Hwy 55 brings its retro diner to Barboursville

According to the classic Chuck Berry song, you can get your kicks out Route 66. For burgers and fries though, you may want to go to Hwy 55.

The retro-diner chain was established in 1991 as “Andy’s Cheesesteaks and Burgers” before changing its name in 2012. The name is a reference to North Carolina’s Highway 55, near which its company headquarters is located. The Huntington location on 3rd Avenue near the Big Sandy Superstore Arena first opened in 2016. The new one at Tanyard Station held a soft opening on Monday, Jan. 21. Both locations are owned and operated by the Downard family.

“We used to visit the restaurants in North Carolina when I was pregnant with my daughter – that was 17 years ago. A few years ago when it was time to look at opening a new business, that same daughter, Faith Worrell, suggested we open one because she is obsessed with our orangeade,” Erin Downard explained.

Erin Downard owns and runs the restaurants with her parents Lynda and Don Downard.

“I’ve lived here in Barboursville for many years, so I knew about Tanyard Station from the beginning. I felt the Barboursville community fit our business very well,” she said.

The menu at Hwy 55 features a variety of burgers, sandwiches and salads. The signature “All-American” cheeseburger is served with your choice of American, provolone, or pepper jack cheese and is available in a “lil’ size” ($6.99) or “Andy’s size” ($8.49). You can also choose between the All-American Cheesesteak of Chicken Cheesesteak ($10.99) with your choice of cheese, onions, bell peppers and sauteed mushrooms.

“There’s something for everyone on our menu. We have some vegetarian options and gluten-free options, so that helps bring people from all walks of life. Our burgers are fresh never frozen patties that have a special seasoning inside of them. It makes them a little different and a little extra tasty,” Downard said. “My favorite thing on the menu is a chicken cheesesteak called ‘The Moose,’ which has bacon and ranch. I have a theory that nothing can go wrong with bacon and ranch. Our frozen custard is homemade. We make it ourselves and I think it’s awesome. I think it makes a better milkshake.”

For seafood lovers, there’s a Shrimp Po’Boy ($10.99). The menu also has hot dogs, a hamburger steak platter and salads. For dessert, there is a house-made frozen custard, which comes in a different flavor each day.

The new restaurant plans to offer the Braille menu Downard had made for a regular Huntington customer, as well, to meet the needs of visually impaired customers.

“It took about eight weeks of construction on our side to get ready. We did all of the decorating. Every Hwy 55 is a little different. The owners get to pick how we do stuff. We have different sections along the wall. We have a section with classic comic book covers, a little section of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia and a classic movie poster section,” Downard explained. “My father Don enjoy shopping antiques online and he took a lot of pride in decorating. Upfront, we have what we call ‘the home front.’ We went to the Barboursville library and found some vintage photos of Barboursville from the ’50s and ’60s.”

Hwy 55 is located at 21 Tanyard Station Drive in Barboursville. It is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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