, general manager Scott Casper, the university, and a majority of student employees, two WVU alumni—Michael Bodnar and Doug VanScoy—are principle partners in Taziki’s LLC.

Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 2 to 9 p.m., the Mountainlair café location showed such a great success, that a second Morgantown location opened in late 2011 at Suncrest Towne Centre. “The Taziki’s at the Mountainlair identified a need for a fresh, healthy alternative food choice and absolutely had a part in our deciding to open a second Taziki’s in Morgantown,” says Jess Mancini, principle partner at the Suncrest Towne Centre Taziki’s location.  —RACHEL HENDERSON

 

BEST PLACE TO STUDY

WVU Downtown Library
1549 University Avenue; 304.293.4040; libraries.wvu.edu

When your roommates are too loud or you need room to spread all of that soon-to-be knowledge out on a big table, the downtown library is the place to go. With computers on almost all of the six floors, a small cafe, and lots of space to breathe, the downtown campus library will keep you focused. For real peace and quiet, head to the Robinson Reading Room in the old Wise library (in the back of the downtown library).

 

BEST MOUNTAINEER

Men’s Basketball Coach
Bob Huggins

WVU’s men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins may be a man of few words, but there are many words that could describe this city’s favorite Mountaineer. Intense, inspiring, passionate, and diligent—“Huggy Bear” has served as the head coach for West Virginia since accepting the position in April 2007. Love or hate his uniform tracksuit, the Morgantown native and WVU alumnus has led the Mountaineers in four winning seasons, securing WVU’s first Big East Championship and second Final Four appearance in 2010.

 

 

HEALTH & BEAUTY

BEST BLOWOUT

Tonique’s Trilogy
130 Fayette Street; 304.291.4050; toniques@gmail.com; tonique.com

All you really need to know is that blowouts are a hair obsession. OK, well, maybe that and that Tonique’s offers a “Blowout Friday” happy hour special for $15 that gets you ready for the weekend. If you haven’t been to Tonique’s on Fayette Street, you don’t know what you’re missing—the Victorian house with unique designs and an artistic vibe houses a staff of stylists ready to cut, color, and style your ’do.

 

BEST SPA

SpaRoma
170 Lakeview Drive; 304.594.9782; sparoma.com

You can’t always get away on vacation, but you might be able to carve out an hour or two to turn off your cell phone and open the doors to SpaRoma and get seriously pampered. Forget about your cares in this calming atmosphere full of friendly, smiling people.

 

BEST YOGA

Inner Life
1137 Van Voorhis Road, Suite 45 304.296.1744; innerlifeyoga.com

Find your inner zen. Inner Life Yoga Studio, located on Van Voorhis Road, specializes in Iyengar-style yoga, which achieves the positions by using tools. Wooden benches or ropes allow all body types and experience levels to perform the positions.

 

BEST FITNESS CLUB

WVU Student Rec Center
2001 Rec. Center Drive; 304.293.7529; SRC@mail.wvu.edu; studentreccenter.wvu.edu

Stronger, faster, healthier! Millions of visitors tout WVU’s student rec center as one of the best in the country. The 177,000-square-foot facility features weight/fitness equipment; courts for basketball, volleyball, badminton, squash, and racquetball; six-lane fitness and leisure pools; an elevated jogging track; a whirlpool that seats 20; an outdoor recreation center offering ski, camping, and other rental equipment; and a 50-foot indoor climbing wall. Group exercise classes are also available—zumba, spinning, yoga, pilates, and so much more.

 

BEST PLACE FOR A ROOT CANAL

The Landing Dental Spa
6260 Mid-Atlantic Drive; 304.594.2200; thelandingdentalspa.com

You’ve never looked forward to a visit to the dentist. Until now. Make your appointment and take a seat in front of your very own TV (there’s one at every dental station). You’ll get a warm, lavender wrap for your neck, and the chair will massage you while you get your dental work done. Need we say more?

 

BEST DOCTOR

Eddie Sze

For WVU Hospitals’ Dr. Eddie Sze, patient care is the most important part of his medical expertise. “I think the patients in West Virginia are just the most wonderful people, and they are so appreciative of everything you do for them.”

Sze serves as an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the WVU School of Medicine, as well as director of urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery. Before arriving at WVU in 2005, he practiced medicine at several other top-tier medical facilities, including Yale University, the University of Hong Kong, and the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine.

