Thursday, July 22, 2021

The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail - Those Left Off

We knew from the start we couldn't include every HDJ that deserved to be on the WV Hot Dog Trail. There were some that we'd love to include, but whose commitment to maintaining posted business hours is sketchy, and some whose hours we could not find. There were a couple that had no recent information on their websites and didn't answer the phone when we called, so we had no choice but to omit them. 

Geography played a part in the design of the Trail. We have never found decent hot dogs in either panhandle, so we didn't even try to include them. Then there's the whole Ohio Valley, which we didn't ignore, but there just was not any practical way to route the Trail to include the few good HDJs in the region. Maybe we'll design a day trip route to hit those places.

With one exception, we only included HDJ's that one of our Weenie Wonks had visited and reviewed. This map is based on our research, not some random internet search. So, yeah, when people comment and say "you left off John's Food Barn in Bugtussle," it's because we've never been to John's place. 

We didn't include and of the Sam's Hot Dogs locations, because we've found them to be inconsistent and most of them now are either inside a gas station or a gambling parlor. No doubt, you can get a good, authentic West Virginia Hot Dog at some Sam's locations. Rarely, though, do they merit a 4 Weenie or above rank so we excluded them.

Yes, we left off that place in Lesage that looks like a junkyard because we find their embrace of  negative Appalachian stereotypes to be offensive. And their hot dogs aren't very good. 

There is another root beer place in Huntington that we left off, not because the owner is a bigot (he is) but because their hot dogs are just plain mediocre. We are always amazed when Huntingtonians chime in when we give them the low scores they deserve. Huntington is peculiar that way, always seeming to be overly enthusiastic in their support the home team irrespective of its quality. 

And yes, we left off Yann's, much to the chagrin of almost everyone in Marion County. The reason is simple: This map is about West Virginia Hot Dogs, which always have chili/sauce, mustard, onions and coleslaw. Any place that refuses to serve coleslaw can't be on the list. 

Next month we are planning on doing a series of posts about the best HDJs that we left off the list. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail - The Complete List and Map

Click here for the complete map for the 2021 West Virginia Hot Dog Trail! 

If that doesn't work, copy this text into your browser:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1m9J7pIUTlpFKcXALBkWREeH3tZ7FhJdI&usp=sharing

Below is all the information on HDJs that you need to plan your trip. 

Please send us your pictures and stories from the road! 

Email us at WVHotDogs@gmail.com or post them to our Facebook Page.

Here's the list:

Griffith and Feil Drug 1401 Chestnut St, Kenova 
(304)453-5227
Mon-Sat 10am - 3pm, Sunday 12:30pm - 3:30pm
https://gfsodafountain.com

Midway West Drive In  445 6th Ave. W, Huntington
(304) 697-3644
Mon-Sat 10am - 8pm
https://midwaydriveinwv.com

Frostop Drive In 1449 Hal Greer Blvd, Huntington
(304) 523-6851
Mon-Sat 9am - 8pm, Sunday 10-3
https://www.facebook.com/Frostop-Drive-In-165888996796186

Farley's Famous Hot Dogs 201 Midland Trail, Hurricane,
(304) 562-7038
Mon-Sun 11am - 9pm
https://www.facebook.com/Farleyshotdogshurricane

Winfield Dairy Freeze 3229 Winfield Rd, Winfield,
(304) 586-4410
Mon-Sun 10:30am - 9pm
https://www.facebook.com/WinfieldDairyFreeze

Bammy's 54 MacCorkle Ave, St. Albans
(304) 722-6220
Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-5pm
https://www.facebook.com/bammyschilidogssa

Nitro Dairy Queen 3601 36th St, Nitro
(304) 755-4690
Sun-Sat 11am - 10Ppm
https://www.dairyqueen.com/en-us/locations/wv/nitro/3601-36th-st/415/

Ridgeview BBQ 5010 Fairlawn Ave Institute
(304) 400-4650
Mon-Fri 11am - 7pm
https://www.ridgeviewbbq.com

