WHEELING - The chance for visitors to Wheeling's Heritage Port to enjoy a relaxing lunch by the Ohio River is close at hand, as local chef James Burress brings his flavor to the waterfront starting Wednesday.
Burress' rebranding of the "Depot Bikery" waterfront eatery concept, which Wheeling-Ohio County Rails to Trails Manager R. "Scat" Scatterday first pitched to city leaders last year, will offer a little something for everyone, with a view to boot.
In the mood for fried Cajun catfish with a side of fried green tomatoes? You're in luck. Want something a little lighter and healthier, such as a salad or croissant sandwich? No problem.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Chef James Burress prepares to welcome hungry patrons to the Depot Bikery, which is set to open Wednesday. Seated at the tables in the foreground, are Kenneth Jones, left, and Charles Santee Jr. Seated in the background are Michael Henrick with 1-year-old Jocilyn Henrick.
Located along Wheeling Heritage Trail at the north end of Heritage Port near the playground, the Depot Bikery will open for business Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Thursday - Independence Day - Burress will offer extended hours from 11 a.m. to dusk, then it's back to business as usual with lunchtime hours every Monday through Friday, weather permitting.
The eatery also will open during evening events at Heritage Port, such as Waterfront Wednesday concerts and Friday Riverfront Movie Nights, as well as for many of the festivals slated throughout the summer.
"I was excited from the word 'hello.' I'm ready to go," he said.
As Burress soaks in the atmosphere, with plenty of shade and a picturesque view of the river and historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge, he can't fathom anything but success for his waterfront dining concept.
"Out here, it's heaven. You can't beat it," Burress said. "It's just like being at home in your backyard, enjoying the day, enjoying the food, enjoying the relaxation in your own hometown."
Diners will be able to eat their lunch at umbrella-shaded tables, surrounded by greenery and soft music. After being greeted at the entrance by a member of Burress' staff, patrons will first pass a station offering light fare, including salads, croissant sandwiches, the soup of the day and a taco bar where they can stuff their tortilla with a variety of items, from traditional Mexican toppings to pulled pork, baby shrimp and catfish.
Next, they'll pass a cart with cold drinks, shaved ice, hot dogs and desserts such as apple fritters and cinnamon-sprinkled funnel sticks. In the far corner, a third station will offer a selection of smoked barbecue ribs, Burress' fried Cajun catfish, shrimp, French fries, hand-breaded onion rings and fried green tomatoes.
Burress said that after things get going, there's the potential to expand with breakfast and brunch hours on weekends. He also said the Depot Bikery provides a great setting for work meetings and club gatherings.