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Towers Restaurant

February 08, 2004

By E.T. MOORE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - On a recent cold and wintry day, a Connecticut couple who was no doubt visiting Towers Restaurant for the first and probably, only time, assured the young waitress that the weather in their home state was a good deal colder than in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

But beyond the usual friendly restaurant banter, they also had a lot of good things to say about their meals at this Martinsburg mainstay, which has been serving home-cooked fare at the same location at the intersection of South Queen and Wilson streets for 57 years.

From its early days, Towers has been a favorite of young and old. As a youngster growing up in the 1950s, I remember the excitement of going to Towers was twofold. Not only was the food good, but there was a miniature golf course behind and above the restaurant, accessible via a set of stone stairs on the Wilson Street side.

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Through the years, there were numerous trips to Towers to eat or to pick up a pint or quart of the establishment's signature coleslaw. I'm happy to report that this particular side dish has remained tantalizing since 1947.

The decor on this day had been embellished to reflect the upcoming Valentine's Day, with hearts and pink flowers evident around the dining room. Elsewhere the West Virginia flag occupies a permanent place of honor, as do a number of pictures of old Martinsburg.

My companion and I enjoyed the small and intimate dining room atmosphere at Towers. We both were quite pleased with our selections, which were chosen from a menu that lists entrées by price categories.

From the top-of-the-line $9.99 list, I opted for the eight butterfly shrimp, which entitled me to choose three vegetable sides from a lengthy list. Two fresh rolls accompanied by real butter completed the dinner.

The large shrimp were impeccably seasoned and served hot. The cocktail sauce accompanying my shrimp was room temperature - a small, but important plus when eating good breaded shrimp.

Green beans cooked with ham melted in the mouth. A baked potato was steaming and accompanied by sour cream only, thanks to a waitress who remembered that I requested no butter.

A dish of that signature coleslaw rounded out the meal, leaving no room for complaint or dessert.

My companion enjoyed her $9.99 crab cake entrée, commenting that the two fried cakes were crisp, flavorful and contained just enough breading and no stray shells. Her green beans also were well-received, but an order of potato salad was described as ordinary, bland and obviously not homemade.

When asked about dessert, the waitress rattled off a lengthy list of available pies. She answered honestly that none of the pies were homemade, so no dessert was ordered.

The bill for two diners came to just more than $22.

The overall experience didn't disappoint and easily paved the way for a return in the near future.

Towers Restaurant

n Food: 3 forks (out of 4)

n Service: 4 forks (out of 4)

n Atmosphere: 3 forks (out of 4)

n Value: 4 forks (out of 4)

Hours: Open at 6 a.m., seven days a week, for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Prices: Up to $9.99 for a dinner entrée with three vegetables.

Phone: 1-304-267-7970

Location: 1029 S. Queen St., Martinsburg, W.Va.

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