In 2006 I thoroughly impugned the hot dog reputation of The Northern Panhandle, You can read the post here.
It's been more than three years and I really didn't expect to find anything different on my most recent visit north. I looked everywhere in Wheeling for a decent HDJ but found none. Then, quite serendipitously, I took the wrong entrance ramp to Rt. 2 and headed south for a few miles before I ended up having to turn around on the Benwood exit of Rt. 2. Hanging on the concrete overpass wall was a banner for a place called "Munchies" that said "Hot Dogs" with an arrow pointing through the underpass. I had to follow the arrow and soon I saw another "Munchies" sign on an otherwise abandoned section of a strip mall. The place looked open, thanks to a handful of cars parked out front so I decided to check it out.
The dominant feature on the inside of the establishment was not, as I expected, tables or chairs or a lunch counter, but a whole wall full of women's purses. There must have been well over a hundred of them: Not typical for a HDJ, at least those south of the Mason Dixon Line; who knows what's normal up there in that odd little geographical appendage. But honestly ladies, would you even buy a purse from a place called Munchies?
Anyway, after passing the dizzying array of purses and paraphernalia, I found the place where they serve the hot dogs and was so excited to see that the menu had a piece of yellow tape with the words "WV Dog" written on it. It even had the right ingredients listed! Here, in the previously barren Northern Panhandle I had stumbled on an honest to goodness WVHDJ!
My hot dog was delivered in the largest coffin I have ever seen and when I opened it up I was pleased to see the dark rich color of well cooked chili, and even though the slaw was coarse, it was slaw and so I counted my blessings. After one taste of the hot dog I was further amazed to find that there was actually some merit to the entire hot dog. The bun was nice and soft, the chili was like really meaty DQ Coney Sauce with a slight spicy kick. The coarse slaw actually tasted pretty good.
I am a believer in affirmative action, and so while this hot dog might only garner a 3.5 Weenie rank if it were served in Charleston, I have to bump it a half point and give Munchies a 4 Weenie rating just for being there and for proudly serving a real WV Hot Dog in this northern land that is anything but the real West Virginia.
Yeah, Wheeling readers, I know those are fightin' words. You wanna do somethin' about it? Get a real HDJ and we'll talk.