O’Neills (Moorefield)

While I grew up in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, I had family and friends all over the state. From these folks I learned how the rest of the state considered the Eastern Panhandle.

Which is: not at all.

There was no hostility; the subject never came up. Seriously, residents of Charleston, or Huntington, or Beckley seemed surprised to hear there was an Eastern Panhandle. And that is real shame as the mountainous areas of the panhandle are quite ruggedly beautiful as is the Potomac. West Virginians should visit more often.

I was trying to enjoy the scenery by taking the “middle route” from Charleston to Martinsburg (via Elkins, Petersburg, and Moorefield) when I came across a place I’ve seen on several lists of good smalltown restaurants. O’Neills in Moorefied is pretty convenient, it’s north of town on Main Street (614 N. Main St.) and very near the interchange for Corridor H. With it’s weathered wood paneling outside, the building is unassuming. As is the sign:

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The inside is small and homey. There’s a small bar area, but it is more for the servers to make drinks than a place to gather. This is a restaurant, not a bar.

The food is the classic WV country dining fare, though we are now close enough to the Chesapeake for crab cakes to start appearing on menus. I opted for a special of the night, twin 6 oz. pork chops with a dark ale mustard cream sauce:

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The lighting was dim, sorry. The sauce wasn’t overpowering (I could have used a touch more mustard, but then again I like mustard) and worked well with the pork chops. The chops were cooked “well” both literally (well done) and figuratively (still moist). The mashed potatoes were very good; real mashed red skins potatoes with a creamy texture. The other side was a fresh cucumber salad that was outstanding.

Dessert was a given considering what I had heard of the place. I opted for Butterscotch Pie:

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The pie consisted of two layers in a graham cracker crust. The bottom layer was a dense butterscotch pudding, though it was thicker and held its shape better than pudding. The top layer was a butterscotch mousse with a little butterscotch drizzle on top. It was simply outstanding.

I still had a few hours of driving so I ordered a coffee to go. O’Neills served a strong, flavorful brew. Overall, dinner was around $20 pre-tip. A little steep for a dinner in Hardy County, but it was a lot of very good food. I felt I got my money’s worth.

Is it Unique?

Not sure it qualifies as unique, but it is a very good place to get a meal in Hardy County and any list of 101 West Virginia Restaurants should include it. I highly recommend O’Neills if you are in the area (say at Smoke Hole or Lost River SP).

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