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5 Restaurants within a 5 minute walking distance to The Clay Center

By Judy Hamilton

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If tuning things down a notch and getting some exercise are on your to-do list, then a visit to the Clay Center and a local bite to eat may be just the ticket.

Whether you are taking in a morning art exhibit, an afternoon giant screen film or an evening performance, you have an array of easy-to-walk-to dining choices.

There are five locally owned and operated, moderately-priced eateries within a quick -- less than five minute -- walk: Bruno's, Sushi Atlantic, Thelma Faye's Deli, Quarrier Diner and Vandalia Grille.

Each restaurant is featuring a new menu this autumn with healthy options, including vegetarian fare.

As simple rule of thumb, according to, 100 calories are burned per mile walked by a 160-pound person. Another measurement for calories burned per minute of walking is available online at

This could be just the motivation you need to have that homemade treat from a local eatery or to select from a variety of healthy food options.

In keeping with the relaxing theme of taking in the art and music scene at the Clay Center, restaurant patrons should keep in mind the importance of being realistic regarding the time necessary to cook from scratch at these establishments.

Chef Jay Thomas of Bruno's said if patrons have tickets for a performance, they should tell their servers upon arriving their time constraints, and every effort will be made to accommodate them.


222 Leon Sullivan Way

Bruno's is the closest restaurant to the Clay Center. Jay Thomas and Daniel Barber own and operate the business. They are featuring a new menu with many healthy food options, including a warm goat cheese salad of mixed greens, pecans, cranberries and flatbread. They specialize in brick oven pizzas, including several varieties that are vegetarian.

Bruno's has a large menu of sandwiches, burgers, grilled rib eyes, chicken breast, ribs, wings, salads and appetizers. Menu prices for salads and appetizers range from $3.50 to $12 for a Bruno's sampler. Pizzas are $13-$18. Sandwiches and burgers are $7-$10. Entrees are $10 to $22.

Bruno's offers a wide selection of regional American beers on tap, as well as imported and American bottled beers, a full bar and wine list. Bruno's features live music on Friday evenings.

It offers dinner 4:30-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. The restaurant has a website, and a Facebook page. For additional information, call 304-720-7295.

Sushi Atlantic

422 Shrewsbury St.

Sushi Atlantic is about a four-minute walk from the Clay Center. Haruko Sugawara and her husband, Kimiyoshi Ito, own and operate the restaurant. They are also the only two employees. Patrons should be aware of this if they are facing time constraints.

They, too, have a new menu, featuring traditional Japanese dishes such as nabeyaki, pan noodles with hot soup, featuring shrimp tempura, chicken, fish cakes, vegetables and egg.

Sushi Atlantic offers lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Sundays and every third Wednesday. It features a wide variety of sushi, noodles, teriyaki, tempura and combination platters. Appetizers and sushi are $4 to $10, noodle and rice main courses $6 to $10. For additional information, call 304-342-0021.

The Quarrier Diner and Timothy's

1022 Quarrier St.

The Quarrier Diner and Timothy's are a four-minute walk from the Clay Center. Anna Pollitt and her daughter, Lisa Pollitt, own and manage the business that features casual American diner food. The art deco business was built in 1946, and the Pollitts earned the "Most Significant Save of an Endangered Site" from the Preservation Alliance for their 2011 restoration of the diner.

The Quarrier Diner offers lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The diner offers burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, wraps and salads. Sandwiches are $5-$6, and the Chef Salad and 3-Salad Plate are less than $7. On Nov. 16, the diner began offering two seatings: at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. for a reservations-only prime rib dinner every Saturday. It includes a salad, two vegetables and dessert for $40 per person or $75 per couple. Pollitt said that vegetarian or special dietary requests are welcome when reservations are made for the prime rib dinners.

Timothy's, located in the lower level of the diner, features drinks, appetizers and occasional live music. It is open 4:30 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to midnight Saturday. The Quarrier Diner has a Facebook page. Timothy's has a website, For additional information, call 304-343-5686.

Thelma Fay's Deli

1219 Washington St., E.

@bod:Thelma Fay's Deli is also a quick four-minute walk from the Clay Center. The restaurant is under new ownership and management by Michael Fink.

Thelma Faye's Deli offers salads, soups, New York deli-style sandwiches, hoagies, hotdogs, beef and veggie burgers. Sandwiches range from $3 to $15.99 for Charleston's biggest sandwich, named the "Monster" because it's more than one pound of corned beef, pastrami, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on rye with Thousand Island dressing.

The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Fink said beginning in January, the deli will be open until 7 p.m. to accommodate Clay Center evening visitors.

The restaurant has a website, and a Facebook page. For additional information, call 304-205-5210.

Vandalia Grille

212 Hale St.

@bod:Vandalia Grille, 212 Hale St., is a five-minute walk. Mike Summerlin is the owner and Harry Wazelle manages the restaurant that features "small plates" -- a style of serving food that is similar to "heavy hors d'oeuvres."

The menu also features grilled pizza, wraps, gourmet burgers, salads and soups. Prices range from $8-$17 for small plates, $8 to $10 for grilled pizzas, $7 to $13 for sandwiches and burgers, and $5-$9 for salads. It has a wine, beer and drinks menu.

Vandalia Grille is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday. It occasionally features live music. It has a website, and a Facebook page. For more information, call 304-343-4110.

Mike Summerlin, owner of Vandalia Grille, summed things up regarding the Clay Center's influence on his business, "The Clay Center really helps our business. It's a great engine for us."

Walkers can easily venture a bit farther and find many downtown and East End eateries.

Clay Center visitors also have the option of having a snack at the intermezzo café. It is open 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Embassy Suites is the in-house caterer and prepares an assortment of sandwiches, soups and salads.

A pre-performance buffet is also offered before each Clay Center Presents and Broadway in Charleston performance. Embassy Suites chefs present smoked fish, carved meats, entrée selections, hand tossed salads, antipasto, fresh vegetables and a dessert bar. Dinner begins two hours before the performance and is available until 15 minutes before the start of the performance.

Cost is $26.95 per person, plus tax. If pre-paid reservations are made two weeks in advance, the meal is $24.95, plus tax.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged; seating is limited to the first 150. Call 304-561-3570 to make a reservation, or fill out an online reservation form on

Reach Judy E. Hamilton at or 304-348-1230.


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