Huskey's Dairy Bar 2422 7th Ave, Charleston
(304) 342-6875
Mon-Fri 7am - 7pm, Sat 11am - 5pm
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Huskeys%20Dairy%20Bar/108120049229033

Hot Diggity Dogs 2313 7th Ave, Charleston
(304) 346-3647
Mon-Fri 10:30am - 3pm
https://www.facebook.com/HotDiggityDogsCharleston

Super Weenie 805 Quarrier St, Charleston
Mon-Fri 11am - 3pm
https://www.facebook.com/superweenieWV

Chum's Hot Dogs 8315 McCorkle Ave, Marmet
(304) 949-2486
Mon-Fri 10:30am - 6pm
https://www.facebook.com/ChumsHotdog

West Madison Grocery 302 Riverside Dr, Madison 
(304) 369-1500
Mon-Fri 5:30am-6pm, Sat 9am-4pm
https://www.facebook.com/westmadisongrocery

Parkway Drive In 401 Justice Ave, Logan
(304) 752-7703
Mon-Sat 8am-9pm
https://www.facebook.com/Parkway-Drive-In-233540399996268

Morrison's Drive Inn 126 Stollings Ave, Stollings
(304) 752-9872
Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 12pm-9pm
https://www.facebook.com/Morrisons-Drive-Inn-Offical-Site-114921678593024

Pinnacle Drive Inn 88 Pinnacle Ave, Pineville 
(304) 732-7785
Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 12pm-6pm
https://www.facebook.com/pinnacledriveinn

Lynn's Drive Inn 3705 Coal Heritage Rd, Bluewell
(304) 589-6279
Mon-Sat 9am - 9:50pm, Sunday 11am-9:50pm
https://www.facebook.com/Lynns-Drive-Inn-238419363026848

Dairy Queen State Hwy 3, Hinton
(304) 466-1700
Sun-Sat 7am-10pm
https://www.facebook.com/DQ12566

King Tut Drive-In 301 N Eisenhower Dr, Beckley
(304) 252-6353
Thu-Tue 10:30am-11pm
http://kingtutdrivein.com

Tom's Carry Out 554 Jones Ave, Oak Hill
(304) 469-6260
Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 12pm-8pm
https://tomschili.com

Swiftwater General Store - New River 464 Ames Heights Road, Lansing
(304) 900-1000
Mon-Sun 8am-8pm
https://www.facebook.com/pepperonirollwv

Fat Eddie's 2243 Summersville Lake Rd, Mt. Nebo
(304) 872-0788
Sun-Sat 11am - 9pm
https://www.facebook.com/FatEddiesAtTheDam

The Custard Stand 51 S Main St, Webster Springs
(304) 847-7774
Sun-Sat 11am-10pm
https://custardstand.com/restaurant/webster-springs-west-virginia

The Spot Dairy Bar 922 Gauley Turnpike, Flatwoods
(304) 765-7466
Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 12pm-8pm
https://www.facebook.com/FlatwoodsWvTheSpot

Flying Dogs 6009 Main St, Jane Lew
(304) 884-7249
Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat 7am-4pm
https://www.facebook.com/FlyingDogsJaneLew

Ritzy Lunch 456 W Pike St, Clarksburg 
(304) 622-3600
Mon-Sat 7am-3pm
http://www.ritzylunch.com

Dave's Famous T&L Hot Dogs,1202 E. Pike St, Clarksburg
(304) 622-3994
Sun-Sat 10am-9pm
https://www.tandlhotdogs.com/clarksburg-wv-old-bridgeport-hill

Hometown Hotdogs 37 Middletown Rd, Fairmont 
(304) 367-0143
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-3pm
https://www.facebook.com/Hometown-Hotdogs-367511880217

Woodys Restaurant 801 Morgantown Ave, Fairmont
(304) 366-4009
Mon-Sat 10am-6;30pm, Sun 11am-5:30pm
https://www.facebook.com/Woodys-Restaurant-111658262206301

