WESTON, W.Va. – This edition of WBOY’s Restaurant Road Trip segment takes us to Lewis county, to a restaurant that has been around for decades – Giovanni’s Appalachian Soul Restaurant.
Back in 1993, Tim and Lori Hamrick took over Giovanni’s and kept the name.
Tim and Lori’s daughter, Karli Hamrick, explained they moved the restaurant in the past 8-10 years, to where they are now, located at 451 US Highway 33 in Weston.
“We’ve had a lot of success since we’ve moved here. It was a great move for us,” said Karli Hamrick. “We’d like to maybe add an outdoor space. We’ve done a lot of renovations since we’ve moved into this building. We’ve redone the floors, painted all the walls, all new trim, remodeled our banquet room in here.”
Customers come to Giovanni’s for the food but tend to keep coming back for the family-like atmosphere.
“I think that’s a lot of why customers want to come back is because they love our family, the family that we’ve created down here,” Karli Hamrick explained. “Most of our customers, we have a really loyal customer base, we have some that come in 2-3 times a day, even.”
The entire Hamrick family is involved at Giovanni’s, even with some items on the menu named after family members.
“My grandparents helped from the beginning. They helped transition to the new place. My dad’s parents, they helped. My grandma used to bake our bread when we came out here, she started doing our food orders for us. My other grandparents, they still help us purchase food items. My Pap is our maintenance man, so he comes and helps out whenever he can.”
Karli Hamrick noted that this past December of 2019 would have been 27 years at the restaurant for her parents. But, Lori Hamrick passed away last June before that could happen.
“Unfortunately, my mom passed away in June. So, this is a new year for us. My grandma also passed away at the beginning of January. This new year we’re coming in without either one of them, which you know has been challenging. You know, we’ve missed their presence, we’ve noticed it. They were the backbone of every operation we had down here.”
But despite the recent losses in the family, and the pandemic, Giovanni’s is persevering.
“It’s different, but you know we’re moving along, and we’re still successful even with COVID going on,” Karli Hamrick said. “Our pick up and delivery business has been just as successful, if not more, in our dining room. Customers, we’ve been precautious, you know. Everyone’s still comfortable coming in here socially distanced, wearing masks and everything.”
Giovanni’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has something on the menu for everybody.
Karli Hamrick explained that one of the most popular items on their menu, even before her parents took over, is the Giovanni Special sandwich – which is a steak patty with peppers and American cheese on toast.
“Another one that’s recently increased, a lot of popularity, our calzones. We stuff with them whatever customers want and top them with some garlic butter, some parmesan cheese. Our breakfast has always been popular, we serve it all day.”
Giovanni’s also serves prime rib on Saturdays.
“We usually sell out by 6 o’clock and we don’t even start selling until 4. My dad does those, they’re really popular. People come from other counties to come and eat it,” said Karli Hamrick.
Giovanni’s is also a place that likes to stay involved with the community. They host parties and banquets for the Rotary, VFW, and similar organizations. They donate food to the high school for wing eating competitions.
Hamrick said, “My parents have always been really great about donating back to the community. My parents, my mom especially, always said ‘I have it to give.’ So, I feel like when you bless other people, blessings come onto you and that has definitely been the case. My parents have seen nothing but blessings from this place and I think it’s from the awesome attitude that they’ve had. We love Lewis County, we love Weston, it’s an awesome place.”
Giovanni’s is open Tuesday through Sunday. You can view their menu and learn more about them on their Facebook page.
Giovanni’s is located at 451 US Highway 33 E in Weston.