Tag Archives: west virginia

Mile 126 – DiCarlo’s, Elm Grove, W.Va.

Residents of West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle rant and rave about DiCarlo’s – a pizza tradition born and raised in this part of the Ohio River Valley.

According to the DiCarlo’s website, the pizza recipe for which it is so famous was created in the late 1940s by Galdo DiCarlo, the third son of Michael and Caroline DiCarlo, who operated a grocery store and bakery.

What makes DiCarlo’s pizza unique is the way it is made. Unlike traditional pizza, DiCarlo’s bakes the crust and sauce, then adds the majority of the diced provolone cheese to the pizza as the pizza cools. So, a fresh DiCarlo’s pizza will likely have unmelted cheese or cheese that is in the process of melting. Pepperoni is standard on pizza.

Notice the freshly-spread cheese across the pizza.

Today, the DiCarlo’s franchise has grown to 12 locations in and around Wheeling, stretching from New Martinsville, W.Va., in the south to Wellsburg, W.Va., in the north. There are also DiCarlo’s outposts elsewhere in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

The Elm Grove DiCarlo’s sits right along U.S. 40.

But don’t think that all of these locations serve exactly the same product in exactly the same atmosphere — no. All DiCarlo’s eateries have pizza, but some have dine-in areas and some have expanded menus. What I’ve found is that local residents tend to think that “their” hometown DiCarlo’s is better than another DiCarlo’s down the road (and maybe that thinking keeps each DiCarlo’s in business!).

Regardless, from what I could gather, the DiCarlo’s in Elm Grove is the original DiCarlo’s franchise (though, if that’s not true, I’d like to know!). This DiCarlo’s is smack on the National Road, tucked between that historic highway and I-70, which seems to have sliced right through the middle of Wheeling and its surrounding communities.

The kitchen at the Elm Grove DiCarlo’s.

In this DiCarlo’s, there is no dine-in area. Instead, you can either call ahead or place your order at the store and wait. Each order is assigned a number, and orders are supposed to be finished in regards to their respective numbers.

Pizza is sold by the slice, which is square, and extra cheese is available for extra cost (it comes in small bags and is put on separately by the customer). At the Elm Grove spot, slices are offered in amounts from 1-28. If you’re on the go, soda is available at vending machines in the waiting area.  When your number is called, you pay, take your food and go.

Apparently this DiCarlo’s mails pizza?

I met a friend for dinner, and we ended up eating outside, putting our pizza on the back of her car and eating out of the box. For all the hype surrounding DiCarlo’s, the pizza absolutely lived up to its expectations! It really is quite a change from traditional pizza, as the cold, melting cheese adds a different flavor.

Like other established local restaurants, pizza at DiCarlo’s is a great deal for the wallet. At a little over a dollar per slice, the quality and freshness of the pizza beats out the national fast food chains.

The Elm Grove DiCarlo’s is located at 2099 National Road in Elm Grove, just east of Wheeling. It is closest to Exit 5 on I-70. It’s open from 3 p.m. through the late evening, so this DiCarlo’s is not the best spot for a lunch stop. To order ahead, call 304-242-1490.
DiCarlos Pizza Shop on Urbanspoon


Mile 132 – Coleman’s Fish Market, Wheeling, W.Va.

One of the outside entrances to Coleman’s in Wheeling’s Centre Market.

Before I set out for Wheeling, I asked my friends knowledgeable about the Northern Panhandle (one being Wellsburg, W.Va., native and Morgantown food blogger Candace Nelson), “Where should I go for a taste of Wheeling?” The two responses that kept coming up: Coleman’s Fish Market and DiCarlo’s Pizza. Both seem to be honored eateries for the Wheeling area, and both have a long history in the region.

I started with Coleman’s, which is tucked into the revitalized Centre Market district of Wheeling, just a few blocks from the National Road. To me, what makes this 98-year-old establishment really unique is that the name describes exactly what the business is: a fish market that also serves great seafood.

One of the seafood cases at Coleman’s.

There are two ends to Coleman’s: the restaurant part, where you wait in line to order and receive prepared food, and the fish market, which sells a huge variety of fresh, raw seafood. The “traditional” menu item is Coleman’s fish sandwich, which is  several strips of fish put between two slices of white bread. There’s also a version which has a sauce over the fish, but I stuck with the regular sandwich and Coleman’s thick seasoned fries, both of which lived up to my high expectations (since I only had heard great comments).

After the food order is finished,  tables are outside Coleman’s door in Centre Market in a larger, open seating area. When I visited on a Friday evening, both the fish market and restaurant weren’t packed, but definitely had a steady stream of customers. Coleman’s is featured on Roadfood, which provides some other great meal ideas and a little history.

Coleman’s fish sandwich and seasoned fries.

Coleman’s had its start in 1914 by John Coleman, and has remained in the family throughout its history. As far as I know, it has remained in Centre Market for its entire existence. Centre Market is an attraction in itself, with the oldest section dating to 1853.

