Take a new trail to enjoy good food and good company

buffalo-trail-restaurant

Buffalo Trail offers a full restaurant and bar featuring buffalo burgers and bratwursts from buffalo raised on site

What is it about good food that brings people together? My two sisters and I recently had the opportunity to visit a local restaurant which none of us had been to before. Just off the beaten path in Bluefield is Buffalo Trail, a rustic resort near the Pocahontas Trailhead of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. A hotspot for ATV riders, the resort features cabins, cottages, RV campgrounds and their newest addition, treehouse sleeper cabins. Besides the living quarters and amenities, Buffalo Trail offers a full restaurant and bar featuring buffalo burgers and bratwursts from buffalo raised on site. An 80-acre buffalo farm is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bluefield, West Virginia, but it’s there nonetheless.

Open Thursday through Saturday just for dinner, I imagine a lot of the business the restaurant gets is from ATV riders after a long day on the trails. But it is also open to the public and is a great place for events, dates, or just a night out with friends and family.

buffalo-trail-firepit

A crackling firepit outside the restaurants set the mood for a cozy, rustic evening.

The sweet smell of a wood burning stove greeted us just inside the door, a pleasant contrast to the cold air outside. In the warmer months, the first seating section is open-air, but for now it is covered.

As we made our way to the main dining area, sounds of good times grew louder.

The inside of the restaurant is just what you’d expect from a cabin in the woods. Warm and inviting, the ambiance is cozy like a cabin, but also vibrant and social. There are three flatscreen TV’s, but I wouldn’t call it a sports bar.

Long, family-style tables complete with iron-back chairs are placed with plenty of space between them making for a comfortable setting. Offsetting the walls of natural wood are windows to the woods outside and custom buffalo-inspired paintings by artist Brian Perkins of Montcalm. Perkins’ paintings are featured in every cabin as well.

 

 

buffalo-trail-restaurant-chef

Executive Chef Justin McComas heats up the kitchen at Buffalo Trail restaurant in Bluefield, W.Va.

On this Friday night, the crowd consisted of a wide range of ages and included couples, friends, and families. The group next to us was celebrating a birthday, passing little ones around as if they hadn’t come together in awhile. Somehow it felt like we were all family enjoying one another’s company.

Not often offered at restaurants, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try buffalo. Available in half-pound and full-pound patties, the buffalo burgers are certainly fit for someone with an appetite. The meat itself is a little more gamy than traditional hamburgers, but in a good way. It adds to the wildness of the experience. Coupled with melt-in-your-mouth mac n’ cheese, the buffalo burger became an instant favorite that I eagerly anticipate enjoying again.

melt-in-your-mouth mac n’ cheese, the buffalo burger

Melt-in-your-mouth Mac n’ cheese, The Buffalo burger

My sisters each enjoyed the restaurant’s signature drink, the Loopy Buffalo. It’s their most popular drink, and the restaurant makes up to 50 gallons a night. A light, citrus mixed drink, it is described on the menu as “a refreshing blend of three olives loopy, peach schnapps, orange juice and cranberry juice.” It looks like a margarita complete with a rim of crushed fruit loops instead of salt adding to the fun. For dessert, we shared their New York cheesecake with mixed berries. It was a delicious ending to a great experience. All in all I was able to catch up with my sisters, and Buffalo Trail was the perfect setting to do so.

This is the first column in a new series chronicling experiences at restaurants in our readership area. Jeremy Bartlett is the Lifestyles Editor for the daily telegraph.