The Dish Café (Daniels)

Yesterday was a nice day for a drive, so Missy and I Magellaned our way to the greater Beckley area to try out a place with fantastic Yelp reviews:  The Dish Café in Daniels.  Daniels is a small community on Rte. 19 on the way to Glade Springs from Beckley.  The restaurant is located in an unassuming strip mall with a Dollar General; if you didn’t know to look for it, you would probably pass it (though the owners have erected a billboard about mile down the road).

In the owners’ own words, here is what they are trying to do:

The Dish Café is an eclectic culinary delight bringing unique flavor combinations and fresh ingredients to your table.  We’re committed to regionally grown fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef, and hormone free pork and poultry. We avoid artificial sweeteners, food dyes and genetically modified ingredients wherever possible.

Our concept was created by a group of partners who wanted to offer healthy food choices to a community that’s quickly discovering the health benefits of natural and whole ingredients.

Some care has been given to the inside.  The inside has a nice-sized dining room with tables and booths (the booths have monitors that appear to be connected to DirecTV) and second room with a fully-stocked bar.  It was all very tidy and clean.  Much of the furniture and decorations are recycled and repurposed, giving the place an eclectic feel that isn’t cluttered.  Missy and I started with selections from the bar (Manhattan for me and a Moscow Mule for her).  Both were quite good.  We also ordered some fried pickles, because …well, do you really need a reason.

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The Dish Café menu says they make everything from scratch.  The ranch dressing on the side had a nice pepper flavor, and the pickles used were quality dills.

The menu has a selection of flat breads (made with organic flour and agave nectar), sandwiches, and a few entrees.  Missy went with the Hawaiian flatbread of bacon, pineapple, banana peppers and red onions.

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Who knew organic flour and agave nectar would make a great crust?  The crust was crispy but not hard and we weren’t cheated on the toppings.  Missy finished it completely and I’m pretty sure she would order it again.

I was a bit hungrier and passed on the burgers (made with Swift Level Farms beef) and the pulled pork sandwich and went with the “Ridiculously Good Chicken,” which turned out to be a grilled chicken breast with a sauce of your choice. It was good, but I’m not sure it was ridiculously good.

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The BBQ sauce was smoky with a touch of heat and it was ridiculously good.  The side on the left is a cherry pepper slaw (traditional cole slaw with onions and chopped cherry peppers).  Missy, cole slaw purist, was appalled, but I really liked the extra punch. One the right is a fantastic mac and cheese made with penne pasta and red pepper flakes.  Someone at The Dish Café likes hot food.  Next time, I’m ordering the Hey Jack Burger (fried egg, pimento cheese, cherry pepper slaw, habanero jack cheese) with a side of mac and cheese.

Finally, the avocado brownie was too interesting to pass up.  From the menu, they use avocado “instead of unhealthy fats.”

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It worked.  The brownie was dense and rich and you wouldn’t know it was reduced fat except for the menu.

The one down side, it’s a bit pricy.  Our meal was $80, though that did include three drinks from the bar, an appetizer and a desert (plus tip).  Still, it was a very nice meal at a place that you wouldn’t expect.  If you are in the Beckley-area — or driving past Beckley — I’d highly recommend it.

The Dish Café is at 1466 Ritter Drive in Daniels (but you will know it as Rte. 19).  The menu is listed on the website: http://www.dishcafewv.com/.  They closed on Sundays.

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