Thursday, July 15, 2021

The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail - Hitting The Trail!

The West Virginia Hot Dog Trail is a publication of the WV Hot Dog Blog and will provide food and culture tourists with a literal roadmap with which to explore the state's best hot dog joints (HDJs). The Trail will be revealed in its entirety on National Hot Dog Day, July 21, but we'll be releasing highlights and snippets of the route every couple of days beginning July 15. This is the first post in this series:

The Trail Begins 

It is fitting that our journey begins at a place that is as far west as one can be in West Virginia without getting wet. Kenova was named for the three states that came together there -- Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia -- back before "West" (and way before "By God") was added. 

If you find yourself in Kenova, there is really only one place you can get a true West Virginia Hot Dog, and that is Griffith & Feil Soda Fountain. Technically there might be other places in town that sell hot dogs, but Griffith & Feil is by far the best, and one of the coolest hot dog joint (HDJ) spaces in the state. Its old-school soda fountain vibe adds something to its 4 1/2 Weenie hot dogs, and it's hard to add something to a bonafide 4.5 Weenie hot dog. It is simply not to be missed, and being so close to the border, we felt it was the perfect place to begin our special journey. 

Heading any direction other than east from Kenova will land you in a river, either the Ohio or the Big Sandy, so there's nowhere to go except east, which fortunately is the direction of our next stop: Huntington's Midway West Drive In

Midway is Huntington's best hot dog, bar none. Being served by super friendly car hops while you remain seated comfortably in your vehicle is icing on the cake (or should we say slaw on the hot dog?). Of course, this is Huntington, and so "sauce" is what you get on your hot dog (even though it would be called chili in most of the state) and that sauce is phenomenal in taste and texture, even if it could use a bit more spice. 

Next up, and not too far away, are the Utilitarian Dogs of Frostop. In full disclosure, we hesitated including this HDJ because their quality has been inconsistent over the years, but lately we've heard nothing but good reports -- good enough for a 4 Weenie ranking -- and there's nothing
better with a West Virginia hot dog than a big mug of root beer. We still wish that Frostop's root beer had actual frost on top, like the name implies, but we'll take it even if it is frost-free. 

As we take Hal Greer Boulevard to Interstate 64, we'll leave Huntington in our rearview mirror and head for the suburbs of Putnam County. There are better hot dogs ahead and few miles of digestion to go before our next stop. 

Next: The Burbs - Putnam County and the Lower Kanawha Valley 

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