Saturday, December 10, 2022

Ravenswood HDJ Review - The Dawg Pound

Sometimes the best hot dogs are found inside the most unlikely looking buildings, and it's hard to imagine a more unlikely looking building than Ravenswood's "The Dawg Pound." From the outside The Pound doesn't look like anything. It is in a very large and very old building that bears no resemblance to any restaurant we've ever been in. If we'd not have Google Maps guiding us we may well have driven right by. The tall pole sign confirmed we had found it, but then, after seeing the walk-up window, we almost drove on by since we really didn't want to dine ala-car-go. Another look at the Google listing, though, convinced us that there was inside dining somewhere in there. 

But even after we found the entrance (which is kind of hidden on the right-rear of the building and not well-labeled as the entrance), walking into the tiny space that it opened into was still not matching up with our expectations for the number one-rated local restaurant in Ravenswood according to Google reviews. It was only after we were greeted and invited to find a seat in the adjacent dining room did we finally feel like we'd arrived at a bonafide HDJ. 

I should say, we found a seat in one of the adjacent dining rooms. There are three. Two of them with bars. And they are comfortable and decorated with care. They are just hard to find for the first time visitor. 

But hey, we don't score on decor and ease of access here, we are only concerned with the hot dogs, so let's talk about those. 

First, this is the Ohio Valley, so we know that we have to say "sauce," which we hate, because "sauce, slaw, mustard and onions" just doesn't roll off the tongue as well a "chili, slaw..." does it? And since this is a full-service restaurant and -- despite the name -- does not specialize in hot dogs, we're going to have to ask for no ketchup. That's a given. 

But once we've cleared these two hurdles, all that's left is to wait on our order and look around at the myriad of stuff that adorns the walls of the three dining rooms. Mostly Ravenswood High School and WVU themed, but also lots of NASCAR and general sports stuff. There's a lot to look at, and we barely got started before our hot dogs arrived. 

First off, I have to say I was fooled by the words on the menu into thinking this was going to be a ginormous Genteel Dog. I don't recall the exact wording -- something like "overflowing with toppings" -- but it was sufficient to make me believe that one would be enough. In reality, the hot dog was just average sized. The toppings were applied generously though, so no foul.

The bun was not steamed, but soft. It was warm but a bit crusty on the outside, like it had been oven-warmed. Not crusty enough to be problematic, but enough to deduct a half-Weenie from it's score. 

The chili, I mean sauce, was tasty with not much spiciness outside a slight chili powder flavor. The slaw was creamy and very sweet. The two paired well. The onions were nicely chopped, but were red which for some purists is a no-no. They didn't hurt the flavor here. The weenie seemed basic and not waterlogged, so I guessed it was lightly grilled. The mustard was applied evenly and almost invisibly. 

Overall the hot dog was  very good. The lack of steamed bun hurts a little, but it was still soft and easy to handle. The pairing of the sauce and slaw was just right. We'll give The Dawg Pound a 4 1/2 Weenie score. Pretty good by Ohio Valley standards.

They have lots of other things on the menu, and the atmosphere seems like it would be a cheerful place for lunch or dinner even if you weren't in the mood for hot dogs. 

But who is ever not in the mood for hot dogs? 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Montgomery HDJ Review - Leslie's Restaurant & Pub

Several readers have sent suggestions that we should review this newish HDJ in the upper Kanawha Valley. A recent trip that way gave us the opportunity to stop in for lunch. 

Leslie's is located on the lower end of Montgomery, just across the road from the giant Marsico Brothers American flag. It's also steps away from the local Dairy Queen, which has some of the worst hot dogs we've ever reviewed, so we were hopeful -- for the sake of the hot dog-loving Montgomery population -- that Leslie's would have good quality hot dogs. According to recent blog contributor Dale Claskey and others, we were not going to be disappointed. 

But we kinda were.

Don't get us wrong, Leslie's hot dogs are good, just not great. Every part of the hot dogs was was perfectly fine, but nothing about it was special. The only slights we could have is that you need to be careful when ordering because "everything" includes ketchup, and that they have one of those wrongfully named "English" hot dogs on the menu, but we're not holding that against them. 

The place is clean and the service is delightfully friendly if not terribly quick at the height of the lunch hour. A steady stream of to go orders kept the kitchen busy no doubt, but the relatively small number of tables didn't seem to account for the backlog. Not a terrible wait, but long enough to be noticeable. We could have shot a quick game of pool if we knew we had time. But we're not holding that against them either. 