In 2011, Sze received the highest score among all physicians at WVU Hospitals in the Press-Ganey Patient Satisfaction survey. He has received the Quality Service Award for Excellence at WVU hospitals in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Sze says the people he has treated and the kindness he has encountered in West Virginia have made a positive impact on him. “I have never been called ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie pie’ by so many people before in my life,” he says. “They are always so happy to see you. When they see you in the store they are waving at you from down the aisle. They introduce you to their family, they tell their friends to come see you—that’s the reason I get out of bed every morning at 5 a.m., because my patients are just wonderful and I want to do everything I can for them.” —LYDIA NUZUM

 

 

SHOPPING

BEST BOOKSTORE

Barnes & Noble
3000 University Town Center Drive; 304.599.1294; barnesandnoble.com

With a wide assortment of books, games, movies, magazines, and the newest Nook, Barnes and Noble was overwhelmingly voted Morgantown’s favorite bookstore. And to top it off, there’s a Starbuck’s inside.

The store is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

BEST CONSIGNMENT STORE

Mother’s Attic
1063-C Greenbag Road; 304.219.2345; mjudym@comcast.net; mothersatticllc.com

From its new location on Greenbag Road, Mother’s Attic offers many treasures, from the smallest glassware to full dining sets. Shelves lining a back wall house kitchen appliances and cookbooks. Boxes of records offer everything from Cher and Elton John to Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Part of the store is partitioned into booths rented by dealers to sell antiques and collectibles including purses, train sets, guitars, and more.

Mary Judy, owner of Mother’s Attic, contemplated opening a consignment shop even while working as a nurse for 23 years at Monongalia General Hospital. A frequent consignment shopper while on vacation, she felt there was an untapped market in Morgantown.

The final push that led Judy to open Mother’s Attic came while visiting another shop. “I ran across a place that was neat, clean, and organized. Everyone was so friendly,” she says. Mary told the owner her dream of opening her own shop after retirement. The woman’s advice: “Don’t wait.” In February 2008, Mother’s Attic was born.

The store was initially a way for Mary to earn an income doing something she loved, but since it’s opening, the focus has changed. “It’s helping people,” she says. Some people who sell find comfort knowing that items formerly treasured can find a new home. Others make much-needed extra cash.

She also points to the environmental benefits of consignment. “It’s a way to be eco-friendly; to recycle,” Mary says. “I find satisfaction in finding things that are salvageable and in keeping them from going to a landfill.” —JOANN SNODERLY

 

BEST GROCERY STORE

Kroger
500 Suncrest Town Center Drive; 304.285.6780

The vote of Morgantown’s best grocery store goes to the newest and most beloved Kroger in Suncrest Town Centre, which opened in February 2008.

 

BEST HARDWARE STORE

Ace Hardware & Garden Center
1050 Maple Drive; 304.599.0803

Strap on your tool belt and head down to your neighborhood Ace Hardware, where the staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The independently owned hardware store offers everything from paint to tools to cleaning supplies and housewares, as well as services including paint color matching, key cutting, and screen repair. Ace is open most days 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

BEST SHOPPING CENTER

University Town Center

Clothes, sporting goods, jewelry, groceries—at University Town Center in Granville, you can shop until you drop in one trip.

At this ever-growing shopping center just off of Exit 155 on Interstate 79, you can find the latest books at Barnes & Noble, enjoy the best in movies at Hollywood Theaters, find great deals on home décor and designer brands at stores like T.J. Maxx, and so much more. Who hasn’t spent a day going from Old Navy to Target to WalMart?

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY A COUCH

Chuck’s Furniture
77 Lawless Road; 304.292.7621; chucksfurniture.com

This vast furniture store has been around since the 1960s, but it’s only gotten bigger. Now with more than 100,000 square feet of sofas, sectionals, loveseats, beds, pullout couches, and more, there’s no shortage of places to sit at Chuck’s Furniture. Brands include Broyhill, Craftmaster, Howard Miller, Klaussner, and others.

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY JEWELRY

Joyce’s Jewelry Boutique
1070 Suncrest Towne Centre; 304.599.6981; joyces-jewelry.com

Some retail jewelry stores fill their display cases with whatever jewelry manufacturers ship to them. Other jewelers travel the world to handpick the finest gems. Joyce’s, is one of the latter.

Joyce Katzeff has always loved jewelry and had distinctive taste. When her friends began to notice what she was wearing, they often asked her to find jewelry for them when she went shopping. Joyce first started selling jewelry from her kitchen more than 30 years ago, says Tom Licciardi, her business partner. Soon after, she opened her first store in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. “We had a lot of customers from Morgantown then,” Tom says. In June 2011, Joyce and her family opened a second shop in Morgantown at the Suncrest Towne Centre.

