Piccolo Paula’s Caffe offers down-home, scratch-made food, with delectable steaks you can eat in or cook at home.

Jon Bush wanted to open a place where he could offer healthy, locally sourced, and non–genetically modified options at prices that wouldn’t wreck customers’ pocketbooks. So in 2012, he and wife Paula opened Piccolo Paula’s Caffe in the beautiful Canaan Valley.

They moved the restaurant to its current location in downtown Parsons in 2014, creating a cozy atmosphere with rustic barnwood accents and a friendly waitstaff. But the real attraction is the food. With more than 20 years of professional culinary experience behind him, Bush has created a menu featuring pizzas, paninis, soups, salads, and coffee drinks. But most popular of all is the tender, juicy, and incredibly flavorful Oak Barrel Steak.

Bush spent four years tweaking his recipe, devising a healthy marinade process that preserves the beef’s flavor. Although the specific details for his oak barreling process are secret—he hopes to eventually patent the process—he does disclose that the steaks are marinated in oak whiskey barrels for two days before being charcoal grilled to perfection.

The steaks are not just for dining in. Piccolo Paula’s also sells them for at-home preparation in two varieties: Raw & Ready for Grillin’ or Charcoal Grilled & Sliced. The raw steaks are available in two-to-three-pound marinated whole loins and packaged in vacuum-sealed bags. Pre-cooked steaks are charcoal-grilled to medium rare, sliced, and packaged in vacuum-sealed bags. All take-home steaks include easy instructions for preparation, so even the most culinarily inept of us can have a perfectly cooked steak at home.

None of Bush’s steak dreams would have come true without support from his community. In September 2017, he won $5,000 in the inaugural Tucker County Chamber of Commerce Pitch Contest, an economic development competition where local entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of judges. He also received $1,000 from Woodforest National Bank and $1,000 from the City of Parsons and used the money to launch the Oak Barrel Steak enterprise.

Piccolo Paula’s is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. The restaurant may be rented outside normal business hours for parties and other events.

104 Walnut Street, 304.478.4020, piccolopaulascaffe.com

written by Kalen Martin-Gross

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