Monday, October 02, 2006

Charleston Area Hot Dog Joints - Fat Bob's Roadhouse Diner

One of the neatest lunchspots in the Charleston area is hidden in plain sight on McCorkle Avenue in South Charleston. It's called "Fat Bob's Roadhouse Diner" and it's tucked away inside The Harley Davidson shop in Spring Hill. It is a delightful restaurant with a delightful staff with delightful food in a place that many people might fear to tread because of the undeserved reputation of those who ride big, loud motorcycles. The crowd is not what you might expect, though, as a visit to Fat Bob's at lunchtime will reveal: You will see many more business suits than leather jackets (although you can buy yourself a leather jacket while you're there).

Even without the stereotypical bike crowd, though, you still can't forget you are in a motorcycle shop because the decor is all about Harley Davidson and the menu has all the sandwiches have motorcycle names (The Hugger, The V-Twin, The Easy Glide,The H.O.G., etc.) The restaurant has floor to ceiling glass windows that overlook the service department so you can watch over your Hog as you munch your lunch. It is a very cool place, even for non-bikers.

"So," you might ask, "who is Fat Bob?" Well, I'm glad you asked: It's not a who, but a what. A "Fat Bob" is a type of gas tank found on some Harleys. There several versions hanging from the walls of the diner. I have found out over the years that when you tell someone the name of the restaurant you are either met with a knowing grin or a quizzical stare: The former comes from bikers.

I have been eating at Fat Bob's for years but I never had a hot dog. I wasn't aware they had a hot dog on the menu until a reader emailed me with a review suggestion. I had to scour the menu until I found it - a Badboy is what they call it. The only thing that gives it away is the chili and slaw listed as toppings. I was psyched when I found it because all of the food at Fat Bob's is great and I felt certain they would do a hot dog right.

I was a bit surprised when the hot dog was served on a grilled English bun. English Buns seem a little pretentious to me and if there's one word that one would not use to describe Fat Bob's it would be "pretentious." The bun was good, though, and it does add some volume and heartiness to the dog which fits with the Fat Bob's food program pretty well. The chili is also very hearty - meaty and thick textured - but had only a slight chili taste. I expected it to be spicier.

The slaw has a good texture and the slight green pepper essence reminded me of Porker's. An adequate measure was served on my hot dog - er, I mean my Bad Boy. A little sweeter would be better, but it fit the chili pretty well.

I think I can sum it up by saying that the Bad Boy is a pretty good dog.

If you've never tried Fat Bob's then I highly recommend it, even if you're not after a hot dog. Actually my favorite sandwich there is the Fishtail, which in the real world is tuna salad - really good tuna salad. They have lots of good stuff and I've never had anything that wasn't good. The service has always been a tad slow, but it is always very friendly. Try it, you'll like it.

1 comment:

Chris James said...

This is a new phenomenon to me. Both of the Harley Dealerships in Advantage Valley have places to eat, as does a car dealership in Ashland.

I shall refrain from knocking it before I try it, but this seems a bit odd to me. I wonder if the people at the counter give you the hard sell to get side dishes: "Now my manager would kill me if he knew I was going to do this, but since sisnce you look like a nice family, I'll let you have the potato salad AND the baked beans for only $1.99."