This is more of a warning post than anything. The 101 List added a place called the Jug on Route 18 in Middlebourne, saying: “Menu features hot dogs, hamburgers, and the best fries around. Good food and good company.” It’s possible that was true once, but that is just not true now. Or at least it wasn’t when I went there.
The Jug is, first and foremost, a peninsula that was formed by a horseshoe curve on the Middle Island Creek in Tyler County. A mill race was built at the curve and the peninsula became an island. The location has been of importance in Tyler County and a general store opened on the state highway at least a century ago.
The Jug that we are discussing is a lunch counter in the old general store. The location is more Middlebourne-adjacent, as it is a few miles out of town. Once, this might have been a great place. But when I visited it some months back it was a shell of its glory. It had the look of an antique store, that makes no sales and is really just an excuse for its owner not to throw anything away. The woman who owns and runs the place is getting on in years and the main topic of conversation was her recent hospital stay. Lunch options were boiled hot dogs with no slaw or chili, a grilled cheese, and Campbells soup. There were no “best fries around” or fries of any kind.
The owner was extemely-nice and we had a nice talk about the history of the store and how her father ran it. I wish her nothing but good health and happiness; I just wish I were more optimistic.
Is it unique?
No. Of the 70 + places I have been to on the 101 list, this stop is the most confusing. There are literally hundreds of places that were more-deserving of the Commerce Department’s free-advertising than the Jug. It is like listing 101 great baseball players and including Buddy Biancalana. They removed another place in Middleboure that was listed in 2009. I’ve never been to Barb’s Diner, but it looks far more thriving. As is Bogg’s Pizza and Grill, which WV Living said was listed as the place to eat in Tyler by “an overwhelming number of readers.” A place that serves mashed potato pizza at least has a chance of being unique.
If anyone knows that the Jug is back up and running and deserving of another visit, post a comment.