Joyce’s offers a wide selection of jewelry from high-end designers like Charles Krypell and Fana, prominent designers from New York. She also carries Pandora, Belle Etoile, Vahan, DSL Pearls, Bulova, Movado, Joyce’s own signature line, and Carbon 6, a signature line belonging to Joyce’s son, Brandon.

Joyce runs her business with her husband, David Katzeff, and son, Brandon Katzeff, a graduate gemologist and diamond specialist. Brandon and Tom grew up together, and now the two travel the world once a year in search of gems and ideas for Joyce’s signature line. Joyce’s own line is exclusive as she partners with a manufacturer in India. Brandon and Tom travel to India yearly to check on the factory and make sure they are up-to-date with the latest technology. Representatives from the manufacturer in India also make trips to Morgantown twice a year to offer ideas. “The fact that we travel the world and learn all of the techniques means that if you have a problem, we’re here to fix it,” Tom says. The staff at Joyce’s also includes a J.A master’s-certified jeweler, Thomas Cox. According to Tom, there are approximately 128 such master’s-certified jewelers in the United States. “We know what we design and manufacture from the ground up,” he says. —ANTONIA CEKADA

 

 

BEST PLACE TO GET SHOES REPAIRED

Below the Knee
The Seneca Center, 709 Beechurst Avenue, Suite 1D; 304.284.0400

If you want to wear Monet on your feet, check out Below the Knee with its brands like Icon, which feature famous works of art. The shop also has brands like Wolky and an extensive collection of Naot shoes. Below the Knee is the go-to place for shoe repair and clothing alterations.

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY SHOES

The Shoe Story
751 Chestnut Ridge Road; 304.599.7443

If you have children who outgrow their shoes faster than they can tie them, then this “Best of” result is no surprise. Located in the Suburban Lanes shopping area, the Shoe Story carries brands for adults and kids, including Ugg, Saucony, Born, Jessica Simpson, Stride Rite, New Balance, and Birkenstock.

 

BEST PET SHOP

Woof’s Canine Accoutrements
1137 Van Voorhis Road; 304.599.9662

Almost two decades ago, Jody Messinger Wolfe rescued her first dog, and that changed everything. “I don’t even know how to explain it. I trained my dog to be a therapy dog, and I started spending a lot of time with people who had dogs,” Jody says. She was dissatisfied with the dog products available in Morgantown, and she and friends agreed the health and wellness niche for dogs was not being filled. On a trip to Greenwich Village in New York City, Jody discovered a neighborhood pet shop that wasn’t about being big and beautiful, like many mainstream pet stores, but where the owner knew almost everyone who walked in and offered exceptional customer service, working to personally match products to each animal. With inspiration and an idea, Jody decided to leave her faculty position at WVU in human resources and education, where she’d been for 10 years, and open Woofs Canine Accoutrements at Chelsea Square in Morgantown.

Now in business for nearly 17 years, Woofs specializes in natural, holistic products for dogs and cats only. “We’re kind of like the health food store for dogs, especially, and cats in Morgantown,” Jody says. Jody spends a lot of time doing research and keeping up with the latest in canine nutrition and health. She also works with her veterinarian to promote wellness with nutrition, natural supplements, and training aids. Ultimately, Woofs strives to enhance dogs’ and cats’ health and relationships with their owners in a positive, natural way. “It may be in part because of my background in education, but I am very focused on teaching customers so they might better understand what will work for their dog and on helping them select the right products,” Jody says. While Woofs’ emphasis is on wellness, the shop is a fun place for dogs and cats to visit, too. Pets go nuts with all of the treats and toys, ranging from organic pet food and gourmet treats to chew bones, toys, scratch pads, and sweaters. “Everything we select is for the dogs and cats to enjoy it, but they are also healthful things for the pets to use and consume,” Jody says.

Woofs offers other services, too, including small dog grooming, canine massage therapy, and canine Reiki—a system of energy healing that is good for rescued dogs and pets with stress. “We’re sort of a dog spa, as well as a doggie playground,” Jody says. She is a Reiki master teacher, as is her canine massage therapist, and a number of Woofs employees are Reiki II practitioners. Jody says, “It is important we maintain a positive environment and atmosphere of well-being.” —RACHEL HENDERSON

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY SUITS

Daniel’s
419 High Street; 304.296.7202

When Daniel’s opened in 1963, owner Saul Radman and his em-ployees envisioned a place where men could fulfill their clothing needs. “Daniel’s is a true men’s specialty store,” says Rusty Shoaf, an employee of the store for more than 20 years. “We serve from students here in Morgantown to all of the business and professional people in town.”

