Monday, May 28, 2007

Huntington Hot Dog Joint: Sam's Hot Dog Stand-Piedmont Road

A common theme in Huntington politics are the real and perceived inequities that exist between the East End, Downtown/South Side, and West Huntington in terms of education, quality of infrastructure, attracting jobs, etc. One important demographic, however, that illustrates geo-economics is the even distribution of Sam's Hot Dog Stand. With locations on 29th St., 8th St., and Piedmont Road, no one in Huntington is ever that far from a great hot dog. has already put the eastern and central locations to the test, so naturally it was time to load up the James gang and head on over to Wayne County, y'all.

Right off the bat I can say that Piedmont has three things that are standard Sam's: fresh-but-steamed-anyway buns, water-bathed weenies (meh, but not a pet peeve of mine), and adequate but unremarkable slaw.

As this is the beginning of summer, all hot dog stands worth their salt are using Vidalia or similarly sweet onions. Piedmont Road Sam's hooked me up big time. Nice chunks of tasty onions genuinely added quality to my dining experience.

As regular readers and WV hot dog fans all know, Sam's Hot Dog Stand spicy sauce can vary from location to location. I suspect that all Sam's locations either buy or follow the same recipe for mild chili sauce and later add the heat in the form of red pepper flakes. Some add a smidge. Piedmont pours it in. Boy, they weren't kiddin' when they say "spicy." I'm pretty sure this is how it is supposed to taste.

As for service, Piedmont Road fits into the general trend of attention to detail. Unlike the veterans of the weenie wars at the 29th St. and 8th St. locations, this joint was under the control of two high school age folks. While I was a bit concerned at first, my reverse ageism proved me wrong and I watched them prepare the dog like a well-drilled militia. I noticed two or three hand-written notes giving the weenistas detailed instructions about proper dog assembly. Perhaps the highlight of my ordering experience was the menu board that mentioned sauce, slaw, mustard, and onions, but not a word of ketchup to be found.

My only beef with this great hot dog was that there was not enough slaw on the dog. For that, I am giving an otherwise perfect hot dog encounter 4.5 weenies. During second chance month in June, however, I will swing back by to consider bumping them to a 5 weenie rating and West Virginia hot dog immortality.

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