Friday, March 04, 2016

Charleston HDJ Review - The Quarrier Diner

The exterior has been beautifully restored.
This venerable old diner in downtown Charleston has opened and closed more times than I can count. Originally called The Quarrier Diner, it was built in the early 1950s, when it was hailed as an architectural gem by the West Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In the late 1970s, the restaurant became commonly known as Young's Diner (named for owner Charlie Young), even though the front of the building still sported the beautiful Art Nouveau  "Quarrier Diner" lettering. When the latest owners both the building several years ago, they repaired some of the exterior finish and made slight - and very appropriate - upgrades to the interior. The whole place is still a showplace.

After re-opening to a large fanfare a few years ago, the diner portion of the business closed down again and for a while it seemed that the downstairs bar, Timothy's, was the only viable part of the business. Recently, though, signs of life have emerged upstairs and the diner has once again started serving lunch during the week, dinner on Friday and will soon be starting a Sunday morning brunch service,
The interior is beautifully preserved.

So with the renewed vigor starting to show, I thought it was time to drop in for a hot dog review.

Service was fast and friendly and soon I was seated with a menu. A momentary panic set in as I didn't see hot dogs listed right away, but then I found them listed on the left side under "Specials." That was a good sign, I thought. When I asked what "everything" included, I was dismayed if not surprised to hear ketchup among the condiments, I simply deleted the red stuff and got an "everything else" dog which of course included mustard, chili, slaw and onions.

When my dogs arrived the first thing I noticed was the Lobster Roll bun, which was lightly toasted and strangely small. It was as if the bun had shrunk somehow and it was about 3/4 the size of a normal New England Style bun. It barely contained the weenie, which tasted fine but was a little mushy - like it had been sitting in water for too long.

The chili was extraordinarily meaty and when I isolated a taste of it I found it to be very, very sweet with nary a trace of spice. The taste was almost ketchupy, but a little more complex. Think about a dark sweet Bolognese spaghetti sauce and you will be close.

The slaw was far to creamy and runny for my tastes. The flavor was a little bland, but when paired with the sweet chili it worked well, making this an overall acceptable hot dog. We will give it a 3 Weenie score. With a better bun it could be a 3.5.

While its doubtful that the QD is going to become my go-to place downtown for hot dogs, it is nice to have them back in the mix. Downtown Charleston needs another lunch spot and Friday evening dinner option. I am also looking forward to trying out the brunch!

1 comment:

Claracamille said...

The original Quarrier Street diner had great hot dogs Made with a grilled English bun.