Indeed, the new building sitting alone on Route 250 does feature a prominent Hot Spot sign on the front. When you walk through the door, you really can’t tell if you’re walking into a hot dog joint or a coffee house. New bar stools line the counter, and a leather sofa with glass coffee table sits nestled in a nearby corner. The video gambling room is off to the right behind closed doors. The owners are very personable and down to earth.
But the main reason for the visit, of course, is for the dogs. Lupo's is one of the few places in the area that still has it's hot dogs mentioned in the same context as the famous Yann's (depending on who you talk to), which would say something about their staying power. At $1.00 a pop, the price is nothing to complain about. A standard hot dog with everything here consists of onions, chili, and mustard. Unfortunately, we’re north of the 'slaw line' here, so Marion County laws are in effect: no slaw available. The gentleman who took my order used great care when putting my hot dogs together. I thought it was a nice touch that mustard was spread on the insides of the bun with a knife rather than just being squirted from a plastic bottle.
When I unwrapped the hot dogs, I was surprised by how scrawny they appeared. Take a look at the picture and judge for yourself. There was a heavy, doughy taste to the buns for some reason that made them taste rather blah. Or should I say, “blah to the negative power“. It kind of took away from the overall enjoyment of each bite. The flavor of the chili, however, really stood out. It had all the biting spiciness of northern WV chili, plus a little extra kick that invoked the sensation of Novocain. For some reason, I found that to be a guilty pleasure. Although the ground beef in the chili had a good flavor, it was somewhat sparse, making the sauce itself thin and watery.