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The writing’s on the wall. Literally.

By Staff | Oct 28, 2008

The writing’s on the wall at C.J. Maggie’s American Grill. Literally.

The reviews are plain to see for anyone looking for them, even if they’re written in crayon on sheets of white paper, plastered to the interior walls. The tables offer the same, with renderings of stick figures and pledges of eternal love, much like high school desks or bathroom stalls, etched onto the wood surface.

Other than the contributions of customers, C.J. Maggie’s is otherwise sparsely decorated, with hardwood floors, visible rafters and an old fashioned pub at one end of the restaurant. The booths are high-backed, which can serve to keep your meal private, and the seating, though cracked with age and wear, is comfortable and apropos, given the surroundings.

However, if the establishment takes a cursory view of interior design, their attitude toward food is the exact opposite, with every meal prepared fresh, the burgers overflowing with toppings, appetizers big enough for a family of five, even if you’re Harry and the Hendersons. The wait staff is predominantly young and friendly, offering quick service and a kind smile to accompany the meal.

Then again, the service may not actually be that fast; I might just be caught up with coloring. This makes for a very relaxed environment. So what if you’re burger’s taking an extra few minutes, you have to finish drawing cartoon characters taking part in obscene acts anyway.

Upon being seated, you’re given a placemat of white paper. There’s a container of crayons next to the salt and pepper, making your lunch or dinner seem like tea with the Mad Hatter. I was surprised to discover how conducive and even contributive coloring is to a sociable environment.

Maybe you don’t have a black crayon for the rendering of Paul McCartney’s heart, so you ask your neighbor. The next thing you know, you’re having a discussion about your mutual resent for Paul, Wings and people who capriciously marry amputees half their age, only to leave them soon after with barely a leg to stand on.

Before you’ve finished the horns on McCartney, your food is brought out and you find yourself in awe of the mere mechanics of maneuvering the generous portions into your mouth. I ordered the Buffalo chicken sandwich and couldn’t help but be haunted by memories of moving couches through narrow doorways.

And the all-important issue of cost is negligible. For a sit down restaurant, with large portions and gregarious service, the prices are a steal, the average meal ringing in from $8 to $10. If your friends happen to be starving artists, you can satisfy both of their needs without breaking the bank at C.J. Maggie’s.

Contact Cory at cjackson@graffitiwv.com