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Mehlman’s Sixth Best In Nation

Generations of Ohio Valley residents have been flocking to Mehlman’s Cafeteria in St. Clairsville to enjoy hearty portions of home-style comfort food and delicious homemade pies (oh, the pies!) on a regular basis.

The Ohio Valley’s tasty “secret” now has achieved national fame. The prestigious magazine, Food &Wine, has named Mehlman’s as the sixth best cafeteria in America.

In an article published in late November, magazine representatives stated, “This year, we’re giving thanks for the keepers of the flame — the best remaining examples of the great American cafeteria.”

Food &Wine writer David Landsel noted that many years ago, the Mehlman family was well known rather for their stall at Wheeling’s public market. Later, when Mary Mehlman Dietrich bought an old motel with a small coffee shop on National Road near St. Clairsville, “fans of the family’s cooking followed her over the Ohio River,” he wrote.

“Mehlman’s, now operated by the fourth generation of the family, may not look like much from the outside, but drive past looking for something flashier, and you risk missing out on one of the purest living examples of classic cafeteria culture left in the entire country, and we can start with the outre decor (you definitely don’t walk into a place like this expecting chandeliers), continuing on to the modest prices, and the abundance of food on offer each day,” Landsel wrote.

The article is illustrated with a photograph of a display case holding an array of Mehlman’s pies. Landsel enthused, “Every day is pie day, thankfully–they’ll sell you a whole one to go for just a little more than $11.”

Ranking ahead of Mehlman’s Cafeteria on the Food &Wine list of the nation’s best cafeterias are, in order, Cleburne Cafeteria in Houston; Sokolowski’s University Inn, Cleveland; Philippe’s, Los Angeles; Gray Brothers Cafeteria in Mooresville, Indiana, and Harry’s Hofbrau, located in San Leandro and Redwood City, California.

Rounding out the magazine’s top 10 list are these cafeterias: Valois, Chicago; Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Nashville; Niki’s West in Birmingham, Alabama, and Cafe Latte in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I don’t know about you, but I have a sudden hankering for pie!

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Martyna Matusiak, Wheeling artist and professor of art at West Liberty University, has had two of her pieces of artwork accepted into the International Print Biennale in Bucharest, Romania.

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As a reminder to music lovers and Wheeling history buffs, we note that Randall Reid-Smith, curator of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, will present a special program on Wheeling-born opera star Eleanor Steber at West Virginia Independence Hall, 1528 Market St., Wheeling, at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Steber, who spent her early years in South Wheeling and later lived in Warwood, became a renowned performer with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In recognition of her stellar career, she was inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1980.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer.net

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