Enjoying a Slice of CWV

31Jan 2016

By Danny Forinash

Travel Writer

Where do you go to find great pizza? Chicago? New York City?

How about Charleston, WV?

It’s where I’ve been for the past day. Or week, depending on how you’re tracking it.

Day 1 … Day 2 … Day 3 … Day 4 … Day 5 ... Day 6 ...

Throughout my stay, I’d been enjoying some fantastic food. But I hadn’t had a slice of my favorite dish.

Who has the best pizza in CWV? It depends on who you ask.

Husson’s. Graziano’s. Giovanni’s. Gino’s. You’ll find a long list of spots offering a wide variety of styles.

I’d make it a pizza day, and for lunch, I travelled back to Bridge Road to check out Lola’s. It operates out of a old, white house and manages to maintain that personality.  From the porch, to the front door, to the rooms, it truly feels like a home. The walls carry local art, and the fridge carries craft beers.

I chose a seat at the bar and enjoyed a red sangria, which is one of Lola’s specialties. A delicious pan-seared goat cheese salad followed. 

The Lola’s menu offers an array of pies, but “build your own” is one of the more popular choices. I went with spicy shrimp, artichokes, mushrooms and onions. I was happy with the mix, but after tasting the pizza, my guess is just about anything would work. The base is thin and soft, allowing the toppings to be the focus. And they are certainly liberal with the toppings. Lola’s creations are amazing. 

By evening, I was back downtown and back on Capitol Street. The next destination was Pies & Pints. It’s a franchise born in Fayetteville – just an hour away – and CWV was its second location. The atmosphere is laid-back. It has the feel of both a pizzeria and your favorite bar. 

Charleston’s – and West Virginia’s – craft beer scene is growing. I tried the Big Timber Porter – from Elkins, WV – and the Greenbrier Valley Mothman Black IPA. Both were quality brews, and you can find a whole lot more at Pies. 

But the restaurant’s reputation, obviously, is built on the pizza. Specifically, the grape & gorgonzola pie, which has drawn national attention. 

I considered the margherita pie, then the black bean pie, then the Sriracha shrimp, then the Cuban pork. I wanted all of them. But I landed on the grape. 

And again, I made the right choice. The grapes match perfectly with the cheese and rosemary. The crust, which is finished with roasted garlic, is thin-ish and the slices are fairly big.  The flavor is excellent. 

After experiencing just two of Charleston’s pizza places, I’m thinking CWV could compete with some the better known pizza capitals. 

And still, more food awaits. Let’s try this again “tomorrow,” Charleston. 

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