T&L Hot Dogs is becoming a good sized chain in northern and central West Virginia and despite being located in the slaw-challenged north, they recognize their West Virginia roots on their menu by offering a "West Virginia Hot Dog" that comes standard with slaw. There were a few locations in the Charleston years ago and I remember them more for their onion rings than their hot dogs. While I was up north I decided to visit the original location in Bridgeport to to sample their current offerings. The motif is that of a 50's diner and it is bright, clean and comfortable. Pictures of Elvis, Marilyn and other cultural icons adorn the walls and a juke box in the corner has a collection of appropriately aged musical selections. There's not much inside seating but the drive-thru was hopping the whole time I was there.
I ordered a W.Va. Hot Dog and was given a choice between mild, medium or hot chili (OK, they call it sauce) and I chose medium. After one bite I was glad I didn't try "hot" because I was soon sweating from my eyesockets I could feel my sinuses clearing with every bite. Wow! This stuff makes its presence felt. Not just spicy, it has a great flavor and the texture is perfect as well. The burn was my traveling partner half way back to Charleston.
The slaw is OK, but not sweet enough to offset the chili's burn. I don't think that northern people understand that there is a direct relationship between the spicy and sweet, that they compliment each other in a very synergistic way. No wonder they think they don't like slaw on hot dogs, they don't seem to have the proper slaw for the job.
The bun and weenie are average. Overall a decent WVHD, mainly on the strength of the chili. They also have fries, lots of fries. A "Tub O Fries" to be exact (think of a medium size movie theater size popcorn container), and you can get those with chili and cheese on top (you might want to check with your cardiologist first).
T&L seems to have more locations than their website indicates (it must be out of date) and is, quite deservedly, one of the more widespread HDJ's in northern and central W.Va. If they only had better slaw then who knows? They might create a wave of acceptance in the slawless reaches of Marion, Mon, and perhaps even the panhandle. They could evangelize Northern West Virginia with the Gospel of Slaw!
Somebody say AMEN!