Located in West-By-God Virginia, Snowshoe Mountain is one of the most popular ski areas in the southeast, with slopes and trails for all levels of skiers, snow boarders and tubers. I wish I could say that it is a popular dining destination as well, but I can’t. Food options are extremely limited, especially if you are used to skiing in the western United States.
First, there just are not a large number of restaurants. I think this is partly because Snowshoe is not a big summer destination for travelers, so restaurants must make the bulk of their income during ski season. A bad season or two can cause a place go under. Second, since there are not that many restaurants, the ones that are there get extremely crowded, especially on the weekends, and the waits can be quite lengthy and the service rushed.
A few weeks ago a group of us (four couples and six children, ages 5 to 11) were there for a long weekend. Based on that and previous visits over the years, there are two dining options that I can recommend — Foxfire Grill that is on top of the mountain at Snowshoe Village, and Elk River Restaurant, which is at the bottom of the mountain and a bit of a drive, especially after a long day on the trails. There is also a newcomer to the area, South Mountain Grille, which replaced one of my favorites (Ember). The jury is still out on it.
Elk River Inn and Restaurant (U.S. 219, Slaty Fork, WV 26291)
Elk River Restaurant is by far the best in Snowshoe, and I’ve enjoyed several wonderful meals here over the years. It does take about 20-25 minutes to drive to if you’re staying at the top of the mountain, but to me, it’s worth it. Reservations are strongly recommended. It is open Thursday through Sunday from 5:00 to 9:30.
Entrees range from $14 to $33 and include local trout, chicken, pasta, seafood, steak, etc. There is a great choice of appetizers and the wine selection is pretty decent, if not a bit pricey. There are usually some specials, which often tend to go fast.
On this visit, Brad and I split the Apple Wood Smoked Trout Roll for our appetizer. I will definitely get this again – it was fantastic! This roll consists of smoked W.V. trout, ginger and garlic cured sweet carrots, lettuce, cucumber and spicy cream cheese with spicy rice. Yum, yum, yum!
Brad had the Spicy Thai Noodles, which are simmered in red curry, coconut milk and soy sauce with scallions, cilantro and basil. He had his topped with shrimp and thoroughly enjoyed this dish. I’ve had it on a previous visit and love the how the flavors blend with each other.
I tried the Tasting of Ashley Farms Chicken, and was quite happy with my choice. This is N.C. free range chicken prepared two ways: crispy skin confit thigh and roasted airline breast. It comes with ricotta potato gnocchi, garlic seared baby spinach and lemon thyme chicken jus. Delightful! The chicken was moist and delicious, and the gnocchi was comforting and yummy. I will get this again.
The kids enjoyed their dinners as well. Lexi had trout that she really liked.
Service has always been good at Elk River, and this time was no different. Ky took great care of us. We’ll be back!
Foxfire Grille (1 Rimfire Lodge, Snowshoe, WV 26209)
This is a cozy, casual place that is easy to get to and is quite popular for lunch and dinner. Timing is everything — this past trip 12 of us were seated within 5 minutes, but immediately after that people were told there would be a 45 minute wait. And that was just for lunch.
Foxfire offers a variety of salads, soups, burgers and sandwiches at lunch, and prides itself on its “Honest to Goodness Southern Barbecue.” Think upscale bar food that is pretty good. At night you can find steaks, fish, meatloaf, barbecue and other entrees in addition to most of the items on the lunch menu. Most people should find something on the menu that they like, including kids.
This time I got a bowl of chili, which was good. Lots of meat, nice flavor, but I definitely needed to add some hot sauce.
Brad had the turkey melt, one of his favorites at Foxfire. The turkey is piled high on this sandwich, and the fries were nice and hot.
I find the portions at Foxfire to be good, and, for the most part, so is the service. Sometimes the kitchen does back up, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait for your meal, especially if it’s crowded.
South Mountain Grille (One Soaring Eagle Lodge, Snowshoe, WV 26209)
Some of our group had better luck here than others. I was one of the lucky ones and enjoyed my Korean BBQ with baby bok choy and horseradish mashed potatoes.
I think part of the disappointment for most of our group was that this place used to be a great restaurant called Ember, which was topnotch. Anyway, the jury is still out on this place, and I will need to go back before I can recommend it.
So there you go. Snowshoe is definitely a destination for outdoor winter activities, but not so much for foodies. However, if you look hard enough, you can enjoy a few good meals while you’re there!
Eat, drink and be merry!
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