Saturday, January 05, 2008

Charleston HDJ Review - Sam's Hot Dog Stand Randolph & Pennsylvania

It might be unfair to review a new hot dog joint based on a visit on its first day open. But then again, a franchise like Sam's should have its best foot forward from the get go, and since the brass is always there on the first day it should be as good as it gets, right? I don't know if it's fair or not, but that's what I did for this new HDJ that I've been waiting to see open for several weeks.

The former home of a BP service station, it is now Charleston's first Little General Convenience store and inside is a full service Sam's Hot Dogs Stand. "Little" is the operative word for this tiny store that tries very hard to have everything in spite of its confined space. The quarters are cramped, however, to the point of inconvenience. This is especially troublesome at lunch time when a throng of hot dog customers block access to virtually everything else in the store.

Service was quick on this opening day despite having a bunch of people working that were obviously trainees. My order took only a few minutes to be filled and I was able to escape the crowded confines more quickly than I expected.

"Everything" was not well defined. It seems that I could have gotten anything from relish to ketchup to mayonnaise if I had not expressly ordered my hot dog with chili, slaw mustard and onions.

The chili was standard Sam's fare (order the spicy, the mild is lame), but the slaw was lowest common denominator food service slop with huge chunks of hard cabbage. The weenie was of a smaller caliber and lower quality than I remember finding at other Sam's locations. The bun was straight out of the bag with no steaming or any other preparation and it seemed a little stale, which was especially surprising on the first day. Since there is no eat-in option, all dogs are served in a to-go coffin.

I'm going to give this Sam's location a month or so to get their sea legs and visit again, but for now three lackluster Weenies is as good as I can do in good conscience. This is a nice location for a HDJ and I hope they can do better.

1 comment:

Christopher Scott Jones said...

I'vr never seen a franchise with as much place-to-place variation as Sam's. Most of the ones in Hton are good or excellent, while the locations out in the hinterlands of WV tend to have some issues.

Sounds like a whip needs to be cracked by corporate.