Breaking down the hot dog, the chili was flavorful with barely a trace of spice, and the slaw was creamy but not sweet. The bun wasn't steamed. But you could tell that the hot dog was assembled with care, and that Leslie's gives a hoot about hot dogs. That's worth a lot. 

We're going to give Leslie's a solid 4 Weenie rating. Not as high as some of our readers seem to think it deserves, but still the best hot dog in Montgomery. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

One Reader's Opinion About (Parts Of) the 2022 West Virginia Hot Dog Trail

 (Editor's Note: Facebook follower and all-round hot dog fan Dale Caskey took a trip from his home in Kentucky to Southern West Virginia to check out some of the HDJs on our list. This is his report, and the opinions he expresses are NOT the views of the West Virginia Hot Dog Blog, although we think he's spot on about Hinton.)

So this years list has inspired me to get out and sample some new to me West Virginia Hot Dog Joints. As I live in NE KY I’m most familiar with the Huntington area restaurants. I’ve eaten at those for years. Took 2 short 1 overnight trips in the past few weeks. Ate at 9 Hot Dog Joints. 6 are on the Trail list (marked with an *) and 3 are not.

1. Leslie’s (Montgomery)

2. Fat Eddie’s (Mt. Nebo) *

3. Swiftwater General Store (Lansing) *

4. Huskey’s (North Charleston) *

5. Hot Diggity Dog’s (North Charleston) *

6. Jim’s Drive-In (Lewisburg)

7. Kirk’s (Hinton)

8. Dairy Queen (Hinton) *

9. Chum’s (Marmet) *

Leslie’s Restaurant & Pub (in Montgomery) may be a dark horse to make a WV HD future Trail list. A fellow reader on this site suggested that I try it out. This placed opened in the Fall of 2021. Excellent Hot Dog! Creamy world class slaw. Clean sports bar type place. Would give this dog an A rating.

Fat Eddies didn’t blow me away. Smallish sized dog kinda in between a standard WV and a Cincy style Coney. Would rate as a low average WV dog...Rating C-

Swiftwater General Store has a new, sparkling clean, beautiful operation. Hot Dog while a larger wiener than standard was excellent. I would imagine that other menu items would be great there as well. Just kind of wondering why the home Swiftwater in Charleston isn’t on the Trail list? Rating A-

Huskey’s was very old school. Reminded me of my local HDJ as a kid...”Big Ben’s”, RIP. Interesting the absence of the restaurant name on most all of the signage. Really good HD though. Rating B+

Hot Diggity Dogs so I could sample and compare each of them. This place was much more modern and maybe just a tad bit spiffier than the former. To be honest, while both dogs were very good, I preferred the Huskey Dog. Kudos to Hot Diggity Dogs for some fabulous macaroni salad though. Hot dog rating B

Jim’s Drive-In is a legit 1950’s Drive-In. Thought that I would pop by at 10:30 am on a Saturday morning and take a few pics while waiting for them to open. Well upon arrival I found 27 vehicles in the lot as they opened at 10:00 am. The locals truly love there HDJ. Borderline Trail worthy. The Dog was good. Rating B-

Hinton Impressions:

If you want a good hot dog, don’t expect it in Hinton. Went in excited to rate which is better between these two iconic joints. Neither impressed. Kirk’s was actually near disgusting. Filthy floors, sour order taker and of course no towels in the rest room. If you want to order the most expensive standard WV HD in the State, well at $3.79 a pop Kirk’s takes the prize as I haven’t seen any to rival that price. Rating D-

Dairy Queen was much cleaner. Beautiful and interesting multi decked interior seating overlooking the NEW River was a highlight. Wasn’t blown away by the hot dog though. Dog was a Hinton (but no where else in the State) bargain at $2.99. Rating D+

Both Hinton restaurants were busy on the Saturday afternoon that I was there. There’s no doubt of their loyal local followings.

Chum’s was the Absolute star of my 9 new WVHDJ tour. Yellow mustard used is both unique and scrumptious! Excellent Hot Dog. I really really liked it. Beautiful, Clean and efficient roadside stand operation. One of if not the Best HD in the State. Rating A+

Monday, July 25, 2022

The 2022 West Virginia Hot Dog Trail

It's Here! The 2022 edition of the West Virginia Hot Dog Trail is live. 

Starting and ending in the Capital City, Charleston, the route takes you to 38 of the best Hot Dog Joints in West Virginia in over 800 miles of driving through the beautiful Mountain State! 

