Thursday, May 10, 2007

Charleston Area HDJ Review: Goff's Carry Out

Loudendale, for most West Virginians, is just the community you drive through on the way to Kanawha State Forest. But for those of us who know it well it's much more than that. Since I grew up about five miles from Kanawha State Forest and spent most of my Summers at the swimming pool there, I became quite familiar with Loudendale. My mother was born and raised in the community and I always had relatives that lived there. When we talked about Loudendale we simply called it "The Creek."

Loudendale is situated in the hollow formed by the main branch of Davis Creek as it winds its way toward the Kanawha. There are fours ways you can get to Loudendale: First, and most rarely traveled, is from Hernshaw through Kanawha State Forest. Don't try this one unless you have a 4WD and a good map. The second way is to follow Davis Creek Road from South Charleston. Horse enthusiasts are the most likely folks to know of this route since virtually every stable in the Charleston area is located along this stretch. Third is the route from Kanawha City through South Park Road and ending up in Loudendale at Cane Fork (on this route you will pass "Ferrell Hollow", named for the grandfather of Loudendale's most famous product, Conchata Ferrell - her childhood home was at the mouth of Ferrell Hollow). The primary way to get to Loudendale, however, is to follow Louden Heights Road from Downtown Charleston, turn right on Connell Road and go about three miles, the last one being a long descent into Coal Hollow. At the bottom of "Coal Hollow Hill" is Loudendale.

30 years ago there were two businesses at the bottom of Coal Hollow Hill. One was a small grocery store that some people called "Owen's Market" and some called "Clark's Store"; that building is now a private residence. The other business located at the foot of the hill was a gas station owned by "Junior Riffe" (we always called it "Junior's Fillin' Station". It is in this location that Goff's Carry Out is now located. It's been there for years and I've been by it a hundred times, but until a reader wrote recently I did not know they sold hot dogs. When I got the email I was eager to pay a visit.

When I pulled into the store's parking lot I was pleased to see a sign advertising "Hot Dogs - BBQ - Live Bait"(although I think the juxtaposition of terms could have been more carefully thought out). Once inside I was promptly greeted by the cashier, whom I quickly ascertained was also the hot dog chef. Everything, I was told confidently, includes chili, slaw, mustard and onions! Finally, the long string of ketchuppy HDJs has been broken!

After I got my hot dogs and took them outside to a picnic on the tailgate of my truck, I eagerly slipped the first one out of the wax paper sleeve to find a nicely warmed bun. It was not steamed, as I would have preferred, but since it was soft from freshness I didn't mind much. The slaw was very nice - finely chopped, creamy and nicely sweet. The chili was above average, but nothing to write home about. I was told that Goff's make their own chili and slaw, but darned if this stuff didn't taste just like Custard Stand Chili. Underneath it all was a beefy tasting weenie that was a cut above average. A couple of big chunks of sweet onions topped it all off.

I must say that, for a carry-out, this is a great hot dog, but by normal HDJ standards it's only slightly above average. We'll give it a strong 3.5 Weenie rating, pushing the 4.0 envelope.

1 comment:

Chris James said...

Based on some home experiments, Custard Stand Chili ain't exactly a tough nut to crack.