These Fast Food Chains Are Only Found in West Virginia and We'd Like to Know Why
Tudor's Biscuit World didn’t exist when John Denver sang the most famous song ever written about West Virginia—if it had, it's likely the world would already have known about one of the best things about the Mountain State, apart from all those country roads.
Famous for piled-high, very large and super-fluffy breakfast biscuits in the morning, all the way up to impressively old-fashioned dinner combo platters at night, the homegrown fast-casual chain was founded in the 1980s in the state capital of Charleston by Bill and Mae Tudor, hence the name.
Over time, Tudor's has become a staple of local life in dozens of communities throughout West Virginia. It stands to reason then, does it not, that the company would have tried its hand at franchising elsewhere by now?
So far, not really—to know the joys of, say, the Thundering Herd breakfast biscuit, a beast of a thing loaded up with well-spiced sausage, fluffy egg, cheese, a hash brown patty and named after that other pride of West Virginia, Marshall's football team, you'll pretty much have to do a road trip. (The closest one to New York City, it turns out, is about six and a half hours drive away, in Morgantown, WV.)
Lunch at Tudor's is a little more on the standard fast food fare side of things, honestly a bit of a comedown after those great breakfast biscuits, but don't go just yet. Dinner at Tudor's is where things get really good. Original recipe meatloaf on Thursdays, hand-pulled roast beef sandwiches on Texas toast doused in gravy, a baked steak platter, chicken fried what-have-you, sides like fried apples, pinto beans, macaroni and cheese—almost sounds like a classic coffee shop menu, right?
That's the way Tudor's customers like it—company executive Oshel Craigo (a former state senator, by the way) has spoken of the company's aim toward older audiences, with a target demographic being age 35 and up. (Though, really, who says you have to be of retirement age to appreciate a good-value dinner combo.)
Tudor's isn't the only chain West Virginia keeps largely to itself. Should you be in the mood for Italian—many West Virginians quite often are, which isn't surprising, given the state's extensive Italian-American heritage—there's also Gino's Pizza and Spaghetti, an even less-widely appreciated spot for subs, baked spaghetti, pizza bread (basically a pizza in a sandwich) and wings. If you're wondering where to find a Gino's, you'll often need only to look next door to the Tudor's—in many cases the two chains share a building. (It's like those Taco Bell/KFC combos, except in West Virginia.)
Gino's may never make it very far out of the state, but there's exciting news for Tudor's fans unlucky enough to not live nearby—the first Tudor's ever to open less than a couple of hours from the original location in Charleston made its debut last year in Panama City, Florida. (A couple of other locations have snuck out of the state and into nearby towns in Ohio and Kentucky, as well.)
Could this be the start of something big? The company has long preferred to err on the side of caution where expansion is concerned, but there has definitely been growth in recent years—if this Florida venture goes well, maybe they'll start getting more adventurous. Look, if Chick-Fil-A could eventually find their way everywhere from Midtown Manhattan to Seattle, anything's possible.