RIPLEY - While spending a lot of time at the Jackson County Courthouse for his work as an oil and gas company land man, David Adkins would eat lunch across the street at The Downtowner.

Now, Adkins and his wife Melissa are the proud owners of the popular spot known for its excellent food.
"I became a fan of this restaurant in about 2008," said Adkins. "About a year ago I asked Bill (former owner Bill Ohse) how long he was going to have this restaurant and he said about another year. This February, he said, 'You better sharpen your pencil.' Kind of dropping a hint. It started rolling and here we are."

A restaurant just so happens to be the place where he met his wife.

"March 17, 2003 was my first day as an employee (at a car dealership) in Jackson County, West Virginia," said Adkins, who is a 1989 graduate of Valley High School. "I said hello to her at a drive-thru. Then I saw her a couple of other places. I just asked her out."

Melissa, who graduated from Ripley High School in 1996, and David were married on August 13, 2005.
Many reasons led to venturing into the restaurant business, one was to showcase Melissa's talents.

"My wife was a cake decorator for a local retailer. She does all kinds of desserts and baking. We thought this would be an opportunity for her to get some of this out to the public and let them try it," Adkins said.
Like any new owner, Adkins wants to tweak the restaurant just a bit.

"We plan to change the color and theme it up a little bit," he said. "Everybody in Jackson County always wants to help and that's neat."

He is looking for any old historical 8x10 pictures of Jackson County. "I'd be honored to hang it on the wall," he said.
For the most part, though, the Adkins' will set out to keep things pretty much the way they have always been. "I like our staff," he said. "Our staff is what makes this place run. I might add a new sandwich down the road but I don't want to take away from what got us where we are. The machine is already running and if it's not broke then don't fix it.
"We are going to keep the same traditional family values that this store has carried for a great number of years."
And that is great news to those who love The Downtowner.