Monday, May 29, 2006

Charleston Area Hot Dog Joints - The Southern Kitchen

The Southern Kitchen on McCorkle Avenue in Kanawha City is nothing less than a Charleston landmark. It's been the favorite late-night/early morning breakfast spot for generations of Charlestonians. In spite of its small size and simple atmoshpere it has played host to dignitaries from John F. Kennedy to John F. Kerry. On a recent afternoon I stopped in for lunch thereby adding my name to the illustrious guest list.

On the menu is listed a "Hot Dawg", a term usually left to less formal greasy spoons and truck stops. "Everything", I was told, included chili, slaw, mustard and onions. I decided if they went to all the trouble of special spelling, then it must be a special dog, er I mean dawg. And it is.

The first thing that is special is the chili. This chili could be the one that brings balance to the Force. It is sweet AND spicy. Meaty AND runny. I think that anyone would like this chili.

The second thing that is special is the slaw. Sweet, creamy and I might be wrong about this but I swear I think it has apples in it. It is finely chopped and perfect texture for a WVHD. The onions were nice too: Sweet and chopped into just about the right size pieces.

I wish more attention were paid to the weenie and bun because both were a little lackluster (do the Cavalier Meats and Heiners Bakery trucks run past Hurricane?). If they had been on par with the chili and slaw this would be a five weenie dog. The atmoshpere almost makes up for it, what with all the chicken and W. Va. tourism themes that run through the restaurant, but it still falls a half-a-weenie shy of perfection.

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