Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Logan Area Hot Dog Joint Review - Parkway Drive In

It's interesting when a small town has two of something. People take sides. In many towns it is rival high schools that cause people to line up behind the object of their loyalty. Logan only has one high school, so apparently people there have decided to divide themselves along hot dog lines. The emails I have received from current and former Loganites seem split 50/50 on who has the best hot dogs, Morrison's Drive Inn or Parkway Drive In. Regardless of which they prefer, there is a definite opinion among both camps that Logan hot dogs are the best that West Virginia has to offer. The neat thing about these two hot dog joints is that they serve great hot dogs that taste pretty different from each other, so it's easy to see why each would have its fans.

Parkway is located not in Logan, but in Justice, which is north of Logan on Route 10. It's just south of the entrance to Chief Logan State Park. The big colorful sign is difficult to miss. It looks like it's older than the building, and if you look closely you can see that it's covered with old corroded sockets where neon tubes would have connected when it was newer. While it is a drive-in, the building has inside seating (smoke free) but it seemed that most people opt for curb service.

When the carhop took my order for one hot dog with everything (chili, slaw, mustard & onions) she did so with a smile. I had my dog, wrapped in wax paper, in short order. Once I unwrapped it I realized the hot dog looked exactly like the one I got at Morrison's, but I immediately recognized that it smelled different. Once I bit into it, I realized that it tasted different too.

Difference #1: Slaw - I'm sure that regular readers know that I like my slaw sweet. Well, this slaw is sweet. Too sweet. I'm sure that might come as a shock to Chris, who thinks I'm off-the-scale-silly about wanting sweeter slaw than you can get in Huntington, but it's true. This slaw is sugary, candy-like sweet. The sweetest slaw I have ever tasted except for some failed home-recipe attempt in my past. It was nicely chopped and nicely creamy, though.

Difference #2: Chili - This chili is not as complex as Morrison's. It seems to be lacking all of the herbs and spices, and certainly hasn't been cooked as long. It's good, but not great. More than that, it's really good, but not great.

Difference #3: Weenie - Parkway either uses better weenies or prepares them more lovingly, because the difference in flavor is noticeable. It could be the tamer chili that allows the weenie's flavor to come through, but I definitely tasted more nice flavor than at Morrison's.

Don't get me wrong, this is a really good hot dog. To my taste buds, however, it suffered by comparison to Morrison's, so I'm going to rate it a 4.5 out of 5 weenies.

Loganites should be proud to have two such top-notch HDJs. It puts them on par with Clendenin as the place we have discovered with the most quality HDJs per square mile.

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