Thursday, August 16, 2007

Clarksburg HDJ Review - Worlds Collide at A&W

The A&W at the Eastpointe shopping center in Clarksburg is actually a combination A&W and Long John Silver’s restaurant. Both are brands of Yum! Brands Incorporated, the company that also owns the KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. Yes, this is a review of a corporate chain. No, this isn’t going to be pretty for a lot of reasons.

To put it simply: don’t expect the soul you’d get from the better reviewed HDJs on If you can’t figure that out before you get there, take one look at the menu board and you’ll know that if you’re after hot dogs you’re in the wrong place. Chicken planks? Fish fillets? Crappy fries with vinegar? ‘Nuff said.

Just like a bad one night stand, the review of the hot dog offering is something I’ll long regret. Not actually writing the review, mind you, but rather the suffering that had to be endured for the case study. The “Coney Dog”, as it’s called, is the closest you’ll get to a WVHD. I was asked if I wanted it “as it comes”, which was with chili, onions, and mustard. I went along, and scanned the board for some cole slaw which I found listed on the Long John Silver’s side of the menu. At $1.09 for a small helping, it was too steep for some really crappy slaw. More on that shortly.

When my order was delivered by a rather confused teen who looked like he couldn’t tell if my order number was 98 or 86, it came in the dreaded stryo coffin. The slaw was leaking over the edges of its little container. I opened up the coffin and was promptly under whelmed by the barely warm bun. I reckon the bun was actually warmed by heat of the wiener itself rather than having been in a warmer of any kind. The wiener had a passable beefy flavor, but not much more than that. The onions were transparent, which tells me they were in no way freshly cut. The chili had a meaty flavor, but was otherwise very bland. Its dark brown color doesn’t speak of being overcooked, but rather of artificial color.

As for the slaw, like I mentioned before it's actually Long John Silver's slaw. LJS slaw is runny, runny, and more runny. It's way too sweet for any hot dog, and loaded with carrots. Nothing redeeming about it.

I noticed that on the styro coffin there was a slogan reading “The Coney Dog Preservation Society”. Typically corporate….selling out the legend of a wonderful hot dog. It’s safe to bet the originators of the Coney Dog are rolling over in their graves.

If I can give one bright spot to this place, it would only be the frosty mugs that are offered up for all the A&W root beer you can drink. Sadly, even their namesake beverage cannot make their hot dogs bearable. One weenie.


wvapoker said...

Run and don't look back. Big Daddy is in WVHD hell!

The Film Geek said...

I think the cultural and economic practices that occur across the Slaw Line is deeper, and maybe more sinister than I first anticipated. Perhaps a Hot Dog Civil War, or a Clarksburg Hot Dog revolt is in order to correct what's gotten out of balance.

Stanton said...

I don't know, TFG: I don't think you should be judging culture based on what is presented in a chain like this. I know that the A&W/LJS combo places are prevalent in Pennsylvania, so this is probably a PA franchisee.

For old Charlestonians like me the name "A&W Root Beer" evokes very pleasant hot dog memories. Their location that stood for yeara a block from Five Corners was a great, great HDJ.

Poker's right though, BD is on a bad run. It happens to us Weenie Wonks from time to time. Comes with the territory.

Christopher Scott Jones said...

I think that the Huntington Mall Stewart's benefited from such a run with my review of the place. I ate on of their dogs right after eating a really bad one at Farley's and it tasted much better by comparison.

Too bad it wasn't an A&W/KFC. KFC slaw is pretty good on hot dogs.

I'm Dad (and I said so!) said...

Poker, you're about half right. It seems to be feast or famine when it comes to HDJs around these parts. There's very little middle ground. I think you'll see some reviews in the future that show there are some dynamite dogs to be found.

TFG mentioned the "Slaw Line", which is a perfect terminology for this area.

Stanton's right, I remember A&W from visits to Charleston way back when and they were always pretty good.

Chris, you're right about the KFC slaw. If only that had been the case!

The Film Geek said...

Terrific post, Big Daddy, even if the dog ain't so great! And the Slaw Line" comment isn't mine: the hot dog blong wonks coined it a long time ago. It's Stanton's and Chris's (and I'll add you to that now) world, and I just visit! :)