Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day of the Dog

1st annual Day of the DogOn July 18th downtown Clarksburg played host to the first annual "Day of the Dog", which was a fund raising event to benefit the Harrison County Humane Society. The event was sponsored by local radio stations and Heiner’s Bakery. For $5.00, you got three tickets and a ballot with which you could vote for your favorite hot dog. There were contests for root beer chugging and, or course, hot dog eating.

This was the first year for the event. Based on the sparse turnout early in the event, I assume that it wasn't advertised all that well I only found out about it a few weeks ago from a friend of mine who happens to listen to one of the sponsoring stations. On top of that, the Glen Elk Wine, Music, and Arts Festival was being held just a few blocks away, probably contributing to the low amount of spectators (at least during the time I was there). Still, those who turned out really seemed to enjoy themselves. There were five competing hot dog vendors. Hank's Deli from Fairmont and Hot Dog Hut from Philippi, both ofScooter Dawgs whom are previous 5-weenie winners were on hand. Clarksburg newcomer and lone cart representative Scooter Dawgs definitely impressed me. The other two entries, both from Clarksburg, were the 4th Street Grill, and June Bugs restaurant.

I figured I'd start off with something familiar to serve as a benchmark and had a sampling of both Hank's and Hot Dog Hut's offerings. No surprises here. Both of them bought their A-game. If you've read their reviews before, or perhaps partaken of their goodness yourself, you know how they can bring it.

I made my rounds with the newcomers starting with Scooter Dawgs. I have to remark that Scooter Dawgs seemed to be playing a high stakes poker game of taste with the other vendors. This was the first time I've had one of their dogs, and it was something to behold. They could've used the standard weenies since this was a fund raising event and all proceeds went to charity. But not in this case. They used a 1/4 all-beef frank that made each bite a meal in itself. The chili was off the charts. By far on par with --if not slightly better than-- Hank's and Hot Dog Hut. The menu wins the award for the most creative
4th Street Grill Pico Dog
I've ever seen. Anytime you can include peanut butter, raisins, 1000 Island dressing, wasabi, or Japanese hot sauce in a hot dog, you've GOT to know what you're doing. There will be a more in-depth review coming in the very near future. By the way, they did a great job picking out the name for their version of the WV hot dog: The West "By Gawd" Dog.

4th Street Grill offered a more "artisan" hot dog (see Stanton's terrific project covering the classification of the different dogs at this link). They offered up a "blackened" (their words, not mine) all-beef weenie with a pico de gallo and avacado sauce on a fresh Italian bun. It's the
4th Street Grill menu board
unwritten policy of the crew to limit our reviews to the traditional WV hot dog (slaw, chili, onions, mustard), but once in a while we have to deviate from our mission to keep things fresh. Well, not really. I just wanted to try this. I have to confess that this was a really good take on the hot dog, and I'd certainly consider getting another one in the future just for something different. Good flavor and fun to eat.

The final new entry was June Bugs. They had what was easily to best homemade flavor in their slaw. I wouldn't say they were having a good day with the chili how ever. I detected a heavy presence of spices and seasonings typically found in taco meat. Still, I enjoyed the friendliness of
June Bugs hot dog
the June Bugs crew. They seemed eager to get their product out as much as possible, so you've got to give them points for enthusiasm. Plus, they were giving away free keychains. What can I say? Freebies rock.

All in all, the whole thing went towards helping a good, worthwhile cause. I hope they give it another go next year with some more publicity beforehand. Likewise, I hope they are able to get some other vendors from around the state to participate. (Custard Stand, Haught's...I'm looking at you!)

By the way, I cast my two votes. One for Hot Dog Hut, one for Scooter Dawgs.

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