Daniel’s carries several brands of professional and evening wear, including Ralph Lauren, Jack Victor, and Austin Reed. The store offers a variety of options in suits, ties, dress shirts, and other dress attire, as well as sportswear, including Polo and Lacoste. “We do a lot of West Virginia logo wear,” Rusty says. “That’s been big for us. We also carry Under Armour, and in the last two or three years we’ve begun carrying ladies’ logo clothing, which has been a growing business.”

Rusty says the store has helped many people over the years. “We’ve had some sports guys here—football players and basketball players. We do pretty well,” he says. “There really aren’t a lot of true men’s stores anymore. We offer custom tailoring with a tailor shop within the store. If you visit a department store now, you often can’t find the professional service we offer.”  —LYDIA NUZUM

 

 

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY A WEDDING DRESS

Coni & Franc
422 High Street; 304.296.9466; coniandfranc.com

Coni Merandi walks with purpose to the back of her boutique—co-owned with her husband, Franc—to alter a wedding dress. As she walks into the room with floor to ceiling mirrors and antique chairs on red carpet, she greets the bride-to-be. “How are you doing, gorgeous?” The bride is as happy as can be—she is losing weight by the week. Coni tells her to wait for her alterations, suggesting she come back closer to the wedding for a perfect fit.

Coni & Franc sells women’s high-quality clothing, including apparel for prom, swimwear, communions, mother of the bride, balls, and pageants, but half the store is dedicated to brides. “The bride is the center, and the bridal party is the bouquet around her,” says Coni. The best designer at Coni & Franc is Pronovias—the third largest designer company in the world. “You don’t look like anyone else when you wear Pronovias,” Coni says. Other top designers include Nicole Miller, Doncaster, and Jasmine.

Coni herself is a designer, and she’s willing to custom-make anything for customers. “We pay attention to detail here. We’ll do whatever looks best.”

More than just wedding gowns, though, Coni can dress anyone—whether they are going to prom, tea, or a wedding in India.

Coni and Franc opened their high-end boutique on High Street in 1982. “When we first got married, we told each other we would open either a restaurant or a clothing store,” she says. Her own great aunt was an assistant to Elsa Schiaparelli, an Italian fashion designer. Both Coni and Franc are grateful for the local support they get. “There aren’t very many specialized stores left. I consider it our little treasure,” she says.  —ANTONIA CEKADA

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY WV-MADE PRODUCTS

WV LIVING Marketplace
The Seneca Center, 709 Beechurst Avenue, Suite 21; 304.413.0470; morgantown@wvlivingmarketplace.com; wvliving.com/store

WV LIVING Marketplace is the exclusive West Virginia retail experience. The Marketplace showcases West Virginia-made products and brings Mountain State treasures into homes across the country. Featuring products like ironwork by Jeff Fetty of Spencer, hand-blown glass by Ron Hinkle of Buckhannon, handcrafted jewelry by several regional artists, and crochet hats by Morgantown’s own Hat Lady, you are sure to find the perfect something for everyone on yout list. Start your very own Fiestaware collection with pieces purchased at WV LIVING Marketplace or pamper yourself with a selection of scented soy candles or lotions and soaps made by a WV monastery. If you’ve got a hankering for some tasty treats, be sure to check out the WV LIVING Marketplace line of jams, spreads, and sauces. And don’t forget to pick up your copies of WV LIVING, WV WEDDINGS, and MORGANTOWN magazines! Open from Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or shop online at wvliving.com/store.

 

 

THIS & THAT

BEST ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION

PRT

You haven’t experienced true WVU college life if you haven’t been late for a class because you were waiting on the PRT. The Personal Rapid Transit system is both loved and hated by many in town, but those little, computer-driven, blue and gold cars are easily the best alternative transportation in Morgantown, with stops from Walnut Street to the Health Sciences Center. Who wants to find a parking spot anyway?    

Swipe your Mountaineer Cardor employee ID and choose from one of five stations: Walnut Street Downtown; Beechurst Avenue for the Downtown campus; Engineering Sciences; the Evansdale Residential Complex; or Health Sciences.

