You Can Find the Best Strawberry Pie in This Small West Virginia Town
Served exclusively around Mother's Day.
When dreaming about James Beard award-winning foods you’ll likely start conjuring up thoughts of fine dining experiences in New York and New Orleans. But, your dreams don’t have to travel that far. Instead, you should shift your thinking to a small town West Virginia and to a humble piece of pie.
In late January, the James Beard Foundation announced its choices for its annual America’s Classics Awards. Those awards are presented to “regional establishments, often family-owned, that are treasured for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal.”
This year’s list included none other than Jim’s Steak & Spaghetti House, located in Huntington, West Virginia, thanks in large part to its delicious strawberry pie.
The James Beard Foundation explained that the family-run restaurant, which first opened its doors in 1938 as a dairy bar, was a great choice not only because it's an excellent spot to sit down for a plate of pasta and some meat, but, it’s also a place that makes people feel like they are home.
“... despite all of the spaghetti that West Virginians eat, a plateful still feels like a celebratory occasion at Jim’s, which has a knack for weaving specialness from what diners in wealthier places might dismiss as workaday: Tweel endeared himself to generations of Huntingtonites by pouring extra soda in half-full glasses, long before the era of free refills, and giving penny candy to first-time guests,” James Beard foundation writer Hanna Raskin wrote as to why the restaurant won recognition. And, as Raskin noted, the award selection also came down to the special touches the restaurant continues to pull off, like its famed strawberry pie, that it only serves around Mother’s Day.
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"What sets Jim's apart is not just its commitment to perpetuating West Virginia's most cherished culinary tradition or its importance to the community, although both of those things matter - as does its strawberry pie, served exclusively around Mother's Day, another West Virginia invention. What makes Jim's a true America's Classics winner is it couldn't be confused with anywhere else in the world, nor could it be recreated.”
Of course, this honor isn’t lost on the restaurant’s current managing owner, Jimmie Tweel Carder.
"It's such an honor and very humbling to be the first restaurant in the state to receive this award,"Carder told the Herald Dispatch. "We have always prided ourselves in offering friendly and fast customer service. We truly appreciate all of our staff and customers that come here. Without them, this would not have been possible." He added, "I never thought Jim's would get into the national spotlight, and I know my dad and mom would be tickled that what they started more than 80 years ago is getting this type of attention.”