Thursday, March 30, 2006

Huntington Area Hot Dog Joints - Frostop

It's well known that there is a bit of animosity between Charleston and Huntington. In my experience Huntington folks are pretty sensitive about criticism from their neighbors to the east. I won't editorialize on why I think this is so. I usually try to stay out of such disputes and prefer not to add to any bad feelings that might already exist. But I can't be silent when it comes to an important issue like West Virginia Hot Dogs.

I have been told that Frostop on Hal Greer Boulevard is one of Huntington's premier hot dog joints, so as I was leaving town today from a meeting I thought I should stop by for a dog and a root beer. Let me count the ways I am disappointed:

1. The name "Frostop" along with the giant rotating root beer mug on the roof that is obviously topped off with a good head of frozen root beer implies that the root beer will be served with at least some frosty topping. I got root beer in a glass of ice cubes. It tasted pretty good, but I really was looking forward to an icy-cold root beer to ward off the sweltering 75 degree heat of the afternoon.

2. The first item on the menu is a "Hot Dog." The second item is a "Slaw Dog." What? You have to ask for a whole different species of hot dog to get a real WVHD? Now I know that Huntington is right on the tippy left edge of the West Virginia map, but for goodness sakes, this is still West Virginia! Slaw is a necessary ingredient for ALL hot dogs unless otherwise specified.

3. The hot dog , er, I mean slaw dog, is served with "sauce" instead of "chili". Same stuff, different name. I've noticed this about Huntington: All of their HDJs call it "sauce." This I can live with. Frostop's "sauce" was pretty good. A little bland and salty, but the right consistency.

4. The dog was wrapped in a paper napkin. This completely eliminates the sweating effect you get when the dog is wrapped in a more impervious material (like wax paper) that makes the bun gooey and good. The bun seemed to be toasted or at least kept in a warming tray where it got a little bit crusty.

5. The slaw was served way too sparingly, especially in light of the name of the dog.

Now to be fair, there are a few positives.

a. The atmoshpere and character of Frostop is second to none. Probably better than any existing Charleston HDJ. A curb service drive-in is always a great place to buy a hot dog, and Frostop even has a nice dining canopy that is very retro and very cool.

b. The weenie was excellent. I have heard that most Huntington HDJs use Cavalier weenies, which are locally made and therefore fresh.

c. Likewise on the bun. After I got past the crustiness, the flavor was very good. Also due, I've heard, to the local bakery - Heiner's I think.

I may not get back to Huntington for a few months, but when I do I will definitely leave some time in the schedule to search out a less disappointing HDJ.


Wabi-Sabi said...

So aside from the slaw it was good. No wonder I like Frostop so much. :)

I think you'll find that you have to order slaw as an extra at most of the Huntington Hot Dog Joints.

Charleston may have the Capitol Dome, but Huntington is Hot Dog capitol of West Virginia.

You should come to the WV Hot Dog Festival this summer. You can sample all of our classics, plus enjoy Wiener Dog races and Hot Dog eating contests. (Sorry but you have to bring your own slaw to the contest.)

Stanton said...

Well, I said it was pretty good, which is less than good, isn't it?

I definitely want to attend the WV Hot Dog Festival, but I haven't seen any date yet. The website only lists last year's event.

And if you want proof that Huntington is not the Hot Dog capital of WV, just look at your comment about "bring your own slaw" then walk over to Hillbilly Hot Dogs and see what they put on their "WV Hot Dog". It will be immediately evident that, at best, what Huntington is the capital of is a weird mutant hot dog from the melting pot that is the Tri-State region.

Jackie Lantern said...

I'm not a big fan of the napkin-wrapped hot dog and Stewarts in Huntington does this also. At least Frostop doesn't pile their toppings on upside down like Stewarts...or do they?!?!

Zank said...

In the late 60's they used to serve the root beer in cold glass mugs and the root beer had a fosty top. Come to think of it so did Stewarts.