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Top Ten of 2011, Part 2

Buds share their favorite eateries of the year

December 29, 2011
By EMILY DOMINICI and SHAUNNA DUNDER HERSHBERGER - The Taste Buds , Times Leader

OK, listen up! You are tuning in to part two of the Buds' coveted year-end top ten list. Last week the Buds recounted five of their top picks from all the restaurants they visited during the past year. This week, Nos. 5 through 1 are revealed.

No. 5: Primo's Italian Carryout, Hanover St., Martins Ferry

Primo's offers patrons meatball and sausage (hot or mild) sandwiches, pasta, and a handful of salad options. Trust the Buds when we say that is all they need!

Bud Shaunna was sucked in immediately by the penne pasta with a quarter-pound meatball and crusty breadstick for just $5.25. The meal was made fresh when I ordered it, which was really nice for a carryout. And not only was there enough pasta to make two meals, but there was enough pasta to make two DELICIOUS meals. The meatball was moist and tasty, and the sauce was flavorful. Even reheated the next day, the pasta still had a nice flavor.

Bud Em decided to try the antipasto salad which is served with a dinner roll for $5.99.

The salad was yummy! No iceburg in sight, just a large bed of romaine and other salad greens topped with pepperoni, salami, ham, shredded cheese, black olives, tomatoes, and banana pepper rings. All of the veggies were fresh and crisp, just the way we like 'em! With a packet of light Italian and a dinner roll on the side, Bud Em was quite pleased with her lunch!

It's not just the Buds who loved Primo's. A co-worker, we'll just call him "Mike", has been absolutely raving about the sausage sandwiches. We're pretty sure he's had at least one every day this week! The sausage sandwiches, which come in hot or mild, ring in at $3 and can be topped with provolone cheese and sweet red and green peppers for an additional charge.

No. 4: Tesla Grill, Serbian-American Cultural Center, Weirton

The Tesla Grill is the Center's restaurant which is open to the public and offers dining and cocktail service four days per week. Every Wednesday from 4 - 8 p.m. they offer the Taste of the Valley Buffet, which features ethnic specialties from the many diverse cultures that make up the Ohio Valley. Whether it be Italian, Greek, Mexican, American or Serbian, for just $7.95, patrons get all-they-can-eat. Thursday evening, from 4 - 8 p.m., offers the dinner buffet which features a made to order pasta station, salad bar, soup, and varied entree choices complete with vegetable and side item. Fridays feature their famous Fish Fry from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The menu offers such selections as baked fish, all-you-can-eat Canadian White fried fish, jumbo shrimp dinners and even a one pound "Whaler" sandwich.

The Buds were delighted to visit the Tesla Grill for lunch and were eager to sample the fish selections. Bud Em decided to try the fried shrimp. Eight jumbo shrimp were lightly breaded and perfectly fried. Side options were seasoned fries or cabbage and noodles. The meal also included choice of American or Serbian cole slaw and thick slices of bread. Bud Em selected the American style slaw.

The food was wonderful. Bud Em greatly enjoyed the cabbage and noodles, not a side item you find everywhere. The slaw was rich and creamy and the bread was fresh and soft. No complaints from Bud Em on anything.

Bud Shaunna decided to try some of their special Serbian dishes, ordering the Baked Icelandic Cod "Serbian Style" along with the cabbage and noodles and the Serbian cole slaw, which is tossed with oil, vinegar and garlic. Yum!

A piece of baked white fish was topped with a sweet tomato-like sauce and included some diced green peppers and onions. Bud Shaunna was blown away by this delectable combination of flavors - it was pretty easy to gobble it all down. Add that to the amazing cabbage and noodles and the yummy Serbian cole slaw and this made a very filling and very tasty meal.

On Sundays, the Tesla offers their Sunday Brunch Buffet from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. This doozy features a different hand carved meat selection each week, made-to-order omelet station, made-to-order pasta station, and a full breakfast bar which includes scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, pancakes and sausages. There is also a dinner selection, salad bar and soup. As if that weren't enough, pastries, breads and dessert are also included.

No. 3: Two-Stack Bar-B-Que, corner of Church & Chestnut Sts., Barnesville

The Two Stack Bar-B-Que sets up shop every Friday in Barnesville at the corner of Church and Chestnut Streets. As with most barbecue trailers, the menu is pretty simple, composed of dinners, sandwiches and bulk meat options as well as the standard sides of cole slaw and baked beans.

The dinner options include pulled pork, chicken, ribs or brisket and all are served with slaw, baked beans and dinner rolls. And, ranging from six to eight bucks, they are a great value.

For those who might have a hankering for a yummy sandwich, the barbecue offers both pulled pork and brisket. If feeding more than one, patrons can purchase bulk meats such as pulled pork, full and half slabs of ribs and whole or half chickens.

The Buds couldn't wait to dig in. One Bud opted to try the sandwich special, which included a pulled pork sandwich, side item, bag of chips, and even a drink - all for just six bucks.

