When you travel to a more rural area, dining options are generally limited. When you travel to a rural area on a national holiday, well, dining options are even more reduced. Such was the case last Friday on the Fourth of July when we were headed down to the Weston, West Virginia area. This small town of around 4,000 residents actually had a couple of charming sounding, independent food spots (i.e. not fast food joints), but being a holiday, they were closed. I was really not happy over the idea that we’d be eating at a Subway or Burger King even though I knew they would be open but then I came across the Hickory House in Jane Lew, West Virginia (I say the name of the town with my best Southern accent). I called them to check if they’d be open on the Fourth and the lady said yes so the decision was easily made, especially since they say they have the best BBQ in West Virginia.
Located on Highway 19, the Hickory House is as local as you can get. In fact, towards the end of our meal, our waitress actually asked where we were from as she “hadn’t seen us around here before” (how charmingly small town is that?). But back to the restaurant. The restaurant was actually a lot bigger than I expected. We got there just before noon and the place was basically empty save for another table of diners. The menu was quite extensive with most items on it obviously having to do with the whole “hickory BBQ theme.” While we contemplated getting an appetizer to share, we decided against it which was smart since both of the things we ordered were quite large and we also had dinner reservations later that night at the resort. But the Hickory Chips (topped with melted cheddar, bacon bits, and served with BBQ sauce for dipping) did sound mighty tempting.
I decided to order a favorite of mine, the Hickory Pork BBQ Sandwich meal which came on a kaiser roll and was accompanied by sides of baked beans and cole slaw. As we discovered when we traveled to North Carolina a few years ago, BBQ is added to your item after it has been cooked. All of the tables had two bottles of BBQ sauce on them, one sweet, one more hot, although the waitress also offered a third one that she described as having honey mustard in it. I tried a little of it and it was much too tangy for me but D really liked it. My sandwich, though, was terrific. It’s always a treat being able to get pulled pork from a place that is devoted to the “art” of BBQ and doesn’t just offer it on its menu. Cole slaw is cole slaw to me, but I really enjoyed the baked beans as well.
Ever since I got a rack of prepared ribs from the supermarket a few weeks ago, D has been obsessed with them, so when I mentioned that the Hickory House (obviously) had ribs on its menu, he was already looking forward to it. They had both full and half rack rib dinners; he opted for the latter which for one person was still plenty of food. The ribs looked as though they had been seasoned prior to cooking and once he got them he loaded them up with the different BBQ sauces. His meal also came with beans and cole slaw, in addition to stewed apples which were delicious.
It was a real treat to dine at the Hickory House, especially since our meals the rest of the weekend were just average, nothing too special. BBQ anytime is always fun, but BBQ in the South where you know it’s authentic and local, is even better.
If you ever find yourself traveling on I-79 and get near the Jane Lew exit, do yourself a favor and take a short detour (the restaurant is mere miles from the exit). You and your stomach will thank me.
Hickory House Restaurant
1137 US Highway 19 N
Jane Lew, West Virginia