While everyone begins to get excited for the grand opening of the Chipotle on High Street, I couldn’t help but look at the local businesses we already had here in Morgantown.
Chipotle is great. I’m a huge fan of the restaurant and love a good burrito, but there are other restaurants in the area that offer better options and better food. I’m speaking, of course, about Black Bear Burritos.
Black Bear Burritos has been a Morgantown staple since 2003. It maintains an artsy atmosphere typical of many newer West Virginian restaurants. Being a West Virginian myself, I adored the music, culture and art from local and regional sources that were on display throughout the establishment.
Black Bear is quite eclectic, although you can spot the rustic, cabin-style influences that pervade the walls and furniture of the restaurant. Even ordering includes a twinge of eccentricity as the table markers they give you are small childrens’ toys — an odd but interesting choice.
Choosing my meal this week at the downtown Black Bear, I decided to go with the restaurant’s weekly featured dish: The Carne A-Suh-Dude. While the name might make you cringe just a little, the dish was actually quite well made. While not the most beautiful plate, the carne asada flank steak was well-cooked and complemented in texture and taste by freshly made pico de gallo and fresno red pepper salsa. The tortilla used to wrap the meat, spinach and rice together was not the freshest, in my opinion, but I will admit that I’m very particular with my soft tortilla tastes.
The main dish was accompanied by a seasoned ricotta salad that was nicely paired to the meal. I’m not one to dig too heavily into the tortilla chips, unless I’m waiting on the rest of my group, but I highly recommend the creamy queso dip, which I would love to just be able to purchase a bowl of to take home.
My favorite aspect of Black Bear, which also has a location on Evansdale, is its focus on local tastes and entertainment. Black Bear features live entertainment nearly every week, and apart from the local music it promotes, Black Bear also showcases local craft beers when available. If you’re a foodie, as I am, this place caters like no other. I think it is especially important to be aware and supportive of places like this because not only can they change and adapt their offerings to local tastes like no franchise could ever do, but they also operate as bastions for West Virginian culture, something this state desperately needs.
As a new project I’m working on, Appalachian Appetites will be a cool way to visit establishments with explicit West Virginian and Appalachian tastes across the state. I will be doing this every other article and attempting to place a spotlight on some of those “bastions for West Virginian culture.”
Black Bear Burritos Downtown is located at 132 Pleasant St. and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and closed on Sundays.