Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 9, 2014

Tim Preston: Auger burger, gone Goldy, microbrews and canoes: 3/9/14

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — I’ve always said people shouldn’t judge a restaurant by a single visit, and I was reminded of that during a lunch trip to Ironton last week when a buddy said he knew where to find “the best burger in town.”

It has been a while, but I remember writing I’d heard a great recommendation for the burgers at the Auger Inn, but I wasn’t too impressed with the meal. I admit I’d forgotten about it until we were standing there talking to the lady in charge and I recalled something about asking for a Wanda Burger. We placed our order and moments later we had a couple of hot cheeseburgers with fries on the side. And, it only took a couple of bites to determine I had judged too quickly, or simply caught the place on a bad day, the first time around.

The burger was nicely loaded (I skipped the pickle) and juicy, but it was the fries that really made the meal. Perfectly fried to crispy-exterior perfection, the Auger Inn features skinny, crinkle-cut french fries that suited me perfectly.

The restaurant at 2324 S. Third St. isn’t fancy, but it is a good place to find a really good burger, crispy fries and (if you have time) a cold brew. The service was quick and friendly, and we were back in Ashland less than an hour after we left. I couldn’t find anything listing the Auger Inn’s hours, but I’m pretty sure the phone number is (740) 533-9756.

Go Goldy

So, there I was (minding my own business) eating my Auger Inn burger when one of the greatest lucky sprees of all time came to a sudden end.

Only days before I had been talking to someone about local advertising and I proudly stated I had somehow avoided ever hearing the “Go Goldy Auto” song so many say makes them instantly insane.

“Oh, you’ll hear it someday and it will make you want to kill somebody,” a friend said, making me think, “How bad can it really be?”

So, sitting there finishing up my fries, I was caught way off guard when an “interesting and unusual” voice cut through from the TV and demanded my attention with the simple phrase, “Go Goldy Auto, go Goldy.”

I immediately concluded it was either the work of a madman or a genius.

If you check out the Goldy Auto page on Facebook, you’ll quickly find lots of open animosity for the jingle. People who don’t care for the vocal tag have even made it famous outside of car-buying circles, citing the way the ditty will get caught in their heads for minutes, hours or days at a time.

I called the dealership at 187 Kinetic Drive in Huntington and left a message for owner Joel Goldy, hoping to talk to him about customer reaction to the ad. I hadn’t heard back from him by the time I had to file this column, although I promise to share the conversation if he gets back in touch.

I did ask the guy who answered the phone if the business has had much reaction to the tune, and I could almost see his head shaking back and forth as he replied, “Oh, you have no idea.”

Goldy Auto is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (304) 781-0555.

Microbrewery moves ahead

Without question, I’ve had more questions about the new microbrewery project in downtown Ashland, 1937 Brewing Company, than anything else during my history here.

I can say the demolition/renovation process continues inside and out of the building at 1241 Greenup Ave., and I will schedule an interview with the folks in charge as soon as possible for an update on the project.

In the meantime, I do have a correction to make. In the last story about the microbrewery, brewery manager Matthew Bradley mentioned the Ashland brewery would be the first of its kind east of Lexington. Before the ink had a chance to dry we discovered that distinction actually belongs to 23 Brewing Company near Prestonsburg in Floyd County. Mike Slone, head brewer at 23 Brewing Company, says they’ve been working on their brewery since 2012, and are “at the bottom of Stone Crest hill directly behind Lizzie B’s Cafe Bakery on Route 321.”

I have no idea what type of beer styles they make, but I’ve heard many great things about Lizzie B’s and plan to stop in to investigate both the next time I’m anywhere near the Floyd/Johnson County line.

Back in Ashland, it has also become apparent 1937 Brewing’s selection of Russell native Jason Rister as head chef has caused considerable ripples in the culinary world. Chef Rister has obviously earned a strong reputation during his career to date, and many are openly speculating his selection of seafood and Creole dishes will make the local microbrewery, and Ashland, “the place to be” for foodies.

Paddles, anyone?

I’m firmly right there with everyone else in the “ready for spring” category, and I’m already plotting and scheming toward a first-warm Saturday paddle/float trip along a local waterway.

My latest “scheme” in that regard is to loosely organize a small gang of local canoe and kayak owners and enthusiasts for a couple of journeys through the region. At the top of the list, largely for personal reasons, is a trip along the Big Sandy River (Levisa Fork) from Prestonsburg to Paintsville. I want to start there because Prestonsburg has an excellent and easy-to-find boat launch behind Billy Ray’s Restaurant, at 101 N. Front St., and there is also an easy-out ramp near the old water plant in Paintsville. The water route has been studied for development as a tourism trail, is a relatively easy journey for even inexperienced paddlers and offers a couple of minor “rapid” shoals sections to keep things interesting.

As the days get warmer, I would enjoy getting another gang together for a trip along Tygart’s Creek, as well as along the Little Sandy River from the Grayson Lake spillway. For a decidedly more sedate trip, it would also be fun to get a group together from the opposite side for a leisurely tip through the Laurel Gorge, a breathtakingly beautiful route with nothing but “flat water” slowly rolling downstream from Sandy Hook. For the Laurel Gorge trip, there’s a business owner with a fleet of canoes and kayaks, as well as a couple of stand-up paddleboards, for rent if you don’t have your own boat or just don’t want to haul your own up and down the steep launch near the cultural center.

I’ve heard of several other good local streams and rivers (several across the state line in West Virginia) worth exploring, and definitely want to hear about any other hidden-treasure water trails. I don’t want to form a new club or sign anyone up for any type of formal association, but I am interested in hearing from anyone who likes the idea of sharing some time on the water.

We also have a couple of good sporting-goods stores in the area offering everything from boats to dry bags and compact camping equipment. If you’ve found any real “best thing” products for paddling purposes, I would also be interested in hearing from you.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at (606) 326-2651.