Saturday, December 16, 2006

Huntington Hot Dog Joint: Far from Great Dogs at Farley's--Barboursville

Those who have taken Route 60 between Barboursville and Huntington have certainly noticed Farley's Famous Hot Dogs, a long-time roadside tradition for many in Cabell County. Farley's is located in an orange building that looks rather similar to the Stewart's Original Hot Dogs location on 5th Ave. This is due in part to the fact that Farley's was once affiliated with Stewart's, but severed their relationship when Stewart's stopped making their own root beer (apparently, Farley's still makes their own).

While I did not have any of the root beer, I did try their hot dogs with an order of crinkle cut fries (which are rapidly becoming my deal breaker between a merely good and a really great hot dog joint).

I wanted to like their food. I really really really did.

The place is so cool and nostalgic. The service is so great. The whole place represents survival of a mom 'n pop joint in the face of global multi-nationals and even against larger regional chains like Stewart's and Sam's Hot Dog Stand.

But, alas, this was one of the worst hot dogs that I have had since I began reviewing local joints.

No, the worst.

Well, at least the bun wasn't bad. But it totally goes downhill from there.

The wiener was not the quality that is typical of a Huntington HDJ. It had sort of a government-subsidized flavor and tasted, well, cheap. I guess if you must cut corners, it is better to do so with the weenie than the sauce or the slaw, but this particular frank was two steps below my minimum passible grade for a rating of "adequate."

The sauce was actually quite good, as the spice level was just right and there was a nice balance of ground beef-to-juice. However, there was just a smidge of it on the dog. It was almost like they were running out and were trying to save the last little bit until the next batch was heated up. The sauce was tastey enough that it alone could have sort-of saved the dog, but skimpiness doesn't cut it on a West Virginia hot dog.

Regulars of the site will note that onions are rarely commented upon in reviews unless they are particularly good or totally wrong. In this instance, the latter was the case. The onions were not diced or even chopped, but rather chunked. Furthermore, they were not sweet but rather the strongest, cheapest white onions this side of Aldi.

Now for the slaw. I've been pounding my head on just how to describe how bad it was, and this is what I came up with: imagine really bad instant grits that were made too runny and waaay too salty. Now imagine they were made for a diabetic. Now substitute the hominy for diced cabbage. Next, slop it all on a hot dog. Bingo.

In plainer words: Worst. Slaw. Ever.

To add insult to injury, the crinkle cut fries were soggy and completely unsalted (I guess they used all of their salt making the cole slaw). The final kick in the ribs was the fact that they serve Hunt's ketchup instead of Heinz. Unless it is 2004 and you are trying to make a political statement, there no rhyme, reason, or excuse to not serve Heinz ketchup with your fries. None. Serving anything else insults both the customers and the fries.

The sauce and the service both get 4 weenies, but that is it.

Everything else pulls it down. Way way way down.

Overall score: 1.5 weenies.

I will go back to try their root beer and get a bowl of the hot dog sauce (served as chili in a bowl). I'll probably have to wear a disguise, though.

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