In light of the popularity of the Best Eats in the ACC guide, it seemed like a good idea to log some of the meals a beat writer encounters on the road through various travels.
Tonight's stop: Archie's BBQ in McHenry, Md. (301-387-7400, 25259 Garrett Highway)
Clearly, despite some proximity to the West Virginia line, there is no doubt where the proprietor's allegiance lies.
And guess what? My allegiance to a good restaurant on a trip to West Virginia lies with this place.
Unlike a lot of barbecue restaurants, which are defined in part by an acceptable level of grunginess, Archie's is virtually spotless.
Food is served quick, with the line efficiently clearing out within minutes of arrival. With so many good-looking options --- smoked chicken, pulled pork, baby back ribs among them --- it wasn't an easy call.
Ultimately, the final verdict was a beef brisket sandwich, two ribs and a small drink. Cost: $13.46. Appearance: Appealing. Taste: Superb.
The clutch move of the meal was to ignore the hot sauce on the table and drizzle an exceptional house barbecue sauce over everything (well, not the drink). Let's just say there was serious thought by meal's end of buying a pound of the barbecue sauce (which was sweet but also with a bit of a kick); it only cost six bucks, and probably is worth every penny.
In any case, it was a good call. As if to back up that conclusion, Maryland equipment manager Ron Ohringer rolled in with a group of team managers. Ronnie O, a longtime College Park institution, has a great deal of veteran savvy from having gone on so many road trips. If he picks out a place, it's probably a fine choice.
In any case, the only minus here is Archie's is probably 10 minutes or so from the interstate, which doesn't make it conducive for a quick dive off the exit ramp. But if you're on the way to or fro Morgantown and have a little time to work with, this is a sure-to-please dining destination.