Matt Hafer is a local pastor, and although that isn’t my thing, he has always seemed like a very nice guy on Twitter, which is the only place I know him from. He’s new(er) to town and wrote an interesting post about the best food available in Morgantown. He cheated a bit - some of the places he listed aren’t actually in the city limits - but more concerning to me are some of the answers he didn’t give. I fear that this means he hasn’t been to the places that I am about to list. This is problematic. Here is my reply:
1. Best Wings
Hafer says Chik-N-Bones, which is wrong. The correct answer is Mario’s Fishbowl, hidden away in Woodburn. The key to the Fishbowl’s wings is how deeply they fry the actual chicken. The skin is crisp, which makes their sauce - a delicate combination of butter and hot sauce by the 55 gallon drum - all the more delightful. The Fishbowl is a Morgantown institution, and will hopefully remain one forever more.
2. Best Coffee
I am new(er) to the coffee game than most, and my standards are remarkably low. “When was this brewed?” I’ll ask. “Last month,” they’ll tell me. “Perfect!” I’ll say, pouring myself a cup. Still, I think Slight Indulgence makes a delicious cup and always has three carafes out. However, I don’t drink coffee anyway other than black, so if you prefer dolled up drinks, there are places that are better. Hafer says Cafe Mojo, which I’ve never been to. Still, the variety on offer at Slight Indulgence makes every morning adventurous, especially if you’re 31 and incredibly boring.
3. Best Sushi
Hafer says Ogawa. I’d argue that it is Lavender Cafe, if only because everything else they offer is so delicious. To be fair though, Lavender’s sushi chef moves at roughly the speed of glacier, which can be slightly annoying if you wanted to eat your food that day. All is forgotten when the selections actually arrive. (Sadly, Lavender’s website seems to have disappeared. It used to be one of the most hilariously awful and unusable websites in the history of the genre. It was an incredible thing to behold.)
4. Best Bakery
He says Wild Mountain Bakery, downtown in the old Dairy Queen. Perhaps. But the bread they make at New Day Bakery are absolutely sublime. And Ray’s Pastries is still around, isn’t it? It gets awfully difficult to choose in this category, so Hafer gets a pass.
5. Best Mexican Food
He says Carmona’s, which is where the cheating comes in. That’s beyond the city’s limits. I’d argue for Chico’s Fat. The trick that they get right for me is the rice. It’s always moist. For some reason, every other local Mexican joint insists upon serving dry rices that always go down as smoothly as wallpaper paste. I’ve never understood what a little more chicken stock would hurt.
6. Best Desserts
Cheating again: Hafer says Naticakes, which isn’t in the city. Besides, the correct answer is plainly the downtown Dairy Queen. To be fair though, I am hugely biased, because I’ve been going to the downtown Dairy Queen since I was a boy and nothing has ever come close to a medium chocolate Oreo blizzard. I understand the appeal of Naticakes - “Add Your Own Stuff Fatty!” - but Dairy Queen gives you the opportunity to stand in lines, to people watch, to sit outside, to celebrate the return of the Spring, to be waited on by amusingly sullen teenagers.
7. Most “Morgantown” Place To Eat
Hafer chooses Black Bear. I don’t know though. It’s too new. It’s too modern. It’s too recent. It’s a great place, even if the rice is dry, but I’m not sure I’d rank it as being particularly Morgantown. To me, Morgantown’s places that really get at the heart of the city are the ones where a wide variety of people gather. Here I’m thinking of Gene’s Bar in South Park or the aforementioned Mario’s Fishbowl. And in fact, I think the Fishbowl would be my answer. The place screams townie while simultaneously being the location to take out-of-towners if you want to introduce them to the city itself.
All of this said, three cheers to Hafer for moving here and enjoying the place. He’ll figure out the correct answers soon enough.