Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Charleston Area Hot Dog Joints - Trivillian's Pharmacy

Quiz: Where in Charleston can you get a hot dog and a root beer float, while waiting for a prescription to be filled AND see paisley print deer in the parking lot?

Answer: Triviliian's Pharmacy in Kanawha City.

Many Charlestonians hurriedly pass by Trivillians every day as they speed off the southern ramp of the 35th Street bridge and never get to know this little treasure of a place. That is a shame because this is one of the last remaining places in Charleston where you can get a real glimpse and taste of true Americana. The look inside the store is ike an evolved version of that old classic 1940's drug store soda fountain (in fact the Saturday I was there, they even had a soda jerk complete with red hair and freckles). Still present are the red naugahide cushions on the bar stools and a good bit of chrome and stainless steel provides a visual connection to the past. Shakes, floats and sundaes are served in retro-looking glasses and dishes. The soda fountain and lunch counter dominates the space but the pharmacist is busy at work just steps away.

The hot dogs are pricey at a buck-fifty each and worth every penny. Trivillians makes their own chili and slaw, both of which are very good. I think this chili might be the perfect WVHD chili. It is not very spicy, has finely ground meat and an abundance of that wonderful chili flavor. They give you a hefty helping too. Slaw is very good: Creamy, sweet and piled high. Buns and weenies are both better than average. Onions and yellow mustard rounds out an "everything" dog that is very satisfying. I am thinking about having all of my prescriptions called into Trivillians to give me an excuse to stop in more often.

I would encourage everyone to patronize this unique little treasure of a drugstore so we can keep it around for a long time. The menu is quite varied with vegetarian offerings as well as a full breakfast. Prices, except for the hot dogs, are very reasonable. If nothing else, take your kids for ice cream. It's not 31 Flavors (in fact they have only vanilla) but hopefully the atmosphere will make them forget all about Cookie-dough or Rocky Road.


Lefty said...

Your blog alerted me to the very existance of WV-style hot dogs. I never even knew about them, and I grew up in Marietta, OH. Recently while passing through Charelston on a road trip I ate at Chris' and had my first WV dog. I am a convert!

I'm working on a book about hot dogs, and I'm very interested in your blog. It deserves attention! Could you email me? lefty_bir@yahoo.com

Beth said...

WV hot dogs are wonderful but the BBQ with slaw is equally as good at Trivillians. Mr. Trivillian's father, "Pops Trivillian", started making it when the store opened in 1950. If you ever go to Trivillian's you may want to order the hot dog but you should get a side order of the BBQ. My Dad was there when the store opened and bought the store from the Trivillian family. He made sure that the BBQ recipe was continued and it is one of the best you will ever taste. There is nothing like a good old fashioned soda fountain and I credit Nick Trivillian, Roger (my Dad, Roger Griffith) and Paula Butterfield (the current owner) for continuing that legacy.

Enjoy your visit to Triviillian's Pharmcacy. You will be glad you stopped in.

Beth Griffith Reisman
Cincinnati, Ohio
(formerly of Charleston, WV)