By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV
February 12, 2023
If you order country fried steak at Pickaway Pickins, you’ll hear them pound out the fresh-cut sirloin and fry it in a cast iron-skillet with gravy. Every single menu item is made from scratch, fresh to order.
“The way your grandma did it,” says manager & baker Andrea Tincher. “We buy high quality food because it makes a better tasting meal.”
For owner Avery Atkins, that’s the way it should be done. “Sometimes people think it takes a little longer than it should, and that’s because everything is made fresh.”
On Thanksgiving several years ago, the restaurant’s baker couldn’t make pies as normal. Andrea Tincher has never made a pie in her life, but she knew their customers would expect pies. So she stayed up all night, tested and refined her recipes, and now makes 50 pies a week.
“We used to make 12 or so a week,” says Tincher. “Now, it’s 50. And if you want a whole pie, you have to order it in advance.”
Coconut cream is their most popular pie. People also love the peanut butter (which is her grandma’s recipe), chocolate, and key lime, to name a few.
Each day, she bakes fresh pie for the case by the cash register. Completely by scratch.
How it all began
In October 2015, Avery Atkins purchased the property with no intention of operating a restaurant. The land bordered his farm, and he thought it would be good to own the land and perhaps sell some farming equipment since it sits on 219, the main road. Avery’s wife, Connie, is known for her cooking and recipes. She pitched the idea of opening a restaurant, and the rest is history.
“The restaurant business is different than my tractor business,” reflected Atkins. “Not many people are in the market for a tractor, but everybody has to eat.”
After seven and a half years in the business with his family, he is proud of what they’ve built. “It’s neat to make your community proud by providing an establishment they like to visit,” he says. “We enjoy it.”
Connie continues to cook several of the menu items, and Avery does the grocery shopping each week. He also serves as an unofficial host, welcoming and visiting with everyone who comes in the restaurant.
Customers come from all over
“We make it a point to get to know our customers,” said Tincher. One couple moved to Monroe County from New Jersey. They came to the restaurant one day, met the staff, and had lunch. A few weeks later they stopped in again. Tincher greeted them by name with a smile, and they were blown away by the hospitality. Now, they come every single day to the restaurant.
Atkins estimates that half their business is from Greenbrier County, a quarter from Monroe County, and the rest come from all around–Roanoke, Princeton, Christiansburg, Beckley.
Tincher tells the story of one couple who owns a restaurant in Pocahontas County. They come to Pickaway every single weekend to eat. That’s a 3-hour drive roundtrip.
Why do so many people come from so far?
“It’s the food,” Tincher says. “The food speaks for itself.”
Burgers are the most popular items, closely followed by “country cooking” favorites like country fried steak, and their salad bar. They also offer specials each weekend. Ribs are a local favorite, and they are offered approximately once a month.
“Between the food, the friendly atmosphere, and a smiling face that cares about you, it’s just a good place,” says Tincher. “We ask about each other’s kids and remember each other’s names. That means something.”
Pickaway Pickins is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11am-7pm, Friday-Sunday from 11am-8pm, and Sunday from 11am-7pm. When spring returns, their hours will expand.