Saturday, April 07, 2012

Pineville HDJ Review - Pinnacle Drive In

Almost as soon as I began the West Virginia Hot Dog Blog in 2006, people began to write in about their favorite Hot Dog Joints in places all around the state. After a while there seemed to be five or six places that stood out above all the others as far as the frequency of the recommendations. Some of these I already knew of and had tried before, but many of them were in places that I seldom travel and therefore it took me a while to get there. The last of these frequently suggested HDJs on my list was Pinnacle Drive In.

My experience with most of the other frequently recommended HDJs led me to be optimistic about the quality of Pinnacle's WVHD offerings. Most of the time - really with only one exception - when I finally made the trek to frequently recommended HDJs I have found that there was good reason for the enthusiasm.

So on a beautiful early Spring day I set out on the two hour trip to Pineville in time to arrive just at lunchtime. Finding Pinnacle was a little difficult, but once I followed my instinct to try Pinnacle Creek Road, I soon stumbled upon it. The last couple hundred feet of my journey I followed a caravan of ATVs right into Pinnacle's parking lot. The ATV riders got the jump on me though because after seeing the sign on the door that said "No Credit or Debit Cards" I realized that I had to make a side trip to the nearest ATM before I could eat lunch.

"Drive In" usually means that curb service is offered, but not here. A few tables and a small lunch counter are available for inside dining. After procuring the necessary greenbacks I went inside and began the process of procuring hot dogs: Two with chili, slaw, mustard and onions. And a side of onion rings.

When my order arrived I was surprised to see the grilled New England Style buns because I did not recall any of my reader mail mentioning that aspect of Pinnacle's hot dogs. Regular readers of this blog know that we automatically deduct a half-point for these non-traditional buns (yes, I know they taste good but they are made for New England oyster sandwiches, not West Virginia Hot Dogs).

My first bite didn't impress much. The small caliber weenie seemed a little over cooked and the NES bun overwhelmed the chili and slaw. Sampling the chili and slaw separately I soon understood the reason they were overwhelmed: They had a very subtle flavor. The chili tasted like very mildly seasoned ground beef. The slaw tasted fresh, but other than mayonnaise, cabbage (and perhaps a hint of vinegar?) there was not much else to taste. They worked well together, but as I said they were lost in the bulk of the NES bun.

I really hate having to do this, but editorial honesty makes it necessary to say that I was very disappointed in what I found at Pinnacle. Perhaps like the other frequently recommended HDJ on my list that I found disappointing, maybe it is the lack of other quality HDJs in the area make Pinnacle seem great by comparison. I know that the dozens of people who have recommended Pinnacle over the years won't like it, but by our objective Weenie Ranking System, Pinnacle Drive In's hot dogs score only an average 3 out of Five Weenies.

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