Adventures in dining: Class V tastes in the Gorge

Bring wild, wonderful West Virginia to the table! Why should adventure stop with the outdoors? Instead, try shaking things up with meals that defy expectations.

Country Thai Restaurant | Lansing

It’s exotic, eccentric and wholly unexpected. Rising above a quiet suburban neighborhood, Country Thai appears out of nowhere. Keep a sharp eye— it’s a gem worth finding.

Here, you’re treated to dishes of aromatic southeast Asian cuisine, prepared by the owner herself. Adding to Country Thai’s charm is the ordering system. It’s like a cafeteria. You grab a tray and bring it up front, where a friendly chef explains the daily specials. Typical delicacies include sweet-and-sour chicken, fried rice, drunken noodles, curry, and spring rolls.

The “combo” is a good choice if you get overwhelmed. Otherwise, pick what you want and pay—no waiting! Drinks are similarly unexpected. Soda aside, you can order craft beer, Thai iced tea and other Asian beverages.

Country Thai has plenty of table space and booths. What’s more, you can surf the web with free wi-fi.

The Stache | Fayetteville

This ice-cream shop has scoops of charm. It’s tiny, with shelves of bright toys and candy. Bar stools line the little counter up front.

The Stache’s perky vibe extends to its Hershey’s ice cream. Most flavors are exotic or extravagant— stuff you won’t easily find at the grocery store. For example, there’s Blue Moon: a mysterious treat with an intriguing taste. It sure looks tempting with sprinkles, though— whatever the flavor!

Superman is another oddity. Kids especially like it, because who can miss those vibrant stripes of strawberry, banana and Blue Moon? But if you prefer something more sophisticated, The Stache has gallons of choices. Traditional picks aside, you can try flavors like Cinna-Graham Swirl (a pound cake base with cinnamon-graham streusel!), Road Runner Raspberry and Cappuccino Crunch.

The Stache stays open long enough for seasonal desserts, too. In previous years, the owner has served pumpkin ice cream and homemade pumpkin pie.

Pies & Pints | Fayetteville

One bite of these pizzas, and you’ll be forever spoiled. Each one starts with handmade, hand-tossed dough and roasted garlic oil. Then, brace yourself for flavor, flavor, flavor!

Pies & Pints’ fresh toppings ensure eye-popping results, no matter which pie you choose. But because we’re focusing on exotic dishes, try showstoppers like:

  • Black Bean: the zestiest “taco” you’ve ever tried. Cilantro, creme fraiche, cheddar, jalapenos, salsa and seasoned beans thickly cover this pie.
  • Thai: pizza jazzed up with toasted coconut, shrimp, curry sauce, lime, cilantro and basil.
  • Grape & Gorgonzola: a local favorite (even among meat lovers!). Red grapes bring sweetness, while rosemary and Gorgonzola cheese keep things savory.

Not a pizza fan? Pies & Pints’ extensive menu also has sandwiches, salads, desserts, and craft brews.

Secret Sandwich Society | Fayetteville

What Pies & Pints does for pizza, this restaurant does for burgers and sandwiches. Starting with local bread and artisan cheese, chefs fill their creations with homemade ingredients. Even pickles, ketchup and dressing are made in-house!

Dig into imaginative offerings like:

  • Rawhide: a burger with jalapenos, roasted garlic mayonnaise, pepper jack cheese and an over-easy egg.
  • McKinley: a spiced meatloaf sandwich with chipotle-bacon jam, 1,000 Island and crispy onions on sourdough bread.
  • Truman: a turkey sandwich with peach jam, blue cheese spread and crispy onions on a toasted baguette.

Secret Sandwich Society’s menu continues with many more sandwiches— including vegetarian ones. Salads, loaded fries, and desserts are also available.

Gumbo’s Cajun Restaurant | Fayetteville

Low Country cuisine in southern West Virginia? Yup!

At Gumbo’s, you’ll find classics like jambalaya, blackened shrimp, and Cajun po’boys. As for sandwiches, try muffuletta— a zesty Louisiana sandwich with tapenade, melted provolone, and ham. There’s also the “Atchafalaya”: grilled rye with turkey, bacon, slaw, Swiss cheese and Creole tomatoes.

The appetizers have personality, too. Try Screamin’ Shrooms: breaded and fried fungi with homemade buffalo sauce, bleu cheese crumbles and dressing. Other choices include fried okra, crab cakes, fried crawfish and buffalo shrimp.

Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant | Mount Hope

There’s Italian food … and then there’s authentic Italian food. With the Veramessa family behind the counter at Giuseppe’s, you can count on the real deal.

For starters, say goodbye to breadsticks. You won’t even find them! Try the baked meatballs instead, or go for the breaded shrimp and cocktail sauce.

As for dinner entrees, you’ll have to make some tough choices. The Veramessas serve baked rigatoni, spaghetti with meat sauce, eggplant parmesan, lasagna, and ravioli— among others. Each serving comes with salad and hot garlic bread. The latter is so good, though, you might want to order some more. Extras cost less than a dollar!

Buon appetito!

Cafe One Ten | Oak Hill

It may look modest, but this restaurant doesn’t cut corners. One Ten’s homemade touch gives pop to seemingly ordinary things like hummus and flatbread pizza. Same thing holds true for entrees that break the mold.

Consider the Red Devil Deep Fry: a sourdough sandwich with bacon, ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese. As its name implies, batter and high temps are involved. But the result is delicious— and clever. Try dunking it in honey mustard!

The Breakfast Burger is another surprise. You expect morning burritos and sandwiches these days, but not patties. Why? Who knows. Fortunately, One Ten grabbed the bull by the horns. This burger features a fried egg, hash browns, bacon, and your choice of cheese.

The dessert section is pretty adventurous, too. Ever tried fried Oreos? One Ten serves 6 piping-hot cookies per order. Tin Roof Sundaes are an option if you want to avoid the fryer. Look forward to vanilla ice cream with walnuts, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream … with a cherry on top. Interestingly, the original recipe belonged to Kelly Drug— the original business on 110 Main Street.

What about you? Where do you go for adventurous meals in the New River Gorge?