Friday, April 16, 2010

Charleston HDJ Review - The Village of Otto

I have been driving past this little place on Pennsylvania Avenue for as long as I can remember, and for as long as I can remember I have wondered why it was named "The Village of Otto." I also wondered exactly what it was: It looks like a bar, but who ever heard of a bar named "Village of" anything?" People have told me that, yes, it is a bar, but those same people confessed to having never been there. So still I wondered.

On a recent trip up I79, I looked over and saw a new sign on the building that said "Hot Dogs $2.00." "Finally," I thought, "an excuse to go inside the bar." Now in the interest of full editorial disclosure, there was a time in my life that I needed no excuse to go into a bar, but these days I am a teetotalling goody-two-shoes who requires further inducement. Hot dogs - even expensive ones - will usually do the trick.

So I rolled into The Village of Otto late on a recent afternoon and apparently had missed the lunch crowd. When my dining companion and I walked into the bar the only people we saw were the bartender/cook and a woman who was waiting on her car to be repaired at the garage next door. After we ordered $8.00 worth of hot dogs with everything (onions, chil and slaw) plus mustard and two cokes, we settled into place and became familiar with our surroundings. Two pool tables dominate the room and generations worth of liquor and beer mirrors and posters cover the walls. The bar is well stocked and a smokers cage out back overlooks the Elk River.
The hot dogs took a while to get to us, but once they did I immediately noticed that they were on grilled New England Style buns. The chili was tasty enough (not spicy) but the slaw was way over mayoed. It was as if someone dropped a few pieces of cabbage into a jar of Hellmans. OK, not really that extreme but seriously too much mayo. The taste, despite the mayo overload wasn't so bad. Deducting a half-point for the NES bun, I'll give The Village of Otto an average 3 Weenie rating.

Oh, and about the name: According to the bartender, there are two stories about the name: One was that the little section of Pennsylvania Avenue where it is located was in the 1940's a heavily German community, and the bar name is a tribute to that ethnicity. The other story is that it is named after Beetle Bailey's dog.

The mystery continues...

7 comments:

Chris James said...

I had always assumed that it was some sort of Knight of Columbus for Lutherans.

Thanks for the info.

PhilCrispin said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

Big Daddy said...

I was under the impression this place would be a dead ringer for Moe's tavern on "The Simpsons". All the more reason I never bothered to stop there.

Hancock.Tom said...

Its a typical WV bar from a small town which seems out of place (not a bad thing) in Charleston. The owner is a nice guy and the beer is cheap if you like the common american lagers. I go there when I am not in the mood for Charleston's typical bar scene and I just want to drink a few bud lights or play pool.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

I always thought it was a hair salon!?
Looks like a good dog. Love those NES buns. . . with lots of mayo in my slaw.

susan said...

Sounds like a place I was in with my cousin.Fish fry, german music in the mid-fifties. Anything on long gone spots? A real WV hotdog bun is alwayssteamed!!!!

Rick304 said...

Love this place!! the hot dogs are awesome and so are the people that frequently go there!!