Click here to go to the map in Google Maps

Here is this year's list in driving order. Hours and websites are based on published information and not guaranteed to be accurate:

Super Weenie
805 Quarrier St, Charleston
304) 410-0364
Mon-Fri 11am- 3pm

Chum's Hot Dogs
8315 McCorkle Ave, Marmet
(304) 949-2486
Mon-Fri 10:30am - 6pm

West Madison Grocery
302 Riverside Dr, Madison
(304) 369-1500
Mon-Fri 5:30am-6pm, Sat 9am-4pm

Parkway Drive In
401 Justice Ave, Logan
(304) 752-7703
Morrison's Drive Inn
126 Stollings Ave, Stollings
(304) 752-9872
Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 12pm-9pm

Pinnacle Drive Inn
88 Pinnacle Ave, Pineville
(304) 732-7785
Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 12pm-6pm

Lynn's Drive Inn
3705 Coal Heritage Rd, Bluewell
(304) 589-6279,"Mon-Sat 9am - 9:50pm, Sunday 11am-9:50pm

Hinton Dairy Queen
State Hwy 3,Hinton
(304) 466-1700

King Tut Drive-In
301 N Eisenhower Dr, Beckley
(304) 252-6353
Thu-Tue 10:30am-11pm

Skyline Drive In
6329 Legends Hwy, Oak Hill
(304) 469-1025,Mon-Sat 10:00-9:00
No Website

Tom's Carry Out
554 Jones Ave,Oak Hill
(304) 469-6260
Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 12pm-8pm

Swiftwater General Store - New River
464 Ames Heights Road, Lansing
(304) 900-1000
Fat Eddie's
2243 Summersville Lake Rd, Mt. Nebo
(304) 872-0788
Sun-Sat 11am - 9pm

The Custard Stand
51 S Main St, Webster Springs
(304) 847-7774
Sun-Sat 11am-10pm

The Spot Dairy Bar
922 Gauley Turnpike, Flatwoods
(304) 765-7466
Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 12pm-8pm

Flying Dogs
6009 Main St, Jane Lew
(304) 884-7249
Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat 7am-4pm

Ritzy Lunch
456 W Pike St, Clarksburg
(304) 622-3600
Mon-Sat 7am-3pm

Dave's Famous T&L Hot Dogs
1202 E. Pike St, Clarksburg
(304) 622-3994,
Hometown Hot Dogs
37 Middletown Rd, Fairmont
(304) 367-0143

Woodys Restaurant 
801 Morgantown Ave, Fairmont
(304) 366-4009
Mon-Sat 10am-6;30pm, Sun 11am-5:30pm

Town Hill Tavern
998 Willey St, Morgantown

Weezer's Hot Dog Shop
5992 Mason Dixon Hwy, Blacksville
(304) 432-8187,

Tito's Sloppy Doggs
1068 Market Street, Wheeling
(304) 650-6252
Mon-Fri 8-3

Bigfoot Hot Dogs
520 3rd St, New Martinsville
(304) 455-4441
Sun-Sat 9-5

Mr Diggity
2904 Grand Central Ave, Vienna
(304) 295-3320
Tues-Saturday 10:30-3:00

The Root Beer Shack
1420 Staunton Ave, Parkersburg
(304) 420-1180
Tues-Saturday 11:00-4:00

Pete's Hotdogs
230 S Church St, Ripley
(304) 372-4068
Mon-Sat 10:30 - 4:00

Tom Tom's
2407 Jackson Ave, Pt. Pleasant
Mon-Sat 10:00-8:00

Griffith and Feil Drug
1401 Chestnut St, Kenova
Mon-Sat 10am - 3pm, Sunday 12:30pm - 3:30pm

Midway West Drive In
445 6th Ave. W, Huntington
(304) 697-3644,Mon-Sat 10am - 8pm

Frostop Drive In
1449 Hal Greer Blvd, Huntington
(304) 523-6851
Mon-Sat 9am - 8pm, Sunday 10-3

Farley's Famous Hot Dogs
201 Midland Trail, Hurricane,
(304) 562-7038,
Mon-Sun 11am - 9pm

Winfield Dairy Freeze
3229 Winfield Rd, Winfield
(304) 586-4410
Mon-Sun 10:30am - 9pm

54 MacCorkle Ave, St. Albans
(304) 722-6220
Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-5pm

Nitro Dairy Queen
3601 36th St,Nitro
(304) 755-4690
Sun-Sat 11am - 10Ppm

Ridgeview BBQ
5010 Fairlawn Ave,Institute
(304) 400-4650
Mon-Fri 11am - 7pm

Huskey's Dairy Bar
2422 7th Ave, Charleston
(304) 342-6875
Mon-Fri 7am - 7pm, Sat 11am - 5pm

Hot Diggity Dogs
2313 7th Ave,Charleston
(304) 346-3647
Mon-Fri 11am - 5pm

The 2022 West Virginia Hot Dog Trail - The Narrative

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Hot Dogs!

