CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You would not be reading this if you didn't have an appreciation of the artistry and acumen required to produce exceptional and delicious cuisine to match the sea of wine available to us.
From time to time in my travels around our glorious state, I am reminded of the dedication and diligence of those who enrich our experiences with their culinary skills oftentimes toiling in obscurity in out-of-the-way locations.
West Virginia is a state full of out-of-the-way places and getting from point A to point B can sometimes involve a nonlinear route that results in pleasant diversions and discoveries. That's how, on a trip back to Washington, D.C., more than two decades ago, I discovered Canaan Valley and subsequently some very cool restaurants, cafes and holes in the wall.
Many of these establishments happen to be in the Potomac Highland towns of Davis and Thomas just north of Canaan Valley. A recent trip to that stunningly beautiful part of our state renewed my faith in the creativity of mountaineer entrepreneurs.
Muttley's Downtown in Davis has been around for many years, featuring excellent steak and other grilled meats and providing guests with a very-well-thought-out and value-oriented wine list.
Owners Becky Bunner an Randy Colombo have now joined with Meyer House B&B proprietor Cindy Robeson to add a wine specialty shop -- Shades of Grape. The shop is adjacent to the restaurant and patrons can choose from a small, but very selective list of wines and edibles from around the world.
From time to time, wines featured in Shades of Grape will be available on the restaurant's wine list at the same price as in the shop, and that is an excellent bargain. The restaurant is full of offbeat artwork, lifelike mannequins and assorted esoterica that will have you smiling and/or scratching your head. The wine shop and restaurant are open Tuesday through Saturday. You'll need to call for dinner reservations (304-259-4848), but a trip to Muttley's Downtown should definitely be a part of your itinerary.