Monday, April 28, 2008

Philippi HDJ Review – The Hot Dog Hut

Right next to the famous Philippi covered bridge rests a simple and unassuming brick building where The Hot Dog Hut serves up some halfway decent dogs. There's nothing flashy about the place, but the interior is spacious, clean, and comfortable.

One of the things I liked best about this place is that there is one flat price for hot dogs with whatever toppings you desire. This is a change from the standard menu offerings in this region of the state, which is usually chili, mustard, and onions (and ketchup if you're not careful), with slaw running extra. The list of toppings available at no extra cost, runs the whole gamut: the aforementioned ingredients as well as cheese, jalapeños, and sauerkraut.

As far as preparation goes, I was a bit amused by the attempt to place the chili and slaw side-by-side on the bun. It was a nice try, but after I unwrapped the wax paper, it looked like something of a car wreck. Looks aside, the overall product tasted good enough to just get by.

The bun was slightly warm yet stale, like it had been tossed in a toaster oven for a minute. This took away from the taste more than I anticipated, but not enough to make me give up on the dog. The beef in the chili was ground far too fine for a passable WVHD mix. There didn't seem to be a lot of liquid in the sauce, which would normally be a welcome thing. In this case it gave the chili a mealy texture, like you would find in a cheap chili that had cracker meal mixed into it. I didn't really find any of the said filler, but I also noticed that the spices were on the weak side. A little more chili powder or pepper flakes would've been a welcomed addition. In the end, the chili came through as more of a “safe” recipe in that it had a minimal beef flavor but not enough spice to cause any upset stomachs.

I couldn't really pick up anything notable about the slaw. It was cool and slightly sweet, but not over the top. In other words, they played it safe with the slaw (like the chili). The wiener and onions were adequate as well.

In the end, there's not a lot wrong with The Hot Dog Hut's version of a WVHD, but it's not necessarily great either. I don't know if I'd go out of the way to go get one, however. The Hot Dog Hut gets a “safe” three weenies.


angie said...

I am the owner of the above mentioned establishment and a few minor changes have been made since our opening 7 months ago.
We no longer wrap our coleslaw dogs with the wrap in your photo. We use paper boats and a sleeve for these dogs. As with all new places, we learn as we go and make changes as we discover a better way. My chili has never had added fillers; and most people think it is delicious. I can assure everyone that I do not cut any corners when cooking. I do not serve anything that I don't believe is delicious. My sauce is homemade as well as the coleslaw, french dressing (we now offer salads), and all the soups are homemade. I think you will be hard pressed to find that these days at many places.
I would love to have a second opportunity to impress you. Our dining area is beautifully decorated, still the cleanest place in town, and I'm sure we can get at least a 4 weinie out of you!! Thank you, Angie :)

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

Angie, you definitely have a lot to offer as can be told from the copy of the menu I took with me. Your service was good, and that is indeed a rarity time and again these days.

Nontheless, since you were so polite with your revisit request, you can bet that you will get a second look in the future!