Friday, June 08, 2007

Buckhannon HDJ Review - Dairy Queen

I've written before of the charming main street in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A big part of the charm of the place is the old buildings that are so unchanged by time that they could serve as a 1950's movie set with no touch up required. This is especially true of the very cool and way-retro Dairy Queen building.

There is not another old Dairy Queen I know of in the state that is as well preserved as this one. The neon sign is from the era before terms like "branding" made every DQ look exactly alike, with the big lemon-shaped red and white DQ logo. This sign is blue and white with a big ice cream cone jutting out over your head while you stand at the window to place your order. The building does has the red shingle mansard that became part of the DQ brand later on, but other than menus and interior signage none of the modern day DQ look is evident.

The service is old school, too. The young ladies that were working the day I stopped by were delightfully helpful. They cheerfully told me that "everything" was chili, slaw, mustard, onions and took my order enthusiastically. As I left with my order they seemed to earnestly mean it when they told me to enjoy my hot dog. When they asked me why I was taking a picture of their workplace I didn't tell them about this blog, but I did tell them that their DQ was one of the coolest in the whole state. They seemed to be pleased with my answer and said lots of people took pictures of the place but they could never figure out why.

But as neat and different as the restaurant is, the hot dog was fairly predictable and fairly average. The chili tasted like regular DQ Coney sauce with extra meat added. The slaw was the same kind of lowest common denominator food service slaw that most mediocre HDJs serve, with big, chewy chunks of slaw with not much flavor. The bun wasn't steamed and the weenie seemed like one of the small caliber type that I have encountered before in central WV HDJs.

Style points for the HDJ itself pushes the rating to 3 Weenies. It's one of those cool little places I would go for atmosphere and endure a lesser hot dog.


Unknown said...

Stanton, You are so right. Main street is much the same as it was when I grew up there more than 50 years ago. They did tear down the building and put up the new bank building and so did the other bank change their corner and the court house annex replaced another old time drug store but... across the street from the court house looks the same as in a photo I have from the early 1900's.
I got my first cone of dairy queen the day they opened in Buckhannon. Since it has "always" been there I had never realized how much of a rairity it is in the dairy queen business!! Thanks for pointing it out!
Have you tried T and L hotdogs yet. They have been operating for at least 45 years in the same location until last year when they built their new building!

Stanton said...

Hold on, Dave. I did hit T&L on my Buckhannon trip and the review will be up soon.

Christopher Scott Jones said...

Stanton: bad news and good news. First, the bad: our backup server overseas was hacked and our upcoming reviews of T&L and the second chance review of Frostop were threaded with thousands of links to Dane Cook's myspace page. The good news is the guys in Chennai will have all of the links removed in a few days, but they want an extra dollar for each time they hear the words "bamf," "sangwich," and "su-fi."

Stanton said...

This is the LAST time I'm putting you in charge of upgrades. Oh, and by the way, I'll let you explain to my kids that we can't go to EuroDisney since you gave away my frequent flyer miles!

Steve said...

Back in the 1960's, Dairy Queen in Buckhannon had some great dogs; the sauce was unique. I once asked Mrs. Booth (the owner at the time) about the sauce, and she said that it was a family recipe, and that when she left the business, the recipe would go with her. That would explain why the current sauce is somewhat ordinary. Back in the day, several places in Buckhannon had great hot dogs, and the competition was keen.