As the temperature drops in the Greenbrier Valley and most creatures, even the human ones, prepare for months of hibernation, local residents Colin Rose and Paula Thomas have decided to rage against our seasonal lull by debuting a new eatery and bar – The Asylum.
Located in downtown Lewisburg at the site of the old Legg’s Cleaners at the corner of S. Lafayette and E. Randolph Streets, The Asylum simply started as a place to bring local friends together who once met at the small intimate bar formerly at Roberts Antiques. “We just missed our group that used to hang out there and wanted to get the group back together,” said Colin and Paula. That concept then took on a life of its own, and the resulting venue ultimately grew – and grew – and grew.
The Asylum is a destination for people who all may be seeking various experiences on any given day or night that may include a consistently tasty restaurant, a cool lounge, and an active sports bar.
“Paula named our bar The Asylum because she thought it was a crazy idea to open a sports bar and grille,” Colin said with a grin.
As crazy as it may have seemed, The Asylum’s cuisine has been described as many things since opening but crazy isn’t one of them. In fact, customer after customer has commented that The Asylum has been serving up excellent food in its first couple weeks in business.
“We knew we didn’t want to be fine dining,” Paula stated. “With Colin being from Newfoundland, he wanted to have a great fish n chips, along with amazing chicken wings, since we’re a sports bar and grille.”
Sooo proud of my friends Colin Rose and Paula Marie Thomas for all they have accomplished..had a little taste of what their new place has to offer and it was delish! Kuddos to ALL the people who have made the Asylum come together! – Laura Lee, via facebook
Colin’s favorite menu item is The Asylum Burger. “Paula loves pimento cheese, so we threw it on a burger with BBQ sauce and bacon. It’s pretty great,” said Colin.
So, when I visited The Asylum to sample their menu, I didn’t hesitate and ordered their signature dish, The Asylum Burger. With a half pound of juicy beef, perfectly sautéed onions, savory bacon, and a tangy BBQ sauce that packs some heat from chipotle, this burger is clearly a well constructed meal in itself that when combined with vine ripe tomatoes and crisp lettuce, all nestled between a toasted spilt top bun, is quite a culinary treat. But what makes this burger truly outstanding is the addition of one of my favorite Southern indulgences: Pimento Cheese. Taking just one bite of that burger brought back memories of my grandmother’s pimento cheese recipe. It was the taste of home.
In addition to the burger, my dining partners thoroughly enjoyed the fried chicken and the Mac n Cheese – all prepared by The Asylum’s Chef, Ethan Thomas, who just happens to be Paula’s brother.
Paula clearly loves her brother who she describes as a steady-as-he-goes kind of guy who is an incredibly hard worker. “Pastry is his specialty but the fried chicken recipe is a family recipe that he has fine tuned,” Paula said with pride, adding, “His desserts are all home made.”
“And, really delicious too,” my son Alden quickly and enthusiastically added, as he was devouring one of Ethan’s Hot Fudge Cakes.
I left this new addition to the Lewisburg culinary scene tonight with a smile on my face for so many reasons. Starting as an idea to gather friends for occasions of good conversation, food, and drink, The Asylum is clearly on a path to achieve all these goals and will most assuredly surpass any foreseen heights that Colin and Paula initially imagined. Maybe the concept of The Asylum was once labelled as “crazy”, but I think this great new sports bar and grille will be “crazy successful”.
Visit Colin, Paula and Ethan at The Asylum at 114 East Randolph Street in Lewisburg, West Virginia!
– Coy A. Flowers. LBSPY #60. December 2014.