Coleman’s is open Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday ad Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (perhaps to help cater to Wheeling’s Catholic population during Lent?). It is closed Sunday.

To get to Coleman’s from U.S. 40, follow Main Street south through downtown and across Wheeling Creek. Make a left on 22nd Street until it intersects with Market Street. Parking is available on streets surrounding Centre Market. To reach Coleman’s, call 304-232-8510.

The oft-photographed sign above the indoor entrance to Coleman’s.

Coleman's Fish Market on Urbanspoon


Mile 127 – Madonna of the Trail (W.Va.), Wheeling, W.Va.

West Virginia’s Madonna of the Trail has it’s own pullout for seeing the statue up close.

Coming from the east, West Virginia’s Madonna of the Trail is the third such statue one comes upon if following the National Old Trails Road route (along which the monuments were laid), or the second statue if following the National Road (which is part of the National Old Trails Road).

West Virginia’s Madonna statue was the second to be built, after Ohio’s monument in Springfield. The West Virginia statue was dedicated in July 1928 (see this previous post on the Pennsylvania statue for a brief history of the origin of the statues).

The West Virginia Madonna is the second oldest of 12 in the country.

Unlike the Pennsylvania statue, which isn’t as visitor-friendly (it’s right up against a higher-speed stretch of U.S. 40), West Virginia’s Madonna is set further back from the road and has a turnout dedicated to the statue, which sits in Wheeling Park. The City of Wheeling assisted the DAR in funding the erection of the statue, and helps maintain the grounds around the statue today.

Like all 12 Madonnas, West Virginia’s is identical to the others, and is maintained by a local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter, which is in Wheeling in this case.

(The other monuments are in Bethesda, Md.; Beallsville, Pa.; Springfield, Ohio; Richmond, Ind.; Vandalia, Ill.; Lexington, Mo.; Council Grove, Kan.; Lamar, Colo.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Springerville, Ariz.; and Upland, Calif.)

In my opinion, Wheeling is a fascinating, historic small city, but it is one of the more difficult places to navigate for someone not familiar with the area. The steep hills and Interstates 70 and 470 seem to cut the city into disjointed pieces. So, while the West Virginia Madonna is located in Wheeling, it’s a few miles east of the downtown area.

A sign describing all 12 Madonnas at the Wheeling statue.


Summer 2012 Festivals Along the National Road

Planning out summer activities? Check out this sampling of events happening along the National Road this summer! Of course, some are missed, but here’s what I’ve been able to track down:

All States

May 30-June 3: National Road Yard Sale, Maryland to Missouri.

Maryland

May 24-27: DelFest, Cumberland.

June 9-10: 44th Annual Heritage Days Festival, Cumberland.

June 22-24: 35th Annual Grantsville Days, Grantsville.

July 4 (tentative): National Road Monument dedication, Cumberland.

July 4: 36th Annual Soapbox Derby, Frostburg.

Pennsylvania

May 18-20: National Road Festival, Southwest Pennsylvania. (Note: I have had a hard time finding a website giving details about this year’s festival, but it is happening.)

June 14-16: The 9th Annual National Road Chainsaw Carving Festival, Addison.

June 16: 11th Annual Beer & Gear Festival, Ohiopyle.

Aug. 7-11: Mountain Area Fair, Farmington.

Sept. 5-10: West Alexander Fair, West Alexander.

Sept. 15-16: Covered Bridge Festival, Washington and Greene counties.

West Virginia

June 24: Ohio Valley Black Heritage Festival, Wheeling.

July 29: Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival, Wheeling.

Aug. 10-12: Heritage Music Bluesfest, Wheeling.

Aug. 25: Wine and Jazz Festival, Wheeling.

Ohio

Columbus Fairs and Events

June 15-July 22: Springfield Summer Arts Festival, Springfield.

July 7-15: Zanesville Pottery Show and Sale, Zanesville.

July 19-22: Jamboree in the Hills, Belmont County.

Aug. 3-4: Y Bridge Arts Festival, Zanesville.

Aug. 10-11: Salt Fort Arts & Crafts Festival, Cambridge.

Aug. 18-19: Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, Reynoldsburg.

Sept. 15-16: Preble County Pork Festival, Eaton.

Sept. 22: Hebron Music and Arts Festival, Hebron.

Indiana

Indianapolis

May 24-June 2: Banks of the Wabash Festival, Terre Haute.

June: Jubilee Days, Knightstown.

September: Hoosier Fall Festival, Knightstown.

Sept. 22: Quaker Day Festival, Plainfield.

Oct. 4-7: Riley Festival, Greenfield.

Oct. 5-7: Clay County Popcorn Festival, Brazil.

Illinois

June 1-3: Fun Fest for Air-Cooled VWs, Effingham.

Sept. 1-3: Illinois Popcorn Festival, Casey.

Sept. 28-29: Grand Levee/Harvest Festival, Vandalia.

Fall: Harvest Moon Music Festival, Vandalia.