Almost Heaven on a Sunday Night in West Virginia...

I think it's a pretty safe bet you've never met anyone who loves food more than I do. Just ask anyone who has ever eaten a meal with me. I've been teased by more than a few about how many times I've declared: "This is the best ______ I've ever tasted!" It's my official seal of approval. It means I'm in food heaven; one of my favorite places to be.

When we lived in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we were regulars at The Parthenon Grille. The owners treated us like family. They ordered our favorite Riesling and put it on the menu so we'd always have it. We had a few favorite servers who took extra good care of us. They knew our preferences. And every time we walked in the doors, they made us feel special in addition to serving great food. So when we moved to WV, we hoped we would find "our new Parthenon."

There's no shortage of good food in WV. And we've had plenty of great meals. We're semi-regulars in a few different spots around town. But last March a new restaurant opened in Beckley that has won our hearts and palates. It's 304 Chophouse Classic Bar and Grill.

JP and Anita Hunter are the owners. Anita is the chef. A marvelous chef, I might add. JP is warm and personable; always making sure his guests are enjoying their meals, having a pleasant dining experience and feeling appreciated. Together, they are a dynamite duo.

There are a nice variety of selections on the menu and there are always interesting specials. Anita makes everything from scratch. I have been so impressed with her skill and creativity in the kitchen. She also manages to frequently deliver entrees to her guests' table personally. I don't know how she does that with all the meals she's preparing at any given time. She makes the absolute "best glazed carrots I've ever tasted." Seriously, they are a masterpiece of butter, brown sugar, garlic and thyme (I think I'm remembering the ingredients correctly.) Her homemade desserts are - oh my gosh - so amazing.
And you never know what she'll be baking.

Kirk is "our" server if he's there. I must say that we've received excellent service from any one of the servers at 304 Chophouse. But Kirk served us on our first visit and we liked him so much that we have always requested him. He takes excellent care of us and has a sense of humor. We enjoy being silly and John is always cracking jokes. No matter how good the food is, if you don't have a server that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, your dining experience won't be a memorable one. And Kirk is one of the best. He's a new friend, not just a favorite server.

Another thing we are loving about 304 Chophouse is the live music on Sunday evenings. Whether on the Piney Creek Terrace or in the main dining room, we just love the smooth jazz and mellow blues of Major Bucks! I always request Al Green ("Let's Stay Together") and John looks forward to any of their Steely Dan covers. These two guys are really talented and John is usually singing along toward the end of our meal (rather loudly tonight). I asked Kirk if he heard John auditioning for the band.

Tonight we started with the Black and Bleu Sliders as an appetizer. These are the "best sliders I've ever eaten." No, really. I'm not just saying they're very good. I'm sure I've never said this before about sliders!

They are served on tasty little rolls with grilled onions, Anita's homemade bread and butter pickles and melted, creamy bleu cheese. Yum!

I asked for a dollop of mustard, ketchup and mayo on the side (I like to mix them together). And Anita is so attentive to detail, she had Kirk come back to the table and ask us if we wanted Hellman's mayo or Miracle Whip. I like real mayo but John's eyes lit up when Kirk mentioned Miracle Whip. So we got both. (Little things like this make me such a happy food camper.)

After our appetizer (which I could easily have made my main course), I had a Caesar Salad and John tried the vegetable and oyster bisque. The Caesar is always a favorite of mine. The bisque was equally delicious.

I haven't even mentioned how beautiful the restaurant is. The bar is gorgeous and we had fresh flowers just above our table...

We decided to be moderate (haha) and share a meal so we would have room for dessert. So this (to the left) is a half portion of Anita's crispy chicken with vodka sauce over pasta. It comes with a side. And although this might seem like a mismatched side with chicken and pasta, the spicy pinto beans topped with jalapeno corn bread were the perfect accompaniment as far as we were concerned. It provided a great variety of flavors, in case we hadn't had enough variety yet. I could have made a meal of the pinto beans and corn bread.

And finally ... dessert!
When I saw Chocolate Pecan Pie on the menu, I knew I would make room (not save room) for dessert tonight. I would have to have it topped with her homemade vanilla bean ice cream, of course. I've had several of Anita's desserts, but this is my favorite (so far).

Of course, I did use Splenda in my decaf to save a few expendable calories...

Almost heaven (West Virginia) means different things to different people. 304 Chop House is almost heaven to this girl.

Nothing makes me happier than a delectable meal with great music and good friends and -- most of all -- my wonderful, funny, handsome husband.

He knows just how to spoil me, you know. I tell him how much I love him countless times over one of these dining experiences. Sometimes my eyes even get misty. This is my bliss.

We are so glad JP and Anita decided to open this restaurant. And we look forward to many more good times spent right here in the future.

This isn't the greatest picture of the exterior since it got dark while we were enjoying our two hours inside. But the gorgeous is all on the inside anyway!  

Thank you, 304 Chophouse, for another great Sunday evening!


kirk said…
Is is always a pleasure to take care of you and John.Always makes my night when I see you 2 come through the front door. See you soon.
Shari said…
Thank you, Kirk! That is how you always make us FEEL when we come through the front door! :)