Monday, October 29, 2018

Marmet HDJ Review - Chum's Yellow Slaw Hot Dogs

While we consider creamy mayonnaise-based coleslaw with a slight sweetness to be standard issue for West Virginia Hot Dogs, we do allow for one micro-regionalized variation. In the little town of Marmet, just a few miles outside of the Capitol City, there is a long-standing tradition of Yellow Slaw on hot dogs. According to readers of this blog, Donald "Goat" Kinder was the person who originally developed the yellow variety, which he sold at The Dairy Post, located across the street from the old Marmet Junior High School. Now according to some people, The Dairy Post relocated to another part of town and changed its name to "The Canary Cottage." This is a matter of some dispute, however, because some folks have argued that the Canary Cottage was around before the Dairy Post. I'm certain that some Marmet folks will chime in here with their opinions.

Anyway, the Yellow Slaw tradition is now being carried on by one unique little HDJ called Chum's. We were there in 2009 right after they opened and found it to be just OK. But for the past few years we've heard that they had upped their game and have been trying to get back for a review, but they are not open on the weekends. Weenie Wonking is a part-time job, so HDJs that aren't open Saturdays or Sundays sometimes don't get a visit from us. Recently, though, Google erroneously reported that Chum's had Saturday hours, which got us obsessing about yellow slaw. By the time we found out that Google was wrong, well, we simply couldn't resist the obsession so we played hooky from work and made the trip. 

Chum's is a 12' x 20' roadside box that could be easily missed except for the line of hungry hot dog fans out front. A sign on the box displays a surprisingly long list of menu items, but the priority is clear with hot dogs at the very top. Regular readers will know that we are always impressed when a HDJ knows what "everything" means and is unequivocal. Chum's splits the vote here, though, as their menu confidently states it (Chili, Yellow Slaw & Onions), but the order taker was a little bit wishy-washy on whether everything included ketchup and mustard. I'm sure this is because the yellow slaw contains mustard already, and so many uninformed people order ketchup just because they don't know better. Bless their hearts.

Of course, I got mine with the true "everything" which meant adding a little mustard. 

It's been several years since I had partaken of  Yellow Slaw. The last time was at the bowling alley snack bar inside Galaxy Lanes, which being just a couple of miles from the Marmet line, had yellow slaw as an offering years ago (I'm not sure if it still does).  Before that, it was at Mr. C's, a small regional chain that had a location not far from Galaxy Lanes. The yellow slaw at Chum's was every bit as good as my previous tastings, and the chili underneath was far superior. 

Yellow slaw is sweeter that the white kind. That sweetness means that it needs a spicier chili to really bring out the flavor. Chum's accomplishes this well. Upper Kanawha Valley chili is typically very tame, but I was able to feel a little burn from the Chum's chili. Couple this synergy with a soft, steamed bun and a perfectly acceptable weenie, and you have a great hot dog. As I said, not completely standard by our normal measures, but it perfectly accomplishes what it's trying to do. It simply could not be any tastier, therefore earns a full Five Weenie rating.

Oh, and about the hours. Chum's is definitely not open on weekends but will soon be moving to their winter hours, which means they will close at 5:30 each weekday.


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