Monday, April 23, 2007

Huntington Area Hot Dog Joint: Austin's Home-made Ice-cream

One of the fixtures of Appalachian cuisine is the family-owned dairy bar. Many of these locations make their own ice cream, have a walk-up window instead of interior seating, and are open only during the spring, summer, and early fall. Fortunately for weenie wonks, many of these locations serve hot dogs that feature signature sauce/chili and cole slaw.

Ceredo's Austin's Home-made Ice-cream is no exception. In addition to about eleventy-billion flavors of small-batch ice cream, they serve up hot dogs that my friend's from Westmoreland and C-K insist are some of the Trisate's best. The flurry of suggestions from my friends, as well as some light nagging from another blogger made a review for Austin's a no-brainer as soon as the warm weather returned.

I had a good omen as soon as I got to the window, as the cashier was perhaps the single most attractive weenie-ista that I have encountered since I started reviewing for WVhotdogs.com. An even better sign was that "everything" meant sauce, slaw, onions, and mustard.

As for the dog itself, the best description that I can think of is "an interesting experiment in Huntington-style dawgs." The sandwich was wrapped in expensive parchment paper, which indicated a commitment to quality. The bun and sausage were fresh if unsteamed (the former) and boiled (the latter), but still pretty good.

The sauce was a clever marriage of Stewart's bean-based sauce and the ground beef that most of the other joint's in the state. You could feel with your tongue both the texture of the bean paste and the specks of fresh beef mixed together. The seasoning was lighter than I like (although the great-tasting onions made up for the lack of chili powder) and I've never been a fan of any sort of bean product in my hot dog sauce, but I can see where the sauce is an academic exercise of sorts in seeking to make a compromise of popular chili sauce styles without anyone being able to accuse Austin's of copy-cattery. To sum up the sauce, it was not not my cup of tea, but could still be described as "quality," "well-made," and "thoughtful."

The slaw could be summed up with one word: perfect. It was very (but not too) creamy, perfectly chopped, well-sweetened with a hint of tart, and absolutely designed for hot dogs. This was the single best hot dog slaw that I have ever tasted. I smell a 2007 Weenie Award.

If it hadn't been for the slaw, this place may have been looking at a palatable-but-ho-hum 3 weenie rating. However, in the hypothetical situation that Aurthur I. Boreman, John Denver, and Randy Moss all stopped by and demanded that I show them the finest hot dog slaw in the world, I could only take them to Austin's. Therefore, on the strength of God's own cole slaw (remember, "it's all about the slaw"), I gotta give 'em a solid 4 weenie rating.

9 comments:

The Film Geek said...

Glad you made it to Austins. And you are also right about another thing: the place ONLY hires the most attractive wait-persons in the area. It's always been the case. Oh, and the ice cream is pretty good too.

Chris James said...

I'm tempted to smuggle some of their slaw to Hillbilly Hot Dogs, the home of great hot dogs with terrible slaw.

Jackie Lantern said...

Great review!

So uh, no pics of the aforementioned waitstaff?

Chris James said...

That is me doing my part to support local businesses. If you want to see them, you gotta come to Ceredo.

Route 75 said...

I love Austin's. We haven't been there yet this Spring, but their food is actually pretty good, and their hot dogs are great.

I'm also in agreement with TFG, the ice cream is very good.

Crystal Cantrell said...

I LOVE Austins ice cream but I haven't been there in a long time but I miss it. I remember one time my freind Becki and I went and got cones and went to the Ceredo park but some scarey guy kept looking as us.

Stanton said...

Chances are, Crystal, that scary guy was one of the three people who left comments here.

Chris James said...

He is supposedly hanging outside of the Stewarts in Kenova these days. He likes their style of sauce better.

amazin112 said...

My grandmother... Joyce Snyder is the owner of Austin's and has been for the past 25 years. It pleases her to get nice reviews such as this one. I will be stepping in this summer and managing the place and I hope to maintain these high standards. Thanks for all the positive comments guys.

Ryan Snyder