Coming down out of the mountains after 5 days of camping, whiskey, and Old German lager I found myself in Keyser, West Virginia in desperate need of breakfast. We stumbled upon the Royal Restaurant, a local place covered in wood paneling, motorcycle art, and old soda signs, empty except for a table of local old timers reading the paper and looking at us like we were from Mars.
The thing with places like this is sometimes you strike gold, the rest of the time it's just some quirky signs with the same frozen food service slop they have everywhere. I don't know if it was the awesome atmosphere or the fact that I'd been cooking for 15 people over a campfire in the rain for the last week, but this breakfast really hit the spot.
The waitress informed us that the special of the day was "hamburger gravy". Being a fan of both sausage gravy and creamed chipped beef, I knew I had to give it a shot. We were a little bit afraid of some sort of hamburger helper nightmare, but what came out of the kitchen was some of the most delicious, smooth white country gravy I've ever had.
Available over biscuits, home fries, and even pancakes, this "hamburger gravy" was the perfect thing to soak up 5 days of drinking in the woods. The eggs and biscuits were fine, your standard diner fare, and the pancakes were massive and above-average, but if I ever end up back here, It's gonna be for that awesome gravy.
88 N Main Street, Keyser, WV 26726 (map)
Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who has a serious thing for hot dogs. Dig his dog drawings? Many of the illustrations he has created for Hot Dog of the Week are available for sale: hawkkrall.net/prints/.