Ramping It Up

Institute, WV – Ramps have been a cherished harvest in Richwood for decades, if not centuries, and over time the secret has leaked out to markets across the country. Bruce Donaldson, the owner of Donaldson’s Greenhouse and Landscaping, took it a step further by teaming up with Ridge View BBQ in Institute, West Virginia to supply the pungent greens for their locally famous ramp burger.

Ridge View is tucked in the middle of the town of Institute, right across the road from West Virginia State University. The brick exterior pays little homage to the tiki-esque interior, but the line out the door for a bite of the delicious, fresh-roasted pork or burgers is all the marketing needed to turn heads. On a regular day, you could devour a plateful of roasted meats, pork rinds, and homemade potato chips, but in the spring, you get the option to “ramp up anything”.

The most popular dish during the ramp season, though, is the restaurant’s take on the almighty ramp burger. Unlike many spins on a burger involving ramson, Ridge View doesn’t infuse the beef or use the delicacy as a topping. Instead, the restaurant makes a secret recipe that involves pimento spread with ramps, bacon, and just a hint of spice. The ramp flavor is so faint it takes a keen, experienced ramp eater to spot it, and that may be the secret to how the restaurant has been breaking their own records for the amount of ramp burgers sold in one single week.

The ramps don’t stop there. For just 3 dollars, you can ramp up anything the restaurant makes. The pimento spread has been used as a chip dip, fry topping, and of course on top of their delicious burgers.

If digging into one of their burgers isn’t enough, you get the option to purchase a t-shirt declaring to the world, “I ramped it up at Ridge View BBQ.” On the back of the shirt, right near the bottom, is the shoutout Donaldson’s more than earned, “Ramps supplied by Donaldson’s Greenhouse and Landscaping, Richwood, West Virginia.”

There’s more than popularity involved when it comes to this gem of a burger, though. For the last three years, Ridge View and Donaldson have teamed up to choose a charity to receive 1 dollar of each burger sold.

Donaldson’s donates the ramps for Ridge View, and then Bruce chooses where to send the donations. In the past, the donations have went to hospice and Richwood, and this year the chosen charity is yet to be determined.

If you get the chance to wander toward Charleston, stop in and grab a burger before the 500 pounds of ramps they expect to go through are gone until next April. Wear your orange and black, tell them proudly where your roots are, and show them Richwood is still the small town with big hearted citizens making an even bigger impact.

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Britiany Blankenship

Britiany K. Blankenship works as a manager in Charleston, West Virginia where she has resided since April 2018. She is the founder of Becoming Britiany, and is a former writer for the Nicholas Chronicle.
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