Monday, October 14, 2019

Fayette County HDJ Review - Skyline Drive In (Hank's Last Stop)

Most people in West Virginia know the story of Hank William's death: That he was discovered dead on New Year's Day 1953 in the back seat of his Cadillac when his driver stopped in Oak Hill; about that there is no dispute. But in Oak Hill, there are a lot of opinions about exactly where this final scene of the singer's life played out. Most reports say it was at the Pure Oil gas station on Oak Hill (that station no longer exists), but persistent local rumors say it was just outside of Oak Hill, at the Skyline Drive In located at Hilltop. The little diner has had many names over the years, but no matter how many times they change the name on the sign, almost everyone around here calls it "Hank's Last Stop." It recently reopened and the new owners have smartly reclaimed the name and added the nickname, so it is now known as "Skyline Drive In - Hank's Last Stop."

Now we're here to review hot dogs, not get into a revisionist history debate, but we would like to point out one key and seldom reported factoid that would make it more likely that the diner was the place: His driver -- when he discovered the lifeless body in the back seat--said that he was told that there was a hospital "6 or 7 miles down the road." If this had been the old Pure Oil station, that hospital would have been only a half-mile away, not six or seven. Most people around here say he stopped at the gas station to get directions to the hospital. But enough about that.

We made the trip to the newly reopened Skyline Diner recently because a recent newspaper article listed hot dogs as their specialty. Indeed their menu is very limited, but we didn't care at all. When asked what "everything" was, the server said confidently, "chili, slaw, mustard and onions" and then added "and I make my own slaw every day." Sold.

While waiting on our hot dogs we took in some of the Hank memorabilia that adorned the walls. There is far less of it than you might expect since they embrace their HDJ's history with a subtitled sign out front. A couple of album covers and a little shrine of sorts is all there is. You can't help but think that if they would go all out and make the place a kitschy roadside attraction that they would have a flood of cars pulling off of Route 19 to see it. If it were ours, we'd have an old baby blue Cadillac sitting in the lot and Hank Williams hits playing from speakers both inside and out. We'd have Hank Williams Karaoke, Hank Williams trinkets and tshirts, and maybe some Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie and Filet Gumbo on the menu. Son of a gun, we'd have big fun at The Skyline.

But what do we know? We just review hot dogs. Oh, and that reminds us:

When our hot dogs came we could immediately confirm that the slaw was homemade. You just can't get slaw from a tub that looks like that. And the first bite told us that it was good: Flavorful and creamy but not too runny. Slightly sweet. Unfortunately, the bun was a bit crusty - almost stale - but fortunately, that was the only negative we found. The chili was wonderfully complex and went well with the slaw. The weenie was big and beefy and the overall heft of the hot dog was great.

Skyline Drive In earns a 4 Weenie rating. It was a steamed bun away from being a 4.5, pushing a Five.

It's definitely worth a stop. Just hopefully not your last one.