Friday, June 27, 2008

Weirton HDJ Review - Chili Willie's

On the north side of Weirton next to one of the many old steel plants along Route 2 sits a small building that could easily pass for a local ice cream stand in, except for the fact that the walk-up windows are blocked by benches. This humble abode is home to Chili Willie's. There is no room to sit inside at all, and there are only three picnic benches on the outside to sit and enjoy your permitting, of course.

According to the flyer I picked up, Chili Willie's dogs are "Voted #1". I can't say that this exactly a scientific poll, because I can't recall seeing any other HDJs along the route I took into town to compare it too. Of course, they could be comparing to some HDJs in nearby Stuebenville, Ohio. Who knows? All I know is that this is the first HDJ I've seen that touts call ahead pick-up service on the menu. As for the dogs themselves, well, they certainly must have a lot of fans. I found myself waiting in a line that extended just outside the door for a few minutes before I was waited on.

The downsides are in the bun and the wiener itself. Both of the buns of the two hot dogs I ordered were rather stale tasting. I couldn't really sense that they were steamed, but maybe just warmed over. The wiener, at least tasting like it had been cooked, seemed to be only tepid at best. It was a bit of a shock to the taste buds.

On the plus side, the chili was certainly different than any I had sampled in a while. I'm used to the old north central WV pattern of spicy chili, varying from 'tongue warming' to 'ohmuhgawd' to the more subtle-but-flavorful southern WV sauces. Chili Willie's, on the other hand, seems to strike an uneasy balance between those two worlds, but remaining totally different from either. While the meaty flavor is there, it takes a back seat to the added spices and flavorings. I know I picked up a nice hint of garlic in the mix. Whatever else they added was certainly a plus.

The slaw had a fresh taste that seemingly worked better because of the extra bits of carrot in it. Normally I don't care much for carrots one way or the other. But in this instance, they give this slaw that little extra something . It wasn't overly creamy, tangy, or even sweet for that matter. It just seemed to be good enough to compliment the chili.

I give Chili Willie's a 3.5 weenie rating. I would have easily given it a four weenie rating had it not been for the flavor flatlining in the bun and the weenie. Hopefully another visit in the future will see the tide turn.


wvapoker said...

I noticed this joint a earlier this year but didn't have time to stop. Glad to here they aren't have bad.

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

No, they aren't bad at all.