Mountain dining at a ski resort can be notoriously expensive or mediocre. But at Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort you’ll find plenty to tempt you without doubling your vacation budget.

The last leg of our drive to Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort in West Virginia on a January Friday evening was somewhat harrowing. Darkness had fallen and fog blanketed the road to the mountaintop resort, making it difficult to see more than a foot in front of the car. By the time we arrived and checked in, my 8- and 11-year-old sons Teddy and Tommy were ravenous and my husband and I were more than ready for a cool beverage. Happily, our friend Jack, the concierge at the Allegheny Springs lodge where we were staying in Snowshoe’s main Village area pointed us to The Sunset Cantina. “It’s right in the building,” he said. “You won’t even have to go outside.”

As it turns out, convenience is far from this restaurant’s only virtue. The drinks menu alone instantly turned my mood from frazzled to festive. Sipping a Badlands Margarita made with fresh jalapenos and cilantro revived me while I reviewed the menu, which was full of creative dishes that offered Southwestern food with a twist, like duck confit tacos and seared tuna nachos.

Tommy ordered these as his entrée and my sushi-loving boy was delighted to get a plate of pink tuna piled on top of guacamole and multi-colored corn chips. I couldn’t resist the corn-crusted mahi mahi, which arrived in a pool of creamy clam sauce filled with chunks of smoky bacon. And at the urging of our friendly and knowledgeable waiter, Matt ordered West Virginia venison, tender and perfectly cooked under a blanket of Dijon mustard sauce.

I wasn’t really planning to eat dessert, but when Tommy’s chocolate soufflé with a side of mango gelato arrived, I found that perhaps I did have room for a few rich bites.

You might think that after a meal like that we wouldn’t need to eat again the next day, but we had to fortify ourselves for some time on the mountain (especially important since it was raw and rainy out) and so we enjoyed breakfast at The Junction. This train-themed restaurant has walls that are covered with photos telling the story of the area’s logging past. Be sure to order the old fashion drop donuts, golf-ball sized yeasty nuggets of goodness that have been dredged in cinnamon sugar.

And although breakfast at The Junction is good, we discovered when we came back for a card game and a few beers that afternoon that the munchies that really stand out on this menu. Swing by after a day on the hill for treats like fried green tomatoes, pretzel sticks with provolone dipping sauce, and “wood chips” – waffle fries piled with cheese, bacon, and sour cream.

Saturday was our last night at Snowshoe, and the inside of the Foxfire Grille was packed. But the atmosphere was cheerful even if the New Orleans Saints were losing their playoff bid. We sipped drinks and watched the game at the crowded bar until our table was called.

I’m glad we had some time to work up our appetites. We may not have had the Seahawks to contend with, but with a large menu of Southern specialties ranging from Coca Cola-glazed chicken to chicken-fried Black Angus steak to a catfish and shrimp platter, I wanted us to tackle as many different dishes as our strength would allow.

We warmed up with The Big Dipper, a creamy, cheesy artichoke dip that was more than enough for the four of us.

Now it was game time. Teddy is a meat-loving boy and he devoured a huge plate of baby back ribs with delicious sides of coleslaw, beans, and sweet cornbread. Tommy decided that after a day spent skiing in the rain he was in the mood for something from the “Comfort Foods” portion of the menu and so ordered creamy chicken and biscuits. In honor of the now-fallen Saints, I chose a dinner of cheddar grits topped with shrimp that was sautéed in Cajun seasoning.

But Matt may have won the prize for the best entrée, choosing the Way Uptown Mac ‘n Cheese, which according to the menu was featured in Southern Living. When the dish arrived we could see why since it was stuffed with crab, shrimp, and roasted tomatoes. 

We all did an admirable job of clearing our plates, especially given the size of the portions. (A tip: If you are staying for a few days, you’ll definitely get enough here to bring back to your condo and heat up as a leftovers for lunch or even another dinner.) But with the two-minute warning sounding the waitress handed us dessert menus “just so you can look” and my eyes lit upon glazed donut bread pudding. We were fortunate to get the last order of this divine treat – and let me tell you, it was definitely a Hail Mary if ever there was one.

All three restaurants are located in Snowshoe Mountain’s main Village area and all of them are reasonably priced and family friendly. If you’re looking to satisfy your desire for great food with a side of skiing, this southeastern resort should fit the bill nicely.

Sponsored by Snowshoe.