 

BEST DRY CLEANER

Massullo’s
447 High Street; 304.296.5210

From the moment you step into this tried and true downtown business, you can see that these dry cleaners are hard at work. Massullo’s has been relied upon for many years by the professionals of Morgantown. They’ll get your finest clothes clean quickly, and if you need a hem, just go on back and the tailor will have your pants fitting in a matter of days.

For added convenience, Massullo’s now has a drop-off and pick-up location at Suncrest Towne Centre.

 

BEST HOTEL

Waterfront Place Hotel
Two Waterfront Place; 866.782.9974; 304.296.1700; waterfrontplacehotel.com

From the spacious rooms and top-notch accommodations to the restaurant, bar, and spa, our readers say Waterfront Place Hotel is the best place to spend the night in Morgantown. Located just off the interstate’s downtown exit, all hotel rooms feature complimentary wireless high-speed Internet and high-definition television. A beautiful, new conference and event center is attached to the hotel, and this is one of few places in town where you won’t have trouble parking—there’s a garage!

BEST LOCAL TV PERSONALITY

WBOY’s Albert Zipp

Everyone loves Albert Zipp. With his friendly delivery of your daily news and his quirky bow ties, few can forget his broadcasts on WBOY.

Albert has lived a lot of places. In 2003, he moved from Texas to West Virginia to be part of the network of West Virginia Media stations in Clarksburg, Wheeling, Beckley, and Charleston-Huntington. “We love it here, and plan to build a retirement home in Preston County,” he says.

Albert graduated from Washington & Lee University with a degree in economics and politics, and went on to become a broadcast news veteran. He has worked in production, news, sports, and weather, in Texas, Florida, Virginia, and West Virginia. He is happily married with two adult children, a dog, and a cat, and he enjoys participating in organizations such as the United Way and the American Red Cross.

 

BEST KIDS’ BIRTHDAY SPOT

The Morgantown BOPARC Ice Sketing Rink
BOPARC; 304.296.8356

We have a lot of birthday parties here, especially in the middle of our season,” says Jacquelyn Fleece, ice rink supervisor for the BOPARC rink in White Hall. Open since 1979, Jacquelyn says most people don’t realize that the rink is open from August to April. The busiest time of year for birthday parties is during the winter.

Staff members at the ice rink welcome parties with a clean room with tables and chairs. Parents are invited to decorate however they want and can bring snacks. Jacquelyn says the rink even offers free skating lessons for birthday parties. All parties are held during public sessions, which are Friday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday from 1:30 to 4 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Sundays are also a popular day for families, who get a discounted afternoon of ice skating as part of Family Day. Tuesdays are College and Career Night, featuring the adult skate from 9:10 to 10:20 p.m. On weekends, Jacquelyn says the public sessions at the ice rink are full of local teenagers. “We have definitely become the new teenage hangout. We get a lot of regulars.”

The rink is also home to the Mason-Dixon Figure Skating Club, the Morgantown Hockey Association, and WVU’s two club teams. Whether you come for a party, hockey, or just to skate, Morgantown’s ice arena is a hot spot for winter fun.  —ANTONIA CEKADA

 

BEST LOCAL WEBSITE

tourmorgantown.com

From nightlife to restaurants to attractions, the greater Morgantown area always has something to offer visitors, but for those unsure of where to start, the first stop is tourmorgantown.com. Sponsored by the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau, tourmorgantown.com offers an interactive glance at the best Monongalia and Preston counties have to offer. The site features tabs on shopping, dining, travel accommodations, and recreation, as well as visitors guides and listings for “101 Things to Do in Greater Morgantown.” Boredom is not an option.

 

BEST OIL CHANGE

Hartsell’s Exxon
2928 University Avenue; 304.599.6030

Hartsell’s Exxon gas station on University Avenue has been a Morgantown staple for decades. Built in the early 1950s, the station was bought by Bill Hartsell in 1979. He was in business for 33 years at the same location. For years, his son, Brian, worked with his father to learn the business. Brian bought the station from his father in 2006 and has been running the establishment since, with improvements along the way, such as new gas pumps.

A lot has changed over the years. The station was once a convenience store. Brian says, “We knocked down a wall and petitioned off a second bay to put in coolers and convenience store items. But it just didn’t pay off and we do better at auto repairs.”

