Avenue Eats: Fresh food with flare

WHEELING, W.Va. – Co-owner and head chef Phillip Kendall and his kitchen staff head to work long before the doors open at Avenue Eats.

When your food is made fresh daily, that’s the price you have to pay to offer your customers top quality products.

It’s just one of many little touches that sets Avenue Eats, a new area eatery located at 1201 Valley View Ave. in Wheeling, apart from the others.

“All of the food is prepared fresh daily,” fellow co-owner Lara Graves said.

“Nothing is processed. This isn’t meal in a bag kind of stuff. Even the burgers are ground fresh daily.”

The meat is purchased from a local supplier and Kendall purchases his vegetables from nearby Jebbia’s Market.

Once the spring and summer arrive, Avenue Eats will hit up local farmers markets to further provide fresh items for its menu.

So far, the meat has been getting rave reviews from the steady stream of customers coming through the door since the Feb. 15 opening.

“Everyone says these are by far the best burgers they’ve had,” Graves said. “They can tell it’s been made from freshly ground meat.”

Avenue Eats’ menu as a variety of items, including appetizers, hoagies and sandwiches, an assortment of burgers, four different types of salads and a kids menu.

Soon they will be offering beer and wine. Graves noted the beer selection will be a mixture of domestic and imported selections, with an assortment of smaller, craft-brew style offerings.

But the burgers are far from the only thing drawing patrons to Avenue Eats.

Vegetarians of the valley rejoice. This restaurant is for you.

Along with offering hummus, mushroom and black-bean burgers, tempeh can be substituted on any sandwich/burger.

“The people who eat vegetarian coming here know that we offer tempehs and that they can have creative sandwiches with a lot of different options,” said Graves, who describes herself as vegetarian.

“There are a lot of different options. It’s not just pasta. I’m a vegetarian and Phil is a burger guy.

“This is a place where you can have a vegetarian meal prepared in a unique atmosphere. It’s a win-win.”

Graves’ other job is in the decorating field and you can tell she’s placed her own personal design touches on the interior of Avenue Eats. It has an upscale feel to it without the accompanying upscale prices. She also did some repurposing to craft the look.

“Our tables are handmade and the wood originally milled in 1890 at the Pittsburgh Milling Company. They used it as floor joices at their old warehouse,” Graves said. “They had these 20-foot planks, 16-inches wide and we were able to make our tables out of them. Our waitress server station is an antique.”

Another aspect customers have been raving about is the quality of service offered by Avenue’s employees.

“We are really proud of our servers,” Graves said. “We were fortunate that everyone who came in to interview had this tremendous personality and we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about them.

“We wanted to place an emphasis on service. Yes, we have fresh food, but we want people to know they’ve found a place to spend their money where they are getting more out of it than just a great meal.”

Avenue Eats is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.

During the day, parking is available nearby on America Ave. After 5 p.m. and on Saturdays, there are 10 additional spots located nearby in the McDermott & Bonenberger Law Office. The office owns the building and the staff has agreed to allow Avenue Eats to utilize its parking spaces after hours.

For more information, call (304) 905-8300 or visit Avenue Eats on its Facebook page.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com