Town Hill Tavern 998 Willey St, Morgantown
(304)284-8104
Mon-Sat 11am-2am
https://www.townhilltavern.com

Wallzy's Hotdogs 512 Ashebrooke Square, Morgantown
(304) 435-3445
Sun-Sat 11am-8pm
https://www.facebook.com/WalzzysHotdogs

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The WV Hot Dog Trail - North-Central WV

 The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail is a publication of the WV Hot Dog Blog and will provide food and culture tourists with a literal roadmap with which to explore the state's best hot dog joints (HDJs). The Trail will be revealed in its entirety on National Hot Dog Day, July 21, but we'll be releasing highlights and snippets of the route every couple of days beginning July 15. This is the sixth post in this series:

Breaching the Slaw Line

As we move north through Lewis County and into Harrison, our trek will take us across The Slaw Line into a land where some people stubbornly refuse to accept the truth that the rest of us hold as self-evident: A true West Virginia Hot Dog always includes coleslaw. The main promulgators of this resistance are from Marion County, but their brainwashing efforts have reached down into Harrison County as well. Never fear though, there are HDJs that offer slaw -- and some of it quite good -- in this otherwise land of slawlessness. 

But before we actually cross the Slaw Line, we have a stop to make in Jane Lew. Flying Dogs is the first HDJ on our entire journey in which we will need to specially request coleslaw as an add-on. Located just a few miles south of the Slaw Line, it's not completely surprising that an "everything" dog does not include slaw. This is pretty normal for what we think of as kind of the Slaw Line DMZ - that gray area that extends for a few miles in each direction where slaw availability is unpredictable, but it is available and it is very good. We gave this hot dog a 4 1/2 Weenie rank even with having to ask for slaw; it's that good.

Back out on I79 and heading north, we'll cross the Slaw Line on our way to our next stop, Ritzy Lunch in downtown Clarksburg. You'll have to ask for slaw on their everything dog, but you won't get a side-eye for doing so. This venerable establishment knows what its customers like, and proudly serve up delicious slaw when out-of-towners show up for lunch. They pile it on, too, and the heft of their hot dogs is as good as anywhere we've reviewed. Just a great HDJ living dangerously on the slawless frontier. 

On the way back to I79, make a stop at one of the locations of T&L Hot Dogs - either Old Bridgeport Hill in Clarksburg, or in Bridgeport proper. The are separated by a few miles but both are more or less on the way, and both are great HDJs that serve delicious slaw as an add-on. The great thing about T&L is that right there on their menu, even in the mostly slaw-denying Harrison County, is a "West Virginia Dog" with sauce (oh yeah, forgot to mention we're back in "sauce" territory), slaw, mustard and onions, just like God intended. 

Next up is Hometown Hot Dogs on the outskirts of Fairmont, in White Hall near the Middletown Mall. There are numerous Hometowns in North Central, but we've found this one to be the most consistent location. A word to the wise about Marion County sauce: Even the mild is spicy, so be careful ordering up. "Medium" is pretty darned hot by southern West Virginia standards. Of course, coleslaw helps moderate the heat, so make sure you ask for it. 

Moving on into Fairmont proper, our next stop is Woody's. One of Fairmont's favorite HDJs, Woody's --while optional and must be asked for -- offers coleslaw as a topping. While this must confound those Marion County anti-slaw purists, it is a welcome offering to the vast majority of West Virginians. Woody's sells great hot dogs in a cozy and nostalgic atmosphere. What more could we ask for? we were tempted to stop the Trail right here just to make a point with those anti-slaw activists, but we decided to take the high road. Which leads to Morgantown.

