I have to be honest, I often forget about Nicholas County. It’s in the center of the state, but lies off the path cut by I-79, so I miss it on my drives between Charleston and Morgantown. If I’m hungry and in the area for work, I can generally keep going on Rte. 19 and get to Fayetteville and that town’s many good options. Even Summersville Lake lies south of town so I never need to make it downtown if I’m headed that way.
As a result, I don’t know much about the Summersville dining scene. Missy and I once went to Cafe Acropolis, which was tasty enough if overpriced; if I’m driving an hour for Italian, I’m headed to Rocco’s. I never made it to the Sunset Grill before they closed. The place inside the bank next to the courthouse looked like a nice setting — I love repurposed buildings — but it appears to have closed as well. Accordingly, I was not overly excited about the Nicholas County listing in WV Living’s article on a place to eat in every county: Fran’s Family Restaurant.
It looks like an old house that is about a block south from the county courthouse. You can’t miss the sign:
That’s Fran’s behind the sign, you can kind of see the Open light. The inside is dark, with two banks of booths along the walls, some tables in the middle and a bar with four or five stools in the back. The menu is huge. They have sandwiches, Italian options, traditional West Virgnia family restaurant dinners and, coming soon, pizza. They also have homemade pie. I’ll get to that and you will want to stay around that long.
I passed on the chicken alfredo special and opted for one of the standard dinners.
Not pictured were the green beans, which were straight from a can and ordinary. The pork chop was grilled perfectly and wasn’t too lean that it was without flavor, but not too fatty that you felt cheated. The home fries were more of a potato pancake; the outside was crunchy and delicious while inside was still fluffy. I wonder if maybe they served me the hash browns by mistake. In any event, they were very good if you like fried potatoes.
Dinner was $8.99 and a good value. I was going to leave when the server said they made their own desserts (they did look good in the prominent and brightly-lit pie case). I passed on the graham cracker pie, which I rarely do, because my server told me the special of the house was a banana split pie. I feel I chose well.
Basically this was a homemade banana creme pie with crushed pineapple added to the banana filling. There is a reason the banana split caught on, those flavors work very well together. That filling was in a homemade graham cracker pie shell topped with whipped cream that was sprinkled with graham cracker pieces, nuts and a single marachino cherry. It was one of the best desserts
I’ve had in a while.
Fran’s looks like the kind of place that caters to the locals, which makes a lot of sense. Only locals get off the corridor and head into town. The dinner was okay — certainly worthy of a stop if you are in the area — but what makes Fran’s special is the pie. If you go, you have to save room for pie.
I don’t think they have website, but you can find them at 607 Main Street, Summersville; 304.872.6184.