KIRK’S: A WEST VIRGINIA ORIGINAL
A Dining Destination for Golfers & Outdoor Enthusiasts
Story by: Mike May
Many restaurant critics say the three keys to the success in the restaurant business are location, location, location. That truly is the case for any restaurant, whether it’s a chain, a franchise, a free standing local diner, or an upscale bistro or steakhouse. It’s safe to say that Kirk’s restaurant (304-466-4600) in Hinton, West Virginia has the best location in Summers County, probably the best location of any restaurant in the state of West Virginia, and aruguably the best location of any restaurant in the Eastern time zone. This restaurant is perched high above the waters of the New River in southern West Virginia, not far from the confluence of the New and Greenbrier Rivers. The views from the covered patio at Kirk’s -- where many people choose to eat or enjoy some sweet iced tea on a hot summer day -- are so stunning, jaw-dropping, and eye-opening that management could add a small sightseeing surcharge to every bill and many people would gladly pay it – especially out-of-town guests.
On its Facebook page, Kirk’s prides itself on being “the home of the hungry, where good friends meet to eat, and where the New River and Greenbrier (River) meet.”
One of the best meals to eat at Kirk’s is breakfast simply because the food is great, there is a wide selection of dishes to choose from, and the view of the river is beyond compare and it never gets old.
The lunch and dinner crowd always walks in hungry and leaves with a satisfied stomach. At lunch and dinner, the vegetable soup has attracted rave reviews. The chili dogs, deep fried cauliflower, sweet potato fries, spaghetti, and the fried chicken are a big ‘hit’ and never disappoint any palate.
The menu is diverse and every attempt is made to cater to every taste bud.
“We serve everything that people want, except a traditional steak,” said Wayne Rice, owner of Kirk’s since 1993.
The restaurant has been open since 1977 and was originally called Kirk’s Burger and Fish House.
The busy time of the year at Kirk’s is from late spring to early fall. The restaurant opens at 6:30 am and closes at 9:00 pm, but it closes an hour earlier in the winter.
“We have a strong out-of-town business,” added Rice. “Everybody loves the atmosphere at the restaurant. The homemade desserts that my wife Kathy makes are one of the main reasons people come here. She makes cobblers, different kinds of pound cakes, and various flavors of pie squares, which is a cold cream dessert. She also makes a Reese’s cake which has a whipped peanut butter filling and fudge icing.”
Much of the out-of-town business is connected to the large number of people who flock to Hinton to spend the day on the New River where they are fishing, boating, and rafting. Kirk’s also attracts area golfers who come to play the par-72, 18-hole layout at the nearby Pipestem Resort State Park. Those golfers show up with an appetite.
“Our restaurant is 15 miles from the Pipestem Resort State Park and we do get a lot of hungry golfers,” continued Rice.
On a popularity scale of 1 to 5 stars, Kirk’s is a 4.7, based on a survey of nearly of 135 customers.
“I come here because it feels like you are eating on the river,” said Jason Stover of Hinton, who also works as raft guide on the New River. “The blueberry pancakes plus the biscuits and (sausage) gravy are great.”
“When I think about home, I think about this place,” said Jonathan Eskridge, of Covington, Kentucky, who lived in Hinton as a child and graduated from the local Summers County High School. “It’s great comfort food at Kirk’s. You just know what you are getting when you place an order. They are known for their great hotdogs.”
So, if you are searching for a restaurant where the quality of the food and the service are as great as the views of the New River, make a point of dropping by Kirk’s for a meal or just a piece of cobbler and a cup of coffee.
By the way, at Kirk’s, parking is free, WiFi is free, and so are the refills on iced tea! The next time that I go to Kirk’s, you’ll find me on the covered patio overlooking the New River, after having spent time on the river or playing golf at Pipestem.
See you at Kirk’s.