The pulled pork was literally piled on top of a white bun and the sandwich was almost too big to take a bite-almost! The meat had just the right spice, not too salty and not too sweet, and it practically melts in your mouth. With the cole slaw and chips, this was a full meal that kept one Bud satisfied the entire day!

The other Bud could not pass up the BBQ stuffed potato. A large, smoked potato filled with cheddar cheese and a whopping scoop of their barbecued pulled pork on top, this sucker weighed nearly 3 pounds! Or at least it felt like it did.

The Bud thoroughly enjoyed this lunchtime feast. The potato was cooked perfectly and the pulled pork was tender with just the right mix of sweet and spicy. With the melted cheese to boot, one hardly needs the butter and sour cream that comes on the side. Being full after just half of the meal, it was a terrific bargain at just five bucks. In fact, said Bud can hardly wait to get another one!

No. 2: Theo Yianni's, Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton

Located off the Colliers exit on Pennsylvania Ave., Theo Yianni's offers a wide selection of authentic Greek dishes, along with some classic American cuisine for good measure.

The menu features a selection of yummy-sounding salads. Patrons may choose between a large or small Greek salad, a Greek village salad or grilled chicken salad. Bud Em put in her order for a large Greek salad and added grilled chicken (gyro meat may also be added) for an additional $2, bringing the total to just under ten bucks.

Said Bud thoroughly enjoyed this huge salad. Loaded with green peppers, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, literally TONS of feta, kalamata olives, fresh fries and the chicken, it was nearly too much to handle, though Bud Em left little behind. The Greek dressing offered the perfect amount of seasoning.

As Bud Shaunna was in the market for an authentic Greek dinner, she had a tough decision to make when faced with choosing between the gyro platter, pork souvlaki platter, the homemade Greek hamburger platter and pastichio. Bud Shaunna opted to go with the pastichio, which happens to be only available on Thursdays and Fridays. What perfect timing for Bud Shaunna!

The HUGE portion of seasoned ground beef topped with homemade pasta noodles and bechamel sauce beckoned Bud Shaunna, but she was outmatched, cutting the portion in half before digging in. Served with a small Greek salad, pita bread and seasoned rice, this meal was great at the table and just as good reheated later.

But what's a trip to a Greek restaurant without sampling dessert? Bud Shaunna's sweet tooth was too much to resist, so she opted for a yummy "cake in a cup." White cake, topped with white chocolate bits and almonds, drizzled with raspberry syrup....mmmmmm, delicious! Bud Em chose a slice of baklava cheesecake, which is just what it sounds like-cheesecake topped with baklava. Decadent and so tasty!

No. 1: The Wooden Wheel, corner of Broadway & Pike Sts., Quaker City

The menu at the Wooden Wheel offers a variety of breakfast combinations, dinners and sandwiches. The breakfast menu had quite a few options that certainly piqued the Buds' interest, including the breakfast pizza (a biscuit crust smothered with sausage gravy and home fries, layered with eggs and bacon and covered in cheese sauce); and pancakes stuffed with creamy filling served with strawberry or blueberry preserves and topped with whipped cream. Wow! The dinner options include a special Amish wedding dinner featuring breaded oven baked chicken, real mashed potatoes and dressing covered in gravy.

Bud Em decided to try the homemade noodle dinner, which came with a pair of sides, in this case a baked sweet potato and tossed salad, for just $6.25. To the Buds' delight, meals are also served with fresh bread that comes with both apple butter and a peanut butter spread.

Bud Em's meal was supurb. The noodles were delicious, with little chunks of potato and carrot and swimming in a creamy chicken flavored sauce. It was the ideal comfort food. The salad and sweet potato were also both delightful, and it was a great deal of food for the price. Bud Em also purchase a huge homemade cinnamon roll (only $1.25!) to take home for later. It was fantastic, and Bud Em highly recommends.

The bread deserves its own paragraph! Given the choice of white or wheat, the Buds chose wheat. Oh goodness! The bread, in the form of a small loaf, was divine. So light and so flavorful, the Buds have never tasted its equal. In fact, both purchased a mini loaf (for just 99 cents!) to take home for later. The little cups of apple butter and peanut butter spread were off the hook.

Bud Shaunna opted for the fish dinner - breaded with their homemade crumbs - with sides of tossed salad and homemade stuffing on the side, which totaled $9.75. The Wooden Wheel actually offered THREE types of gravy - chicken, turkey or beef. Bud Shaunna chose chicken, and it was rich and delicious atop a moist scoop of stuffing. No chewing necessary - that stuff just melts in your mouth. The breading on the monstrously large fish was quite flavorful, as was the accompanying homemade tartar sauce. This meal was filling and simply delicious.

And there you have it, dear readers! The Buds' top restaurants for 2011!

Stay tuned for more tantalizing taste sensations in 2012!

The Buds can be reached at tastebuds@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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