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Griffith & Feil a Kenova mainstay

Jan. 02, 2013 @ 09:17 PM

KENOVA -- With more than a century of history behind it, Griffith & Feil is a landmark within the community of Kenova.

The pharmacy was originally established in 1892 by the Williams family. The drugstore moved twice in 1903 and later in 1914 to its current location on Chestnut Street. Following the death of the original owners, the pharmacy was under the joint ownership of Simp Griffith, Dick Griffith and Glen Feil. It remains in the ownership of the Griffith family to this day.

Current owner Ric Griffith began a multi-year project to restore the drugstore's classic soda fountain in 2001, with the soda fountain officially re-opening in 2004. Today Griffith & Feil serves up a wide assortment of sandwiches, salads and burgers in addition to classic ice cream sodas. Restoring the classic 1920s-style soda fountain was an in-depth process. Classic copper fixtures and lighting were added alongside new floor tiles. Even the plumbing in the bathroom was installed to give the building the right vintage feel.

Unfortunately, keeping the classic shop in working order comes with its own problems. In September of 2012, the soda fountain was closed for 22 days when a piece of equipment needed repaired. A new countertop was also installed.

"Ric and I traveled all over the south looking for authentic fixtures," said Sandi Griffith, co-owner. "We actually found the soda fountain itself in Huntington after visiting four states. We found the back bar from a pharmacy in Virginia, in (Washington) D.C. At one point we had a woman in her 90s come in and recognize it from her dad's pharmacy."

It isn't just the decor that's classic about Griffith & Feil. The soda fountain offers a variety of milkshakes, malts, sundaes and floats. There are old-fashioned hand-mixed sodas called "phosphates" in a wide variety of flavors.

The Banana Split ($6.25) remains a favorite, with scoops of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream topped with whipped cream, nuts caramel, pineapple topping and chocolate fudge.

The menu also features a wide selection of burgers, sandwiches and salads. There is also a different soup-of-the-day every day.

Among the specialty sandwiches are the reuben ($6.95) and the Italian sub ($6.95). One of the more popular sandwiches is the Monte Cristo ($6.95) featuring batter-dipped bread grilled with ham, turkey and Havarti cheese. It is served with a homemade hot pepper jelly.

One sandwich, The Appalachian ($5.25), is a simple West Virginia staple -- fried bologna with grilled onions and mustard.

"Back when they were shooting the 'We Are Marshall' movie a few years ago one of the guys from Hollywood on the hill ordered three because they wanted to try it," said Lee Banks, restaurant manager. "They thought they were delicious. They called back and ordered 15 of them.

"People ask what our most popular item is," Banks added. "It would be hard to say because we sell so much of everything. Our salads are very popular because everything is fresh. You aren't going to get a salad that has bad lettuce or tomatoes. It's all from the garden."

The Griffith & Feil Soda Fountain is located at 1405 Chestnut St., Kenova. It is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours are noon to 3 p.m. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted.

For carry-out orders and more information, call 304-453-5227.

If you go: Griffith & Feil Pharmacy & Soda Fountain

Food: Ice Cream Soda Fountain, Hamburgers, Sandwiches, and Salads

Address: 1405 Chestnut Street, Kenova WV 25530

Phone: 304-453-5227

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. Sunday

Payments accepted: Cash and all major credit/debit cards.

More online: For more than 150 restaurant profiles and growing, visit the entertainment page at www.herald-dispatch.com.