It’s the auto repair that Hart-sell’s is known for, and that quality service has allowed the family business to continue to serve Morgantown. “I have a lot of repeat customers because I’m honest, I don’t take advantage of anyone, and it’s been a family business for over 30 years,” Brian says. Providing anything from yearly inspections to fixing your transmission, Hartsell’s can help with all your auto needs. —RACHEL SCUDIERE

 

 

BEST NONPROFIT

United Way of Preston & Monongalia Counties
278-C Spruce Street; 304.296.7525; unitedway@teamunitedway.org; teamunitedway.org

By increasing people’s opportunities for health, education, and income, The United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties also increases the community’s capacity to care for one another. You can Give—contribute to improve more lives in more ways. You can Advocate—champion a cause for creating opportunities for a better life for all. You can Volunteer—help work to meet the needs of the community.

 

BEST PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS

The WOW! Factory
3453 University Avenue; 304.599.2969; wowfactoryonline.com

Forget the snow and rain, make something of your day! At The WOW! Factory in Star City, kids of all ages can get in on the fun of painting pottery, fusing glass, or making mosaics. This colorful craft center is open Tuesday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The shop is closed Mondays.

 

BEST RADIO PERSONALITY

Hoppy Kercheval
wvmetronews.com

You’d know his voice anywhere. Hoppy Kercheval, a founding father of Metronews, gives you the other side of the story—be it in politics, sports, or news. He’s one of the most well-respected broadcasters of our region for our time.

In 1993, Hoppy created Metro-news Talkline, a widely popular radio program. The Jefferson County native and WVU alum has been with the West Virginia Radio Corporation since 1976. His pre- and post-game features are a staple of Mountaineer Sports Network broadcasts.

 

BEST RADIO STATION
{TWO-WAY TIE}

U92
U92, Mountainlair; 304.293.3329; u92.wvu.edu

U92 is college radio at its best. When you tune in to 91.7 FM, you know you’re going to hear something different. Since 1982, U92 “The Moose” has served as WVU’s premier radio station, featuring local talent, alternative listening, news, sportscasting, and campus updates. The station is broadcast around the clock, and offers a variety of programming, including “Morgantown Sound,” a spotlight on local artists, and the “Time Warp,” which features underground music from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. An award-winning station provided by students for students, U92 is loved by not just WVU, but people all over town.

WVAQ
1251 Earl L. Core Road; 304.296.0029; wvaq.com

Proclaimed the “hit music channel” on its airwaves, WVAQ serves as a cache for every catchy song on the Billboard Charts today. With beloved radio shows in the mornings and “Live on Location” broadcasts that let you know what’s going on, dials all across Morgantown are tuned to 101.9 FM. This hit station is also the home of contests, news, and weather.

BEST REAL ESTATE AGENCY

J.S. Walker
J.S. Walker Associates, 148 Fayette Street; 304.296.0074; jswalker.com

Buy! Sell! Relocate! J.S. Walker Associates can help with all of your real estate needs.

 

BEST TATTOO SHOP

Wild Zero
229 Pleasant Street; 304.413.0229; wildzerostudios.com

Getting a tattoo is a major commitment. While, some tattoos are cliché and some pay homage to loved ones, Wild Zero Studios prides itself on creating art.

Wild Zero is owned by Eric Carlson and has been in business since 2006. Eric got his start in a tattoo shop in Florida where he worked for about 10 years, but he wanted to move somewhere with a slower pace where he could spend more time with customers. Having family in Morgantown, he knew it was a good spot to move—a college town with decent weather and not so much unlike his hometown of Gainesville, Florida.

Wild Zero is dedicated to pleasing its customers. “We pretty much cater to trying to do custom work, tailored to each individual client. We want to have a nice and relaxed atmosphere, so as a tattoo shop it’s not as intimidating,” Eric says. “It’s kind of an old, classic tattoo shop that has an artistic feel.” He says the classic tattoo designs on the wall and original paintings make his studio inviting, too.

Eric says anyone considering getting a tattoo should really think hard about what they want. “It’s an individual decision; it’s not something that is anybody else’s. You can’t sell it or trade it,” he says. “Ask around and look at people’s portfolios. If they don’t have a portfolio of work they’ve actually done, then it probably isn’t a place you should go.”

Tattoos are pricey, but Eric says cost should not be a determining factor. “If you try to get a bargain price, you’re going to get a bargain tattoo, and the lower quality will last forever. It’s always good to spend the extra money and get something that’s perfect.”

Wild Zero Studios is open Monday through Thursday, 11a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight. —BEN SCOTT

 

BEST TIME TO BE ON THE ROAD

NEVER!

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