Appalachian Festival Restaurant Week returns

The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce Appalachian Festival is back. This year they’re highlighting the Appalachian cuisine of local restaurants during restaurant week.

Twenty-one restaurants are involved in the event — visit to see who is participating.

“Of course we have Appalachian favorites like pinto beans and cornbread and apple pie,” said President/CEO Michelle Rotellini. “And many of the restaurants are featuring pepperoni rolls.”

Salmon cakes are another unique menu item that is very Appalachian.

“Being landlocked here in West Virginia I think the Appalachian people didn’t have a lot of access to seafood and so made their own version of a crab cake,” she said. “Salmon cakes are something that even I grew up with. Several of our restaurants are featuring those, as well as porkchops.”

The chamber’s Rotellini says they love the festival because it’s a great opportunity for the community and beyond to take in all the great things they have to offer.

“We kicked off the festival at the exhibition coal mine. That was ranked as one of the top 10 medium size museums in the country and a lot of folks would have no idea about what the coal mining industry was and what it meant to this country,” the CEO said.

She loves showcasing what’s unique to Beckley, Raleigh County and Southern West Virginia.

“We had a lot of immigrant workers that came here to work in the coalmines and those heritages are what built our culture,” said Rotellini.

And she said we have influence from the Italians.

“Many of the stonewalls that you find throughout our old West Virginia communities were built by Italian stone workers,” Rotellini said. “So there’s a lot to learn.”

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