Monday, October 30, 2017

A Sad, Sad Day for WV Hot Dog Fans

We've seen it happen all too many times. Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas just to name a few. People who were the best in the game and then sadly went downhill. People now remember them not  just for their greatness, but for the lackluster performance of their declining years.

It happens with Hot Dog Joints, too. And now, it has happened to the King of WV Hot Dogs.

A trip south this weekend gave me the opportunity to stop in for hot dogs at Morrisons Drive Inn in Logan (OK, technically Stollings). When I say "opportunity" I mean it in the most positive way: I look forward to a trip to Morrisons - which has topped every list of best WVHDs we have produced since 2007 - like a five year old child looks forward to Christmas morning. Or at least, I used to. It all changed this weekend.

Driving up to the curb-service parking area, my mouth was already watering. When the car hop came to my window I got my first inkling that this trip might be different when she asked if I wanted slaw on my hot dogs with everything. What? How's that? I did say everything, right?

I found this more than a little unsettling. It was like buying tickets to Disneyland and begin asked if I wanted Mickey Mouse to be included in the price. I expect this kind of behavior up north, closer to Fairmont, and I will tolerate it in Huntington, but please, not at Morrisons. Please, for the love of all things Holy, not Morrisons.

I shook it off.

After few minutes I began waiting on my hot dogs and remembering that they have never, ever disappointed me. I told myself that this "you want slaw with that" moment could be explained by the possibility that the car hop was new, or some other reason that didn't mean that Morrisons was slipping. I waited some more. And some more.  25 minutes for two hot dogs and fries, and they really weren't very busy.

The waiting didn't bother me. Some things, grandma always said, are worth waiting for. And surely, this had always applied to Morrisons hot dogs before.

When my order finally arrived, the first thing that I noticed was that my fries were stone cold. That's OK, I thought, I'm not here for the fries, They are but an accoutrement to the main course. And my hot dogs looked great, there inside Morrisons' signature cellophane wrappers. I expected that when I unfurled them that they would be the same delicious Utilitarian Dogs that I always had before, soft and maybe even slightly gooey from being steamed inside the wrapping.

They weren't.

The buns were hard on the bottom, almost to the point of being crunchy. The temperature of the hot dogs was not sufficient to create steam anyway. And the slaw that I was asked about? Barely there, and completely tasteless. The chili still tasted about the same as before, but it was a little bit cold and therefore had a greasy feel.

Morrisons, whose hot dogs I have never found to be deserving less than a 5 Weenie rating, has fallen so far since I was last there. This hot dog - even adjusting for my disappointment and being as objective as I can possibly be - would barely rate 3 Weenies, and that is generous.

It could have been an off day. But the King isn't allowed an off day. Part of why they were the King was due to the fact that they were 100% dependable for decades.

I am shaken to the core. The one thing that seemed so constant in my life has fallen from its pedestal. The King might not be dead, but he is certainly showing signs of mortality. And now, perhaps, it is a good day to start thinking about who will take Morrisons' place on the throne.

Nominations, please.