Recently, as I was getting ready to throw away one of those advertisement-disguised-as-hometown-newspapers (I swear I must get ten of those things a week!) I noticed a "story" (ad) about a new HDJ that had opened in Poca. I quickly clipped the article (ad) and stuck it to my refrigerator lest I forget to check it out the next time I made it down to the Land of the Dots. After a few weeks I found myself as far as Cross Lanes at lunch time and so I decided to mosey on down to Poca to check out "The Hungry Hound". It was easy to find, partially because it is right where the headline in the article (ad) said it would be - just across from the fire station, and partially because of the huge and imposing sign out front. You know how people say "ya' can't miss it"?; this is what they mean.
The minute I walked in the joint I could see it was a place of distinction: A real hot dog joint. I could also tell it was a reincarnation of "The Cock of the Walk" that used to be in Dunbar; the menu board looks exactly the same as TCOTW and they even had the stuffed rooster that adorned the bar there. As I looked around I noticed there were articles about other restaurants the family had ties to, including Porkers BBQ in Cross Lanes and even a BBQ joint in Florida. The place was nice, neat, clean and friendly.
Yeah, but how about the hot dogs? I'm glad you asked.
The first thing I noticed was that the menu listed "West Virgina Hot Dogs" as a heading under which there were 4 different dogs listed: Hound Dog, Junk Yard Dog, Fat Dog and Fire House Dog. I picked the Hound Dog (which is actually THE W.Va. Hot Dog - having chili, slaw, mustard and onions listed as standard equipment).
The hot dog was well presented with a huge mound of creamy looking slaw and a goodly amount of chili peeking out from underneath. I could see that the weenie was grilled - nearly charred, but not quite. The onions were invisible and I can only assume they were hidden under the slaw. The only down side to the presentation was the coffin in which it was served.
The first bite proved that this dog wasn't all about looks: The slaw was as tasty as it was pretty and the chili, while lacking any spicyness, had a good texture and decent flavor. The grilled weenie had a little snap to it and the bun was soft.
We're gonna give this hot dog a 4 Weenie rating because, while all the parts were good or very good, it lacked any real synergy between the chili and slaw. The next time I go back I might ask for the spicy chili from the Fire House Dog just to see if it works better.
Overall The Hungry Hound is a nice little HDJ for those in the lower Kanawha Valley, but not a destination worthy of a road trip.