One West Virginia restaurant’s menu reads something like this:
● Roasted Red Pepper Soup
● Warmed pimento cheese dip with housemade crackers
● “Deviled Eggs of the Moment”
It displays a comforting mix of New American (and Canadian) cuisine with a fleeting Appalachian classic.
“At Hart Kitchen, we change our deviled eggs about every quarter. Never the same egg twice. Yet..,” said Chef Ann Hart, owner of Hart Kitchen in Clarksburg.
“If you are a deviled egg aficionado, you are not shy to let everyone know that your deviled egg is better than anybody’s deviled egg. Repeatedly! Oh, you know that person. I have been told by ‘those people’ that mine are a preeeeeetty close second. I’ll take that consolation prize.”
“Deviled Eggs of the Moment” has become a signature of Hart’s, who has contributed a number of classics to the Appalachian food repertoire. Her roasted red pepper soup, which was also a staple at her previous restaurant Provence Market Cafe in Bridgeport, has fans far and wide.
Back to the Basics
“Long story, but I actually dropped into the food business by accident,” Hart said. “Degree in biology in hand, I moved to Atlanta in hopes of an opportunity in laboratory research. After many, many diversions, and needing to pay bills in the interim, I started working in a casual theme restaurant. There are multiple chapters to that story from then to now, but here we are still cooking.”
Many know the award-winning chef from her delicious dishes at the aforementioned Provence Market Cafe, which fed the North-Central West Virginia region for nearly 18 years before a devastating fire destroyed the building in 2019.
A year later, Hart opened Hart Kitchen Eatery in Clarksburg with many of the same recipes customers had come to love, as well as Hart Kitchen Cookery, where she offers culinary classes for small groups.
“My signature is creating new dishes as my specials of the day. I know what I order, but I never know exactly how it will arrive. Do we have some beautiful fish but not as thick as I had expected? Then instead of it being the total star on its own, it now may become part of an ensemble of other fishes and seafood, etc.,” she said. “I don't know until I see it! My dishes may be regionally inspired, globally inspired or just a good old classic.”
When it comes to her deviled eggs, though, there’s just one thing for certain: You never know what to expect.
“One thing I do like to do to my egg is gussy it up,” Hart said. “Keep the bottom classic egg the same but mix up the toppings. I am not even going to suggest you change your recipe to mine but go ahead and come up with your own combo to top your egg!”
Here are a few suggestions from Hart to get you started:
● Buffalo chicken, celery and blue cheese
● Tortilla sliver, jalapeno slice and cheddar
● Caprese with tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil
● Pickled egg with pickled vegetables
● Benedict style with ham, chilled hollandaise, paprika and buttered crumb
● Steak and eggs
The above are just a few of the recipes in Hart’s back pocket. But if eggs aren’t your jam, try another featured dish on the menu that tempts your tastebuds, like the seared sea scallops with blueberry compote, crispy soppressata and roasted vegetables or the tuna carpaccio nicoise.
The skinny fries appetizer is adorned with two dips of your choice: English Mustard Mayo, Green Goddess, Bleu Cheese, Calabrian Chili Aioli, Roasted Red Pepper Soup Dip, or Regular Ketchup.
There’s also a basket of beer steamed Gulf “peel and eat” shrimp served with New England butter, grilled lemon aioli and cocktail sauce. Michael’s Famous Pixie Dust Chicken Wings consist of nine large house wings served with bleu cheese and veggie sticks.
There is always something new, different or updated at Hart Kitchen. Whether it’s a throwback to a crowd-favorite or a new take on a classic dish, the eatery keeps it fresh.
“The most exciting aspect to this career is the day to day challenge as no day is ever the same - no ‘Groundhog Day’ in this business,” Hart said.
For more information about Hart Kitchen Eatery and Cookery, visit https://hartkitchen.com/.
Hart Kitchen Eatery and Cookery is located at 123 S. 4th Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301. It is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Sunday through Wednesday.