Morgantown, O Morgantown. How we have wept for your inability to maintain a good HDJ! Gone too soon was the Five Weenie classic The Hot Dog Barn. Haught Diggity Dogs, another great HDJ went belly-up last year. It is mysterious that great HDJs just don't seem to last here, but one exception is Town Hill Tavern, a watering hole at the top of Willey Street that proclaims "Best chili dogs in town" (see? We're back to chili!). On their menu is the "Mountaineer Dog" which has chili and slaw standard, but you'll have to specify mustard and onions to make it right. 

Our last stop is Walzzy's Hot Dogs, Since it opened just a few months before the Covid pandemic, our Weenie Wonks have not been able to give it an official review, but we have it on good authority that they are serious about hot dogs and worthy of inclusion on our list. While we wish they had a West Virginia Hot Dog on their menu so we could get our favorite toppings without having to list them, they do have all of the toppings available, and our sources say that they are first rate. 

Next Up: The Complete West Virginia Hot Dog Trail

Monday, July 19, 2021

The WV Hot Dog Trail - The New River Gorge and Central WV

The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail is a publication of the WV Hot Dog Blog and will provide food and culture tourists with a literal roadmap with which to explore the state's best hot dog joints (HDJs). The Trail will be revealed in its entirety on National Hot Dog Day, July 21, but we'll be releasing highlights and snippets of the route every couple of days beginning July 15. This is the fifth post in this series:

The New River Gorge & Beyond

Next we're heading back north to Hinton, and the second of the two Dairy Queens on our list, Hinton Dairy Queen. There is no disputing the immense popularity of this HDJ, and its fans are vocal and loyal. This is also the first time -- but not the last -- we'll encounter upside-down toppings with the slaw buried under the chili. We'll save the arguments for another day, but according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, cool toppings always go on top. The Hinton DQ also has one of the best dining room views of any HDJ in the state, so check it out. 

Leaving the Gorge and heading up on the plateau we find Beckley, which for a city its size has remarkably few good hot dogs and no great ones. But the one place worth going just for the atmosphere is King Tut Drive In, whose coolness overcomes the mediocre hot dog. It's not a bad hot dog, its just not a great hot dog, and we struggled with the decision to include it on this list. 

But never fear, one of the best hot dogs on the list is not too much further up the road. Tom's Carry Out in Oak Hill has been selling great hot dogs since the dawn of time, apparently. At least that is the impression we get from the hundreds of people who live or have lived in Oak Hill and have been eating Tom's hot dogs their entire lives. Despite also serving upside-down hot dogs with the chili on top of the slaw, they care about hot dogs and it shows: It shows in the way they carefully spread the mustard on the bun instead of squirting it on like most HDJs; it shows in the way they mix up small batches of slaw. It shows in the way people flock to Tom's and write emails to hot dog blogs. It's inspiring.

Heading north on Rt. 19, just across the New River Gorge Bridge lies the community of Lansing, and a short distance down Ames Heights Road is the brand new Swiftwater General Store. An offshoot of Charleston's Swiftwater Cafe -- which has some of the best hot dogs in the capital city -- this location keeps up the tradition and provides visitors to the New River Gorge National Park with the chance to sample an authentic and delicious West Virginia hot dog. 

Back on Rt. 19 and continuing north, the next great HDJ you'll find is Fat Eddies. The Mt. Nebo HDJ is spittin' distance from the Summersville Dam, and considered by many to be the best in the state. To be sure, Fat Eddies serves up a 5 Weenie classic that is as good as any we have found. The chili has a nice little spice and the slaw is nearly perfect in texture. Every part of this hot dog is perfect. 

Settle in for the next part of the trip, because it's a long and winding country road to The Custard Stand in Webster Springs. Maybe the most famous hot dog chili in West Virginia because of its owners' drive and gumption to have it sold by national retailers (they even appeared on the Shark Tank TV show pitching their chili to investors!), when it's found in its native habitat it's better than the packaged-for-store stuff, and the rest of their toppings are also great. (Note: They have moved to downtown Webster Springs since we posted this review, but the hot dogs are the same in this new location.)

