A franchised location of a national chain, The Hottest Dog in Hurricane has a very large variety of very big hot dogs. These monstrous 1/4 pound weenies and 1/2 pound sausages sit inside an equally monstrous bun. They are topped with various regionally inspired fixin's with names like "The Chicago Dog", "Ball Park Special", "Coney Island Original", etc. The restaurant seems to take its name from the menu offering called "The Hottest Dog" which features a hot sausage topped with jalapenos, onions and hot sauce. The restaurant is located in a strip mall on Teays Valley Road across from the Hurricane City reservoir.
With all its variety I was pleased to see that they offerred a "West Virginia Dawg" that includes "Coney sauce and coleslaw." This is apparently something added only by the local franchise as it is not listed on the menu page of the corporate website. The price of the West Virginia Dog is $3.95, which is very pricey, but to be fair, this dog (er I mean dawg) does include a 1/4 pound weenie and your choice of sides. Well, I wasn't about to pay $3.95 for a dawg that was more than I could eat in one sitting and was just about to turn a leave when I saw a sign for a "WV Dawg Junior" for $2.75. Still more than I expected but tolerable, especially since this was not just lunch but also research.
The first thing I notice about the Junior Dawg is that it is a normal size weenie served on one of the monstrous buns that had been cut in half. It was piled high with chili and slaw and looked very nice. The bun seemed a little stiff - not quite stale but certainly not steamed. The chili tastes very much like Coney Island style sauce, just as advertised. It's not very spicey, but it has a nice texture and flavor. Not great WVHD chili, but OK. The slaw is a different matter.
To call this substance slaw is not fair. It seems to have very little in common with slaw other than the appearance. It tastes like bland mayonaisse potato salad; a little more finely chopped. It seems to have celery, carrots and some small tastless chunks of what is presumably cabbage. It is bound together with either very tasteless mayo or yogurt. It topped off a very unsatisfactory excuse for a West Virginia Hot Dog.
The Hottest Dog is a very nice place and the variety of hot dogs you will find there is without equal in this area. It is the only place where one can go to get a presumably authentic Chicago or other style hot dog in the Charleston/Huntington area. But if you are a fan of an authentic WVHD you might be disappointed.
Update 1/15/2007: The Hottest Dog management contacted WVHotDogs.com to tell us that their slaw is under review. It seems they earnestly want to offer a more authentic WVHD. If anyone tries this new slaw and would like to comment on it, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org