Sunday, July 14, 2019

Fairmont HDJ Review - Woody's

Start a conversation about hot dogs with someone from Fairmont and you will likely find that they are either fans of Yann's or Woody's. It seems that all of Fairmont is one camp or the other, with very few people who will admit loyalty to both. This binary dichotomy is interesting to us because of one key difference: Woody's --while optional and must be asked for -- offers coleslaw as a topping, and Yann's reportedly will throw you out if you ask for it.

In other words, Woody's offers hope to the majority of West Virginians in bold defiance of the majority of Marion Countians. It is a stand worth noting, and Woody's is seemingly rewarded for it by the legions of fans that take to the WV Hot Dogs Facebook page to sing the praises of their hot dogs.

A check of the West Virginia Hot Dog Blog archives recently revealed that for some reason our team of Weenie Wonks had never done an official review of Woody's, so we set out to correct that oversight with a trip up I79 from Charleston to the slawless barrens of Marion County.

Woody's is easy to find, just a couple of stoplights off of the interstate exit. It's easy to spot, too, because it looks just like a venerable old hot dog joint ought to look; nondescript cinder block building with a faded Coca Cola pole sign.

Walking into Woody's is like walking onto a movie set. Every detail is what you would expect from a hot dog joint that has been in the same spot for decades. Photos of local celebrities adorn the walls along with WVU sports memorabilia, a long bar sits in front of the food prep area with booths along the opposite wall. The staff is friendly (a stark contrast to - ahem - other Fairmont hot dog joints) and service is fast and efficient.

Before placing our order, we asked the server what "everything" meant, even though we knew the answer: Sauce, onions and mustard, or course. This is Fairmont. We asked if we could add slaw and the server didn't flinch, wince, roll her eyes, try to throw us out or otherwise react in any way other than affirmative.

Woody's also offers a choice when it comes to the spiciness of the sauce: mild, medium or hot. Now usually, when offered with the choice we recommend spicy chili/sauce for West Virginia hot dogs, but this being Fairmont, the land of extremely hot sauce, we decided that medium was the smarter choice.

In short order, before we really had the opportunity to appreciate the historical decor and ambiance of the place, our hot dogs were delivered to out table. Slaw and all. In Fairmont. It was like a dream.

Picking up the hot dog, the first thing you notice is its lightness. The weight is seemingly kept low by two things: 1) the toppings are relatively sparsely applied, and 2) the bun is very airy and light. Usually heft is a good indicator, so we were a little concerned about the lightness.

A. James Manchin in an odd (even for him) photo.
Our first bite revealed that our concerns were unfounded. The toppings didn't need to be voluminous because the flavors were dense and complex. And delicious. A little of this chili/sauce goes a long way. The flavor is as good as any we've ever had, and far better than most. The slaw was sweet, fine and creamy, and even though there wasn't much of it, it was a perfect complement to the sauce.

We're going to rate Woody's hot dog a very high 4 1/2 out of 5 Weenies. What prevents it from being a Five? It might seem unfair to punish Woody's for the cultural bias imposed upon it because its geographical position causes slaw to be something you have to ask for, but by West Virginia hot dogs standards, this gets a half point demerit. If it was located in a place where it was socially acceptable to proudly plop a dollop of its coleslaw atop its otherwise perfectly prepared hot dog -- in other words, anywhere but Marion County -- it could be considered among the best in the state.


Unknown said...

They get a full rating of "5" from me. Best hot dogs around in my opinion! I don't think Marion County is the only county that would prefer their slaw on the side -- like fries or chips. Kinda like bringing you a glass of water with a lemon in it and you don't want lemon. I feel it's downright polite not to assume everyone wants it the same. A good hot dog with mustard, onions and sauce is the best and what I grew up on...because this "is" Fairmont <3. If you choose to add more well, that's your choice.

Unknown said...

I worked at Woody's in the 80's never did I or hear of Cole slaw on hot dog. Mustard, onions, and sause.

JessicaBuzzBee said...

I'm from Fairmont and I love Yan's and Woody's infact I have worked on my own sauce for many years and have gotten it as close to Woody's sauce as possible. Now if you're a Yan's fan and love Country Club bakery pepperoni rolls you have to try Yan's rolls Tuesday and Thursday mornings but don't waste your time! Your best bet be there by 8am because by 8:30am they are likely sold out!

Unknown said...

Would love to hear about your technique for preparing your sauce.