Patrons packed the 1863 Restaurant Tuesday to sample several dishes recently introduced on the Elkins eatery's new menu.
However, interspersed with the new menu items are some of the area's all-time favorites.
The 1863 Restaurant has changed their appetizers, now offering delectable choices such as a Caprese salad, which has mozzarella cheese, basil and tomatoes or bruschetta, toasted bread topped with tomato, cheese and other garnishings.
The Inter-Mountain photos by Beth Christian Broschart
Mike Ross and 1863 waitress Nellie Hohman take a break during the dinner hour at the famous Elkins eatery earlier this week. Bottom right, Lisa, Julie and Chuck Prusch enjoy a meal at the 1863 Tavern in Elkins.
Another item debuting on the menu is freshly made lemonade.
"This is the Sexton Kids' Lemonade," said owner Kenny Sexton. "This is a recipe we developed when our kids were younger and they absolutely love it, so we decided to use that recipe and add it to our menu."
Karen Rhodes, general manager of the 1863 Restaurant, said the purpose of the menu changes was to offer items people enjoy and have requested.
"Our steaks have been upgraded and the seasonings are different," Rhodes said. "Our ribeye steak is certified angus and we offer a high-quality cut of filet mignon. We have also added the Jackson Flat Iron Steak, a delicious steak that doesn't break the bank."
Another menu change is in the size of salads.
"We still offer our wonderful salads," Rhodes said, "but now they are available in two sizes - lunch and dinner - so folks have the choice. We have also added another favorite - everyone loves our alfredo."
Nevertheless, many aspects of the 1863 Restaurant haven't changed one iota. The restaurant still serves crispy garlic crackers, homemade salad dressings, seafood including stuffed flounder, mountain trout and crab cakes, and, of course, everyone's favorite - ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls.
A visit to the restaurant is still brightened by the smiles on familiar faces, including Nellie Hohman, who started working at the 1863 Restaurant around 1970; cook Joe Kelly, who started in 1972; Sheila Bonner and Sonja Thompson, who began working in 1985; waiter Tom Singleton, who started in 1988; and Lorraine Chilgren, who started working at the 1863 Restaurant more than 19 years ago.
Elkins residents Dick and Karen McGraw joined friends Tuesday evening at the 1863 Restaurant to try the new menu.
"We both had steaks," Dick McGraw said. "It was a great meal."
Chuck, Lisa and Julie Preusch enjoyed their dinner Tuesday evening.
"I had the crab bisque soup and a spinach salad and it was very good," Lisa Preusch said. "Chuck had the mountain trout and Julie had the soup and caprese salad. We thought everything was really great."
The 1863 Restaurant opened its doors in 1950. In May of this year, the restaurant and adjoining motel rooms were purchased by Kenny and Beverly Sexton, Jim and Elaine Douglas and Lloyd and Sharon Teter.
The restaurant will be renovated in January 2014.
When all renovations are finished - Sexton estimated that will be sometime during spring 2014 - the Isaac Jackson Hotel will feature 61 new and newly remodeled guest rooms, a full-service restaurant, a bakery and doughnut shop and a large banquet and conference room.
The 1863 Restaurant is open Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner specials are offered daily. Additional information is available by calling 304-636-1400.
Contact Beth Christian Broschart by emailing email@example.com.