One more stop on this leg of our journey to the center of the state, and that is The Spot. Now we're not sure where The Spot got its name, whether it is because it is almost the dead-center spot on the WV  state map, or whether it is very close to the spot where the Braxton County Monster was first sighted in 1952. Maybe it's because it is the spot to get excellent hot dogs. Who knows? All of those fit, but serving up consistently great hot dogs for years, it is definitely deserving of a spot on our list. 

Next up, we'll venture to the sometimes slawless land of North Central West Virginia. Buckle up, it's a dangerous place for real WV Hot Dog lovers!

Next: Yes, slaw CAN be found in North Central WV

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The WV Hot Dog Trail - Heading South Through the Coal Fields

The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail is a publication of the WV Hot Dog Blog and will provide food and culture tourists with a literal roadmap with which to explore the state's best hot dog joints (HDJs). The Trail will be revealed in its entirety on National Hot Dog Day, July 21, but we'll be releasing highlights and snippets of the route every couple of days beginning July 15. This is the fourth post in this series:

The Coalfields

One hundred years ago next month, in August of 1921, 7,000 angry coal miners left Marmet on their way to Blair Mountain where they would strike a blow against the tyranny of mine operators determined to keep them from unionizing. The route they took, over Lens Creek Mountain, is the same one we'll take on this next leg of our journey. Instead of stopping at Blair Mountain, we'll continue toward the promised land of Logan and beyond, nearly all the way to that Other Virginia.

 But first, let's stop in Madison.

West Madison Grocery was the last HDJ to be added to our trail. When it became clear that our route would go through Boone County, we realized we have never found a decent HDJ in the whole county, so we sent our Weenie Wonks to find one worthy of inclusion, and boy did they. The hot dogs at West Madison Grocery are surprisingly good. Don't be afraid of this tired-looking building or the slightly disheveled interior. The hot dogs are fantastic, and it is a good example of how great things can come from unexpected places, especially country grocery stores that have been slinging chili and slaw for decades and just know how to do it right. This is one of those places, for sure. It's a great warm-up for what awaits another half-hour down Corridor G in Logan. 

Parkway Drive In is technically in Justice, not Logan, but it's the first of the great HDJs you will come to heading into town, and most Loganites seem to rank it third. But this is Logan, where even the third best hot dog is still better than 95% of the rest of the state's offerings. Seriously, we don't see how you can give a demerit to Parkway. as its hot dogs are well-crafted and delicious, with some of the sweetest slaw we've found. 

Janet's Park & Eat - This formerly great HDJ seems to have closed its doors. Since we can't confirm whether its permanent or Covid-19 related, we're going to keep it on the list just in case it reopens. If you are following the Trail, at least stop by and pay your respects to what many people believe were the best hot dogs in Logan. Our review on the West Virginia Hot Dog Blog seems to have been lost in cyberspace, but here's a general review by our friend Candace Lately

Next up, the King of West Virginia Hot Dogs, Morrison's Drive Inn in Stollings. While we've noticed some variation in the quality over the years, we always come back to Morrison's when asked where the best hot dog in the state can be found. It is simply perfect. Chili, slaw, steamed bun wrapped in cellophane, the whole thing is perfection. 

We were tempted to end the Hot Dog Trail here, but there are still some great HDJs ahead, so let's continue on to Pineville and Pinnacle Drive Inn. Other than Morrison's, we have received more emails about Pinnacle than any other HDJ in southern WV. While we found the hot dogs to be good but not great, and they only offer New England Style buns, which is nontraditional, Pinnacle's legion of fans convinced us to include it as a stop on the trail. 

After leaving Pineville, we head over to Bluewell to find the most southern HDJ on The Trail, Lynn's Drive In. This Five-Weenie classic with "Lynn's Famous Chili" and slaw that is made with finely shredded cabbage instead of the normal grated kind. See? Wasn't that worth the drive?

