Mehlman’s is a great big cafeteria with a small-town feel. It goes back to the 1960s when Mary Mehlman Dietrich opened a small restaurant in the Wheeling, West Virginia WMCA. Today her son Fred runs the show; and although service is brisk and do-it-yourself, as one expects in a cafeteria, you will feel well taken care of. There seem always to be members of the staff to help pour coffee and to assist the elderly carrying trays to tables.
What’s on those trays are hearty, heartland square meals: turkey with dressing, stuffed peppers, roast beef, ham, or meat loaf with mashed potatoes. The chicken pot pie is delish, as is the local favorite, ham loaf. There’s always fried fish – a passion in these parts – and we have especially enjoyed such ethnic specialties as kielbasa and sauerkraut and a tangy cabbage roll. On the side, have a good-sized baked potato, broccoli casserole, and, of course, homemade bread. There are plenty of colorful Jell-Os from which to choose, cream and fruit and coconut pie, and the dessert de resistance: apple dumpling.
Mehlman’s is closed Monday.