Thursday, April 13, 2006

Charleston Area Hot Dog Joints - Dunbar Bowling Center

I practically grew up bowling alleys. My mom bowled two or three times a week and I always had to go along. As a single divorced mother she would often feed me bowling alley food for dinner on those evening when she worked late and bowled early. Hamburgers and french fries were staples then, but I eventually came to the conclusion that hot dogs are much more dependable, quality-wise, in a bowling alley grill than virtually any other food type. I'm not sure why this is so.

Anyway, a reader suggested a visit to Dunbar Bowling Center for a hot dog, so when I found myself on my way back to Charleston one day at lunch time I thought I should check it out.

The first thing I noticed is that it is very difficult to park in that part of Dunbar. Every space seems to be reserved or has a "two hour parking" sign with cars that look intent on getting every last minute's worth of their allotted time. I circled the block three times trying to find a spot and finally nabbed one just as one of the two-hour parkers vacated.

My reader had told me that the hot dogs were "first-rate." I was expecting great, but only got "good." Only good because of a complete lack of anything distinctive. Slaw is sweet, creamy and served in the proper amount. The chili was okay. The bun was a little crusty and it was served in one of those blasted styrofoam boxes. The best thing about the experience was that it was a nice day and I ate my dog outside under a tree on a park bench.

Overall, I can't say anything bad about the dog, can't say anything overly good about it. Not dissapointing, but not one I would go out of my way for.

I had forgotten, though, what a neat little bowling alley Dunbar has. If nothing else the trip was worth it just to see it again.


larryosaurus said...

Stanton- You're reviewing these hot dog joints faster than I can read them! Keep up the good work!

That's pretty disappointing about the Bowling Alley dogs. I ate there pretty religiously for about three years and I seem to remember they were really good. Okay, that was around 1989, but still...

Dan Cavender said...

My name is Danny Cavender and I grew up bowling on the lanes in Dunbar in the sixties and seventies. I moved away to Orange County California in 1979. I have nothing but good memories of Dunbar.
I still have many family members living in WV, so every time I fly home I find a way to enjoy at least 2 of those fabulous hotdogs from Dunbar Lanes.
I recently visited in May 2008 and made time to go by myself to Dunbar Bowling Alley. I certainly was not disappointed. In fact I had to eat 3 of them. I sat reminiscing of old times, enjoying the West Virginia hospitality known no where else in this country and ate my hotdogs.
I always tell the chef if I could have the recipe I would take it to California and make a fortune. They are always quick to tell me sorry, it's a secret.
The buns were moist and soft, the chili not over bearing and the coleslaw creamy. WOW!
3 things I come home for:
(Family), (Grazianos’ Pizza) and (Dunbar Bowling Alley Hotdogs).
GOD bless you-all in West Virginia.......................

hasbeen said...

I grew up in the area and my moms family lived in Dunbar. In the sixties I went to the Price Theatre every weekend and saw every movie ever made if it was a cheap sci-fi or Elvis!

Dunbar lanes always had the best dogs. Even better than the DQ up the street which had foot longs.

Most everything is long gone now. Sigh. But the bowling ally is still there. My last dog was 2010 and it was excellent!