The Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival was in full swing throughout downtown Martinsburg. Due to the Apple Trample 5K race and the Grand Feature Parade, police had all the main roads blocked off and the inconveniences of eating in downtown began to pile up. I offered a solution from the back seat: “Why not go to Katara’s Deli?” There were a few puzzled looks as I directed us towards Pikeside on Route 11. I remembered it from a recent working lunch for its good food and great service.
In an unassuming strip about half a mile from route 45 sits a small restaurant. Near the door there are three to four parking spaces with more spaces noticeable in the rear. A sign announcing “Free WiFi” greets you on the door as you walk in. The front room and counter are inviting with great light and warm faces. The front room also contains a cozy eating space with four to five small tables and is decorated in deep hues of brown, dark orange, creams and yellows. To the right of this space, down a few steps is a larger room complete with five to ten tables and a couch with coffee table space. The entire restaurant has a clean look and comfortable feel, lending itself to working lunches or just a casual meeting of friends. There is light background music with the volume low and pleasant.
We sat at a table and were waited on by a kind young woman. We learned that her name was Tara and that “Katara” is a mash-up of Tara and Kathy, her mother. Tara was very nice and inviting while talking with our foursome about the all American Food selection. She answered all of our questions and was very responsive during our entire experience. Even with three to four rather full tables, Tara did not appear overwhelmed or harried. We decided to start with the fried pickles, which arrived in less than five minutes. They came in a group of five; golden brown and hot. The taste was exceptional; the batter was light with a good salt balance but did not overpower the tangy pickle flavor. A table mate commented that that pickles were very crisp and not “floppy”.
We discovered the menu offered a wide array of affordable lunch options. The MiBurg crew selected a Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of Sweet Potato Fries, a Club Sandwich on a sub roll, a Reuben, and a Cheeseburger with sides of fries. Katara’s has a great selection of sides so customizing the orders was easy and hassle free. Everything arrived quickly, despite the rapidly filling restaurant. It was difficult to wait for photos to be taken before digging in.
The crew had nothing but good things to say about the fare at Katara’s. The portions were large and filling, in my case, the Club was so large I was only able to eat half at one sitting. One crew member commented that the Pulled Pork sandwich was substantial without having a sloppy and wet sauce and that the coleslaw had a delightful crunch with a light dressing. The Reuben went over well at the table and had a great balance in the dressing and kraut. The fries were warm and crispy. The cheeseburger was cooked to order and was not greasy. The overall consensus was that Katara’s offered a very crisp experience, hot delicious food without the dripping condiments and soggy nature of fried foods we sometimes experience.
I look forward to eating at Katara’s Deli and tasting other options on their menu. This deli is a great addition to Martinsburg and an great example of the small businesses gaining ground in our community.
(Photos by Nicholas Trietsch)