Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Huntington Hot Dog Joint: G.D. Disappointment at G. D. Ritzy's

By most definitions of the word, G. D. Ritzy's in Huntington is a pretty cool place to eat. The place is decorated in the fashion of a 50's nostalgia joint and has a diverse fast food menu that features burgers, ice cream, Cincinnati-style chili (well, sort of) and coneys.

Coneys? Wait, isn't this West Virginia?

Well, it's a national joint, and it really seems to be more a a restaurant that happens to serve hot dogs instead of a hot dog eatery, so maybe some slack can be given, as long as the dogs are good.

I noticed on their menu board that slaw was not listed as one of the toppings for the dog, which was disappointing, to say the least. Fortunately, a side order of slaw was available with fries and the dog as part of a "platter," so I bit.

When I unwrapped the dog, I was first struck by the critical mass of sliced onions that swam in, on, and under the coney sauce. I sampled one, and they were indeed quality onions, but there were entirely too many. Additionally, the large slices were a better fit for a chili 5 ways instead of a hot dog.

The sauce was meaty, beautifully red in color, and almost entirely tasteless. I will in the future give them the benefit of the doubt and try the stuff on a 5 ways, as maybe the onions blasted some subtle hidden flavor out of the water, but as it stands, it was a nothing special at all.

More bad news came from the bun and weenie. The bun was hard enough to break a window. I have some week-old Sunny Buns in my bread drawer that are fresher than this thing. While it was kind of embarrassing that a Huntington HDJ would serve such a bun, I was able to reassure myself that it was not really a local hot dog joint, per se. The weenie had the texture of one of those pickled red hots from a gas station and the flavor of a 1980's hospital-served weenie.

The only good thing about the dog experience was that which was never intended by Ritzy's: the slaw. The slaw was super creamy, very sweet, and pretty fresh. Since I got it on the side, I was able to drown the dog in slaw (I also added more to each bite) and increase its palatability by at least 73%.

The service, however, was fast and friendly and the ice cream selection looked comparable to most places. I need to try their Cincy chili to see how that goes, too, as it is one of my favorite non-hot dog dishes. I mentioned in the lead that it is in fact a cool place to eat for families and, with its proximity to the Little League fields and Cabell Huntington Hospital, would make for a great post-game or post-pediatrician visit treat.

As a hot dog joint, I give it 2 weenies. Great place to take a family, but not appropriate for true West Virginia hot dog connoisseurs.


larryosaurus said...

If I want a Coney I'll get one in Ohio while I watch Ken Griffey Jr sit on a bench. Great Review!

Nice updates to the site too. No more Haloscan?!?!

Stanton said...

Haloscan proved to be a big disappointment for us. If you pay, it does all kind of neat tricks, but for us cheapskates, well, you get what you pay for.

Good review, Chris.

Christopher Scott Jones said...

I think I will propose a trade with Chesapeake: M & M for Ritzy's. If you think about it, they each ended up on the wrong side of the river.

I'm sure we would have to throw something in to sweeten the deal. Perhaps throw in a couple of future high school basketball prospects to be named later.