Monday, December 17, 2007

Shinnston HDJ Review - T&L Hot Dogs

T&L Hot Dogs of Shinnston is one of those cozy little HDJs that abides by the mantra 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. And for WVHD fans, that's obviously a good thing.

The little stone covered building situated on Main Street always manages to bring in the customers in a very steady stream all day long. My recommendation is to get there early if you're in the area for lunch, because the two dozen or so seats fill quickly. The staff keeps the focus on the food, and each order is prepared freshly and with TLC. The local regulars are greeted by name with open arms, much like a returning long-lost family member.

The cooking area is wide open for view, and markedly smaller than some other HDJs. You'll be able to watch the experts in action. Everything from the ladles to the fry slicer is well worn but highly cleaned, giving the place a lot of character. The snug dining area follows the typical T&L 50's motif, with reprints of classic advertisements, movie posters, and the like adorning the walls.
The menu here is relatively simple, with only hot dogs and hamburgers listed (of course fries and chips are also available). Many of the other locations offer up the likes of steak hoagies, kielbasa, and so forth. I suspect the limited cooking area factors into this, but it doesn't really matter since the hot dogs are the star of the show here.

Starting at the top of each WVHD is a very fresh slaw mix, featuring that finely chopped cabbage, carrot, and dressing combo that goes well with any variety of hot dog you can think of. It's got a pleasurable taste that melds sweet and tart on the perfect plane. You can't help but smile a little from the great taste.

Right below is that famous T&L chili, which you can get in mild (good for most), medium (not for the casual fan), and hot (how brave are ya?). It's finely ground, with a wonderful mix of flavorings that blends well with the hearty, beefy taste from the cooked-just-right meat.

About the only thing I wish this T&L would improve on (aside from the parking, which is beyond their control) are the fresh-cut fries. Listed by the moniker “Freedom Fries” on the menu, they have a tendency to get either overcooked on the outside or under cooked on the inside. Sure, it's a timing issue, but nothing a little more experience and practice won't fix. Then again, fresh cut fries are an art form. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

This T&L location deserves no more or less than four weenies. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by and grab a couple for the road (if you don't mind waiting behind with the long line of locals).


Lesly said...

Wow, I just found this blog last week and now you're covering my favorite dog spot. Nice! By the way, my husband and I were so inspired by your site when we found it that we ran to the grocery store to make our own WVHD since there was little hope of us finding a proper one here in our new home state of Texas. Keep up the good eats so we can live vicariously through you!

Christopher Scott Jones said...

“Freedom Fries?”

Wow, sounds like a frontrunner for a 2003 Weenie Award.