West End Cafe (West Union)

One of the disagreements between the 101 List and the WV Living list centers on Doddrige County. The 101 List suggests the Fairview Diner which is off Rte. 50 between Salem and West Union. I’ve been there and it’s an okay place for a burger. WV Living suggests the West End Cafe:

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WEC is in a new-looking red building that kinda looks like a barn (but cleaner). The address is on Main Street, but it is down the hill from the Courthouse and what remains of downtown West Union. It is actually on what used to be the old U.S. 50 before Corridor D was built.

The tables and booths inside were ultitarian, but the place was very clean. And the inside hearth was a nice touch, even if it wasn’t used:

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WEC is a home-cooking kind of place. Burgers, sandwiches, and the classic WV restaurant entrees (pork chops, meat loaf, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, etc.). They claimed their meatloaf was very good, so that’s what I ordered. The meal came with mashed potatoes and two sides. I started with a garden salad (no picture) but the salad came with fresh tomatoes, onion slices, cucumber slices and chopped bell pepper. Nothing spectactular, but the veggies were all fresh and the presentation of a salad bowl on a plate for the crackers and dressing on the side was very nice.

The meatloaf was homemade:

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Yes, nothing like putting the container of whipped spread front and center (sorry). The green beans were standard, but the potatoes tasted homemade and not from a box; I could actually taste chunks of potatoes. The meatloaf was light on filler and had been grilled a touch to give it a nice texture. There was more bell pepper than I would have liked in the entree (translation: there was more than none), but it was so mild that I barely noticed. Trust me when I say that’s a mild flavor. I don’t know if the green pepper was the “secret ingredient” they boasted about on the menu, but I didn’t sense anything else unusual.

This was likely going to be my only real meal of the day, so I opted for dessert. Everything looked homemade and I mean that literally; the desserts in the counter display were in mismatched baking pans that looked like they had been brought in from home. That is not a complaint. I chose a slice of lemon pie that the server had some issues removing from the pie tin:

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It still tasted good. The crust was very flaky and rich; the filling wasn’t too sweet or too tart which is a tricky balance with lemon; the topping was a simple whipped sweet cream. I get the sense that the desserts are whatever they have, but that it will be good. There is also a soft-serve machine, but I can get that here in Charleston.

The whole meal was $14 before tip and I was more than full. Service was very friendly, though the server seemed overworked. There was a help wanted sign on the door.

All in all, WV Living has this right. The Fairview Diner is more of a truckstop. Nothing wrong with that and it is certainly more convenient to the main road. Getting to the West End Cafe means getting off Rte. 50 and driving a mile or two to get to the west side of West Union. If you haven’t been there, for a town that small, West Union is not easy to get around. That said, having been to both, WEC is my hands-down choice in Doddridge County. Get off the highway; you will be happy you did.

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