Any local foodie has heard of 34:Ate and their Pinterest-worthy menu, and that reputation is well deserved.
More Than A Project
Owners Robyn Gannon, Natalie Taylor, and Debbie Young have built a unique homestyle restaurant that has quickly grown into one of Williamson’s pride and joys. Gannon and Young handle the day to day operations in the store, and Taylor, Young’s daughter. handles the marketing and bookkeeping for the restaurant from home.
I got a chance to talk to two of the owners, Gannon and Young, when they allowed me to stop by before opening one day. When talking to them, I soon learned that these two women weren’t always in the restaurant business, instead, they were retired school teachers. Since retiring, the two friends decided to start 34: Ate as a project together, which was just one of the many that they’ve taken on in their many years of friendship. “We kind of just wanted to see if we could do it,” Young said. Five years later, the project has turned into a successful business and a staple of Williamson, proving that these women can, in fact, do it and can do it well.
A Different Look
The success of the restaurant is a result of many different success factors rolled up into one humble little restaurant downtown. There is nowhere around quite like 34: Ate and people are attracted to the unique dishes and atmosphere of a place that stands out from the dozens of fast-food chains around.
Walking into the restaurant, you are greeted by a world of mirrors, paintings, and other home decor items that light up the dining area and help customers to feel transported straight onto Pinterest. Young said, “If you look around, there is just a hodgepodge of things.” Within this hodgepodge of decorations, you’ll notice a piece hanging on the right wall; it’s a decoupage picture of a salad made from hundreds of pieces of magazine paper. It was another of Gannon and Young’s longer projects, and it serves as a prime example of the work ethic and dedication that these women have. There is also a large hand-painted rooster on the wall that the women painted together.
On one of the walls, there is nothing but hand-painted quotes and words. Some of these quotes tie into the Christian influences that you can find all around the restaurant. The name of the restaurant also holds true to the owners' Christian beliefs as a reference to Psalms 34:8 in the Bible which reads: “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” On the menu and in much of the restaurant's marketing, you can find them referencing this Bible verse in their slogan, “taste and see”.
Some Of The Best Food Around
Anyone who has tasted their food has seen that all the items are worth the visit. Some of their most well-known dishes include their chicken and waffles, their strawberry chicken poppyseed wrap, and their turkey bacon blackberry sandwich. They have a full menu, a daily special, and a daily dessert special. All their food is homemade and made fresh every morning starting as early as 5:30 a.m. They also offer special community dinners throughout the year themed
around holidays like Halloween or Thanksgiving.
The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. While these hours may seem short, the owners say there are also some benefits to having these limited hours. Young said these hours may make the restaurant more desirable to someone when they finally get the chance to come in. Young said, “If you can’t get something, you always want it more.” If you don’t have a chance to stop by, you can always call in a catering order for your next small event. The restaurant recently started testing an online ordering service at www.34ate.com!
The Attention They Deserve
All around 34: Ate is one of the places to visit in Williamson. This great restaurant has been featured in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch and WV Living Magazine. However, some people are still discovering 34: Ate. Gannon said, “We have local people still coming in saying ‘we didn’t even know it was here.’ “ If you’re just now finding 34: Ate or if you’re already a dedicated customer, be sure to stop by 34: Ate because they are always welcoming with a kitchen full of good food and a staff full of smiles.