When I started putting together the pieces to make YourBeaverCounty.com a reality back in August of this year, I never dreamed it would get this big this fast.
At that time, it just seemed like a perfect way for me to hone this style of hyperlocal blogging in a way that would leave me free from the constraints of having to answer to freelance clients. It also seemed like a good way for me to tell people about some of the places I really love in Beaver County.
As the site grew, a funny thing happened: people started messaging me and commenting on various posts about their favorite local places. I suddenly found myself spending more time investigating reader suggestions than writing about my own favorites.
Most of the places recommended by readers turned out to be really, really good. In addition to having a ton of great new content for this blog about our community, I also have a whole list of new favorite places to eat. Life is good.
Here are my top five restaurants that I have found since starting YourBeaverCounty.com:
5. Heirloom Restaurant – Beaver
I think I might have heard something about a new restaurant opening in the old Levanti’s spot in downtown Beaver, but I probably never would have made it there if not for the great review Marc gave the new Heirloom Restaurant. For some reason, that location has just never been on my radar.
After reading what Marc had to say about his experience there, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would end up there myself. While Marc was blown away by the Pulled Pork Tacos, my dish of choice here is the Pulled Pork Nachos. They could qualify as a meal all by themselves.
4. The Ball Joint – Beaver Falls
The Ball Joint is another place that I’m pretty sure I had heard about before starting the site, but the idea of a restaurant that served all meatballs didn’t really excite me. However, the way people talked about this place on one string of Facebook comments after another made it clear that this was a place I needed to write about.
Even on the way to my first meal there I wasn’t all that excited. But everything changed the minute that the food started flowing. I was blown away, and I would be back for more….often.
Everything here is made from scratch, which means everything has a level of flavor that you just don’t find most places. I’m completely hooked on the Siracha Slam sauce, as well as the Cheesy Bacon Amazing Fries. My wife loves the Grilled Shish Kaball Sub with Ballsamic Zing.
3. The Chicken Shack – Beaver Falls
On one of my early restaurant posts, someone commented that I needed to check out a place called The Chicken Shack in Beaver Falls. I had never heard of it, but the idea of fried chicken and soul food sides sounded good so I decided to give it a shot.
As I wrote in my article about my visit, I spent the rest of the day enjoying the taste of that fried chicken bouncing around my mouth. I had never had anything like it.
Since then, The Chicken Shack has moved into my regular lunchtime rotation.
2. Eric’s Gourmet – New Brighton
Another recommendation that came from readers was Eric’s Gourmet Take-Out in New Brighton. I haven’t written an article about this one yet, so consider this your sneak peak.
Eric is a trained chef that makes some of the most amazing gourmet food I have ever seen grace the friendly confines of a take-out container. His Cajun Chicken Melt and Chicken Olio Pasta have become my default option for grabbing lunch on the go. My wife also loves his Eggplant Parmigiana and the Chicken Salad with his Citrus Vinaigrette Dressing.
I’ve never had a bad meal from Eric’s, and everything I’ve tried has blown away my expectations.
1. Wooley Bully’s – New Brighton
It was a tough call between Wooley Bully’s and Eric’s Gourmet, but Wooley Bully’s has a slight edge just because of how unique their specialty pizzas are. I had heard about this place that sold strange specialty pizzas from time to time over the years, but had never ventured out to try any of them.
On my first trip to Wooley Bully’s I was a bit overwhelmed by the options on the menu and defaulted to ordering a regular pepperoni pizza. While that pizza was excellent, I was obviously missing out on something based on what the people around me were getting into.
Since then, I have experimented with Spinach & Feta Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Buffalo Chicken Pizza, and even Gyro Pizza. Thus far, my absolute favorite has been “The Hunky,” which comes with kielbasa and fried potatoes on it…..and I don’t even really like kielbasa.
Hidden Gems in Beaver County
If you’ve never been to any of these five restaurants, you should make it a point to visit each of them as soon as possible. They won’t disappoint.
As with most of our “Top Five” and “Best of” lists, you might disagree with my rankings. Perhaps you prefer The Chicken Shack to Wooley Bully’s. That’s cool. We each have our own personal preferences.
The big question is, what great hidden gems are still out there that I don’t know about yet? We all know about how great The Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe, Jerry’s Curb Service, and Hank’s are, but what is your favorite Beaver County restaurant that isn’t as well known?