Did you know George Washington gets credit for naming Pt. Pleasant? According to legend, George came to the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers back in his days as a surveyor. He looked out over the mighty rivers and declared that it was a pleasant point. The name stuck.
Moving on, I doubt our first President had a role in Harris’ Steak House, but it does look old enough that it is possible. Harris’ is situated on the Main Street of Pt. Pleasant’s downtown (near the courthouse and, more importantly, Mothman statute). WV Living called it the best place to eat in Mason County. That may say more about Mason County than they would like. (I have a good friend who is far more knowledgable about food than I am who works in the area often. His advice on dining in Point Pleasant is to go home.)
Harris is about two blocks down from the court house. It’s one of the old-school local diners that every town had before chains took over. It’s historic if you like it, and out-of-date if you don’t.
The inside hasn’t been renovated in decades, if ever, and there is a wall display that features artwork from the local elementary school. Seating is a collection of about a half dozen tables and another half dozen booths. There is also short counter that is used mainly to advertise local events. The servers could not have been nicer and they made sure I agreed to see the local ampitheatre on the river with the murals and stainless steel statues of the prominent figures in the Battle of Point Pleasant. If you want to know anything about the town, ask them.
The menu is a classic diner collection of sandwiches, breakfast (served all day) and entrees with a hand-written note paper clipped inside to serve notice of the specials (liver and onions was the entree of the day). I went with the Big Joey, which was a triple-decker hamburger that was a BLT on top and a cheeseburger on the bottom:
It was fine. The burger was the thin pre-made type, but this was still so much better than a fast-food burger because the person who made it actually cared that I wanted to come back. The fries are like those I have had at diners my entire life and served just fine as a ketchup delivery mechanism. With an iced tea, the whole thing set me back a little over $7. Not a life-changing meal, nor will it make a list of best-ever burgers, but I would go back.
Now I have to mention a big issue with Harris’ – one that would be a deal-breaker to many of my friends – the smoke. Mason County still permits smoking in restaurants and the rule at Harris’ was “smoking allowed in the booths, but not at the tables.” You can imagine how effective that was. I’m not going to discuss the merits of smoking bans here, but practically speaking, unless you set up entirely separate rooms there is no such thing as a smoking section, just an establishment with smoke.
The verdict? If you are in Point Pleasant and looking for a quick and inexpensive meal, and don’t mind cigarette smoke, Harris’ is fine. You will feel good supporting the folks who run it because they are so friendly. The Iron Gate down the street is certainly more upscale, but I’m not sure the food is appreciably better. Still, I wouldn’t go out of my way to stop here; this is purely a place to hit only if you are in the vicinity.
(I’d be very surprised if there was a webpage.)