Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Second Chance Review: Hillbilly Hot Dogs-Lesage

Last month it was a bad encounter at this HDJ that gave the initial inspiration for second chance month at WVhotdogs.com. I have eaten here dozens of times and had always enjoyed my experience, that is until it actually mattered. When I went for the review, I caught them with their pants down, so to speak. The bun was stale and the service was crap and they only racked up a 3 weenie rating.

This time around, things got back to normal right quick. The first good omen was that Sharie was present and took my order (neither her nor Sonny was around the time that they bombed). If there are two business people in West Virginia that are more committed to ensuring that their customers have a A++ experience every single time that they patronize an establishment, I haven't met them yet. Unlike the notoriously grumpy Yann or the silent weenie artist at 8th St. Sam's, the owners of HBHD genuinely give a damn about their customers feelings. These two embody the idealized notion of the friendly, warm-hearted Appalachian and should be given honorary MBAs from the Lewis College of Business at Marshall University for successfully applying this outlook to a business model.
As for the specific bun issue, that didn't seem to be a problem. They apparently tied up the bags the previous night and the bun was Huntington-fresh, as I always demand.

The slaw was the same ol'HBHD slaw, which isn't my favorite (I've called it "left-coaster rabbit food" in the past), but for whatever reason, it works well with the sauce and, in Huntington, its all about the sauce as much as it is the slaw.

Speaking of the sauce, it seemed just a notch spicier today. The chili powder-tastic concoction was super beefy and probably helluh-expensive to make. Although I am on record as a total mark for Sam's Hot Dog Stand's sauce, this batch of HBHD sauce really has me pondering my weenie convictions. It really went well with the peppery slaw and, as noted in my earlier review of the downtown franchise, created a situation where the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.

The crinkle-cut fries were really good, too. They were freshly prepared when I made my order and were neither soggy nor overcooked.

This specific experience, coupled with 97% of all of the other times that the James family has ventured up WV 2 to Lesage, earns the original HBHD's a weenie rating bump. A big bump, as a matter of fact. They now join M & M Dairy Bell as only the second Huntingtonland HDJ to earn a much-coveted 5 weenie rating. Seriously, this is a can't-miss spot for anyone visiting Moneyton and a great place for locals to take visiting in-laws, college professors, and clients.

Congratulations, Sonny and Sharie, your countless hours of toil and sweat have paid off, big time, and Huntington is a better place for it.

2 comments:

Stanton said...

In your Frostop review you wrote: "consistency is a must for a truly great WV hot dog."

Are you giving HHD a pass? Is it because you have a crush on Sharie, the Weenie Wife?

Where is your journalistic integrity?!

Chris James said...

I will type my replies very slowly so even a WVU guy can understand 'em.

1) This isn't really a "pass." HBHD is clocking in at about 95%-98% consistency. Frostop is looking at 50% at best. No real comparison.

2) While Sharie is a great person, my wife only allows me one crush at a time, and that position has belonged to Jennifer Love Hewitt since the late 90s.

3) Journalistic integrity? I suggest that you file a formal complaint. I also demand a retraction and an apology (or at least a free hot dog from Sam's).