Monday, August 10, 2009

Charleston Area HDJ Review - Happy Days Cafe

South Charleston is turning into a real dining destination lately, and even though the best HDJ in town (Romeo's Grill) recently closed down for good, another contender has popped up just around the corner. Happy Days Cafe sits in the same building as the hoity-toity team room restaurant on D Street just a stone's throw from The Mound. It has a 50's theme, with 50's decor on the walls, 50's music in the air and food like you might have found at a soda fountain in the 50's; including hot dogs.

Before I get to the hot dogs, though, let me take just a second to tell you about the popcorn. You see, not since the Scotch Tape Boutique sketch on Saturday Night Live (circa 1980's?) had I heard of a less likely business start up that the specialty popcorn place that opened a few months ago in South Charleston. The place sold popcorn. Period. A whole store devoted to popcorn. They had many different flavors. So, what does this have to do with Happy Days Cafe? The popcorn store owners are the same people that opened Happy Days, and they still have the popcorn business as a kind of kiosk inside the restaurant. The reason I mention it is because the major point of the atmosphere of Happy Days is smoke from the popcorn popper. The ventilation system is ill-equipped to handle it all and the air is thick with oily smoke; and so were my clothes for the rest of the day after I ate there.

But anyway, back to the hot dogs: They are good. They have the right stuff on them, the stuff that's on them is pretty tasty (except for a faint and odd taste that I detected in the cole slaw - like it had been sitting open in the refrigerator beside an open kettle of fish). The chil was salty, but otherwise pretty good. The bun was steamy soft and the weenie was a touch waterlogged. The slaw was beautiful and the onions finely chopped and mild.

I know that from the descriptions there seem to be a lot of negatives, but the hotdogs worked.

Overall, they earned a Four Weenie ranking. With a better weenie, one that hasn't been soaking in a pool of its own filfth (as Chris James likes to say) and fresher coleslaw this could be a 4.5 or even 5. Room for improvement, and I'll be back to see if they do.


Unknown said...


I was hoping for another joint review but you went without inviting us. Did Daniel offend you with the underwear comment?

Stanton said...

Offend? No. Creep me out? Yes.

Really, nothing personal: I just had a better offer.

The Film Geek said...

I wish for the day when popcorn stands and hot dog joints can coexist across the nation. Perhaps the Happy Days Cafe will pioneer the way.