Next: Heading North 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

WV Hot Dog Trail - To the Capital City and Up The River

The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail is a publication of the WV Hot Dog Blog and will provide food and culture tourists with a literal roadmap with which to explore the state's best hot dog joints (HDJs). The Trail will be revealed in its entirety on National Hot Dog Day, July 21, but we'll be releasing highlights and snippets of the route every couple of days beginning July 15. This is the third post in this series:

The Capital City

Leaving Nitro, we have one more stop before we breach the city limits of Charleston, and that is
Ridgeview BBQ in Institute. Located right across Rt. 25 from the WV State University Campus - this BBQ joint also offers great hot dogs with smoky chili. Time your visit well, though, since they aren't open weekends. 

Continuing on Rt. 25 into Charleston, the next HDJ you will encounter is the venerable Huskey's Dairy Bar. Huskey's has been selling delicious hot dogs on this corner for decades, and they are still just as good today. If you have room, make sure you get one of their famous chocolate shakes too. 

You barely need to get back in the car to drive one block to Hot Diggity Dogs. When this place opened a few years back, our Weenie Wonks found it lacking, but a re-review in 2019 revealed that they had upped their game and now is a serious contender. Take our advice, though, and don't get the yellow slaw. Their regular slaw is superior, and you'll soon have a chance to try the real deal. 

Now let's head downtown, shall we? We love hot dog joints that are serious about hot dogs, and Super Weenie is very serious about hot dogs. In fact, it is their motto, printed on the door of the HDJ. You can't find a better, more authentically West Virginia hot dog anywhere. Chili is great, slaw is perfection and everything else is just great. You can get other styles of hot dogs at Super Weenie too, but who cares? 

There are other places in Charleston to get a good hot dog, but we've had the best, so it's time to hit the road again, this time up the river to Marmet. We told you to skip the yellow slaw earlier, and this is why: Chum's Hot Dogs is the only place to get authentic yellow slaw hot dogs. 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. Better than anyone. Period.

Next: Heading Down South

Friday, July 16, 2021

The WV Hot Dog Trail - The Burbs and Lower Kanawha Valley

The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail is a publication of the WV Hot Dog Blog and will provide food and culture tourists with a literal roadmap with which to explore the state's best hot dog joints (HDJs). The Trail will be revealed in its entirety on National Hot Dog Day, July 21, but we'll be releasing highlights and snippets of the route every couple of days beginning July 15. This is the second post in this series:

Heading East

Our next stop on the Trail is Farley's Famous Hot Dogs in Hurricane. We could have stopped at Farley's  original location in Barboursville, but the extra few miles will give our bodies more time to digest those first three hot dogs of the trip. 

The hot dogs at Farley's are delicious with sauce that is nearly the perfect texture and decent slaw to boot (oh, and this is the last time it'll be called "sauce" for a while - nothing but "chili" ahead until we head back north). It's another drive-in with root beer, too so that's a bonus.

Next, we'll head on down Route 34 all the way to and through Winfield to stop at The Dairy Freeze. The Freeze (as locals call it) feature great tasting weenies and classic tasting Southern W.Va. hot dog chili (see, I told you it would be called "chili") with a little spice and a whole lotta taste. The slaw is a little coarse but tastes great. 

From Winfield we'll stay on the south side of the Kanawha River and travel down the road that used to be Rt. 35 to St. Albans and Bammy's Chili Dogs. Bammy's knows how to make a great WV hot dog. The spicy chili is perfectly balanced by excellent slaw; creamy and sweet and applied in perfect proportion.

Next we'll jump over the Nitro/St. Albans Bridge to the Nitro Dairy Queen, one of two DQs on the trail. Fans of this blog knows that not all DQs are created equal, and the one in Nitro is two cuts above them all, especially since the tragic demise of the Clendenin location in 2015. Here is the first place we'll have to reckon with the issue of the misnamed "English Dog," but fear not, they offer regular buns as well, and the hot dogs are just terrific. 

Next: Heading into the Capital City