Saturday, January 19, 2013

St. Albans HDJ Review - Sammy's Chili Dogs

After a long hiatus, partially because of holidays and partially to give our triglycerides a chance to return to tolerable levels, our Weenie Wonks are back on the job just in time to catch a brand-spanking new HDJ in their first week of business. And while sometimes a new restaurant takes a while to get their sea legs and start putting out a quality product, we found out that this is not the case with Sammy's Chili Dogs.

Sitting on the bank of the Coal River backwater on West Main Street, this HDJ just opened this past week and is already causing a splash. We first heard of it through a Facebook Fan and were eager to check it out since it's been so long since a new HDJ opened in these parts. It didn't take long to find Sammy's since it is right at the intersection of West Main and Coal River Road and has a flashing red traffic light that stops all cars right in from of its door.

First thing you notice - if you are an experienced Weenie Wonk - is that Sammy's sign looks very much like another area HDJ whose name also is a derivative of the name "Samuel." We'll just have to wait and see if somebody's lawyer notices.

The second thing you notice is that Sammy's keeps insane hours for a HDJ: Open from 9:00 AM until 3:00 AM daily and then from 1:00PM until 2:00AM on Sundays.

Inside, Sammy's is clean as you would expect a week-old restaurant to be, but it is also tastefully decorated and homey with comfortable seating for probably 20 diners and a few more at the counter. The staff is friendly and the service is quick.

As for toppings, Sammy's doesn't seem to have a standard set of toppings, an unfortunate trait which is usually an indicator of lower quality hot dogs. "Everything" is not well defined and can include anything from the proper WVHD toppings of mustard, chili (regular or spicy), slaw and onions to ketchup, pickle relish and jalapenos. I ordered mine of course with mustard, onions, slaw and chose the spicy chili.

My hot dog came out with some rather large chunks of onions sitting on it, but otherwise looked good. The spicy chili had a lot more going on that just spice and was perfectly balanced by excellent slaw; creamy and sweet and applied in perfect proportion. The bun was soft and had obviously been steamed fresh. The weenie was all-beef and of the large-caliber variety. This hot dog has been thought through by someone who loves hot dogs and was very well executed.  Very good and very satisfying.

The size of the onions makes it necessary to deduct one-half point, but Sammy's gets an enthusiastic 4 1/2 Weenies and our unabashed recommendation as the best HDJ in St. Albans. A little out of the way (especially with the closing of the Nitro bridge) but well worth it.


Lost in the Northeast said...

Looking forward to stopping by on my next visit home. My Sis lives in St. Albans now and I can stop there on my way to see her.

Rick Lee said...

I'm glad the dogs were good, but the hours make me think that the Raison d'ĂȘtre of this establishment is gambling (think Mimi's).

Stanton said...

Yes, Rick, you are correct; they do have an attached casino but it is distinctly separate and discreet.

Unknown said...

Just stopped by today (3/16/2013) and all I can do is echo the original review, except make it 5 stars with no deductions.
The onions were very fine and sweet.
You have a choice of a proper soft steamed bun, or if you MUST a toasted bun,and a choice of spicy or regular Chili.
I had the spicy today and liked it but on my next visit will try the regular.
They also have the fine soft Ice in the fountain drink machine like many places had in the late 50's and early 60's for those like myself that really enjoy a fountain drink and eating some ice :)