First, I'd like to give a little background history on Knowlton's, as given to WVHD.com by one of our readers who I will identify as "Mr. R". The Knowlton's family reportedly ran a Tasty Freeze in Friendly, WV for several years, offering up some tasty hot dogs featuring a "secret" hot dog sauce that was prepared by Mrs. Knowlton. Somewhere in the 70's or 80's, the place suddenly shut down. Rumor has it that at one point a famous ketchup manufacturer offered a large sum of money for the recipe, which was declined by Mrs. Knowlton.
Knowlton’s is easy to find, as it sits right along State Route 2 going through town. It is a remodeled building with a nice deck sporting several umbrella-covered tables for enjoying lunch or ice cream outside. The inside has a few small tables scattered about. The menu offers standard short-order items and Hershey’s brand ice cream.
The prices of the dogs are a little steep as a dog with chili, onions, mustard, and slaw going for $1.95. The service wasn’t overly friendly –though not rude- and I didn’t feel welcomed. I’m not saying I have to be personally greeted every time I hit the door, but at no time did the clerk taking my order make eye contact or thank me for my order (note: this also happened on a follow-up visit). Just one of those details I’m a stickler about when doing a review.
I ordered up two dogs with the standard WVHD contents and an order of fries…which turned out to be plain old store-bought crinkle cuts. I found the hot dogs themselves to be much too sweet for my spice-calloused taste buds. My friend commented first, saying he found them somewhat inedible due sweetness. (I didn’t pinpoint the base of the seemingly meatless sauce until a day or two later when I was in the grocery store and walked past cans of Manwich sauce. Yup, Manwich sauce.) I dissected my hot dog so I could try to get a visual on what else was in the sauce. I found a couple of kidney beans and bits of pickle relish.
The cabbage in the slaw was coarsely chopped while the dressing had a smooth, creamy consistency. It had a markedly sweet taste as well. I thought it was good enough that it would undoubtedly go well with a medium or hot chili/sauce. However, the sweetness of the slaw dressing is just too much to bear when combined with the sweet chili sauce. The buns had potential as they seemed to be warmed well enough, but a hint of staleness quickly squashed any hopes of salvaging something positive out of this experience.
I don’t think many -if any- WVHD fans will be happy with these dogs. This might be a good place to take the kids, but that’s where I’d draw the line. Based on the overly-sweet sauce/slaw combination and not-as-friendly-as-could-be service, I have to give Knowlton’s two-and-a-half weenies.