Monday, March 06, 2006

Charleston Area Hot Dog Joints - The Smokehouse

I can't remember a time that I didn't know about The Smokehouse. This little place on the corner of West Washington and Stockton Streets has been selling great food for as long as I have been alive. My earliest remembrances are from the 1960's and the second-hand cigarette smoke that hung in the air so thick that I thought that was where the restaurant got its name. I shied away from eating there my whole adult life because of that negative memory (cough-cough). Imagine my surprise when I was driving by and saw the sign that said "Smoke Free Dining Room"! I just had to check it out.

As soon as I walked through the Washington Street entrance I realized this was not the old smoky place I remembered from my youth. The counter is still there, but much closer to the front door than I remember. And behind the counter is a glass wall that seperates the bar area and the accompanying cigarette smoke from the "smoke free dining room", which is stage left. It really is smoke free and it is really very nice. While the dinner menu looked quite intriguing, it was a West Virginia Hot Dog I came for and that was what I found. Actually, I found two.

If you like your dogs gooey, this is your place. The slaw and chili weren't particularly runny, but the bun was delightfully soft and sticky. "Everything" means chili, slaw, mustard and onions. The onions are chopped way too coarsely, as was the slaw, but it was still overall a pretty good dog. Not great, but pretty good. I'd say if you find yourself in need of a nice "smoke free" restaurant on the West Side where has some non-dog variety on the menu, this is your place.

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