About Regional Flavor
Betwixt and between the South, the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic states, West Virginia offers treasures of every region, but with an accent all its own. Italian food is particularly good in the northeast part of the state, which is home of the pepperoni roll (bread baked around spicy beef sticks); and up in the panhandle around Wheeling, some of the region’s most celebrated fish sandwiches are served. West Virginia is arguably the home of the Dixie dog: a hot dog topped with ground beef sauce and cole slaw.
West Virginia Regional Specialties
Hot dog historians believe that the Dixie dog first was configured in Huntington, West Virginia, where it remains immensely popular, at Stewart's root beer stand, which opened in 1932. The next year, proprietor Gertrude Mandt developed a chili sauce and started serving hot dogs. Exactly when slaw became part of the formula is lost in the mists of time, but it's that trio – blubbery dog, spicy chili, creamy slaw – that is transcendent magic. Note that Dixie dogs are not called Dixie dogs in West Virginia or anywhere else they are popular. They are called slaw dogs or simply hot dogs, the toppings a given.
Fish sandwiches are popular everywhere, but especially so in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. There is nothing innovative or outlandish about the great ones. Nothing more than fried fish on white bread, maybe with some tartar sauce, they are all about the quality (and quantity) of fish and the freshness of the oil in which it is fried.
A charming, out-of-the-way Morgantown, West Virginia, diner, Ruby & Ketchy's is a favorite restaurant for locals to come for square meals and conversation.