We're starting this year's West Virginia Hot Dog Trail in the Capital City, and there's no place in the heart of Charleston to get a better hot dog than Super Weenie.

First Stop: Super Weenie!
We love hot dog joints that are serious about hot dogs, and Super Weenie is very serious about hot dogs. In fact, it is their motto, printed on the door of the HDJ. You can't find a better, more authentically West Virginia hot dog anywhere. Chili is great, slaw is perfection and everything else is just great. You can get other styles of hot dogs at Super Weenie too, but who cares? 

There are other places in Charleston to get a good hot dog, and we'll come back to them at the end of our tour, but for now it's time to hit the road and up the river to Marmet. Chum's Hot Dogs is the only place to get authentic yellow slaw hot dogs. Yellow slaw is sweeter that the white kind. That sweetness means that it needs a spicier chili to really bring out the flavor. Chum's accomplishes this well. Better than anyone. Period.

Heading Down Through Coal Country

West Madison Grocery was the last HDJ to be added to our trail last year, and it remains one of the best surprises on our tour. The hot dogs at West Madison Grocery are surprisingly good. Don't be afraid of this tired-looking building or the slightly disheveled interior. The hot dogs are fantastic, and it is a good example of ho
w great things can come from unexpected places, especially country grocery stores that have been slinging chili and slaw for decades and just know how to do it right. This is one of those places, for sure. It's a great warm-up for what awaits another half-hour down Corridor G in Logan. 

Parkway Drive In is technically in Justice, not Logan, but it's the first of the great HDJs you will come to heading into town, and most Loganites seem to rank it third. But this is Logan, where even the third best hot dog is still better than 95% of the rest of the state's offerings. Seriously, we don't see how you can give a demerit to Parkway. as its hot dogs are well-crafted and delicious, with some of the sweetest slaw we've found. 
The Perfect Utilitarian Dog of Morrison's

Next up, what many consider the King of West Virginia Hot Dogs, Morrison's Drive Inn in Stollings.

While we've noticed some variation in the quality over the years, we always come back to Morrison's when asked where the best hot dog in the state can be found. It is simply perfect. Chili, slaw, steamed bun wrapped in cellophane, the whole thing is perfection. 

Let's continue on to Pineville and Pinnacle Drive Inn. Other than Morrison's, we have received more emails about Pinnacle than any other HDJ in southern WV. While we found the hot dogs to be good but not great, and they only offer New England Style buns, which is nontraditional, Pinnacle's legion of fans convinced us to include it as a stop on the trail. 

After leaving Pineville, we head over to Bluewell to find the most southern HDJ on The Trail, Lynn's Drive In. This Five-Weenie classic with "Lynn's Famous Chili" and slaw that is made with finely shredded cabbage instead of the normal grated kind. See? Wasn't that worth the drive?

National Park Hot Dogs

Next we're heading back north to the New River Gorge and our very own National Park. Well, maybe not in the Park per se, but close. The Hinton Dairy Queen is one of two Dairy Queens on our list. There is no disputing the immense popularity of this HDJ, and its fans are vocal and loyal. This is also the first time -- but not the last -- we'll encounter upside-down toppings with the slaw buried under the chili. We'll save the arguments for another day, but according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, cool toppings always go on top. The Hinton DQ also has one of the best dining room views of any HDJ in the state, so check it out. 

Leaving the Gorge and heading up on the plateau we find Beckley, which for a city its size has remarkably few good hot dogs and no great ones. But the one place worth going just for the atmosphere is King Tut Drive In, whose coolness overcomes the mediocre hot dog. It's not a bad hot dog, its just not a great hot dog, and we struggled with the decision to include it on this list again this year.

Hank's Last Stop, or Skyline Drive In
But just a hoot and a holler from Beckley is
Skyline Drive In
, or as locals know it, "Hank's Last Stop." This little roadside HDJ in Hilltop has delicious hot dogs and some great Hank Williams memo
rabilia to honor its most famous decedent.  

Just a little further up the road, in Oak Hill, is one of the best hot dogs on the list. Tom's Carry Out in Oak Hill has been selling great hot dogs since the dawn of time, apparently. At least that is the impression we get from the hundreds of people who live or have lived in Oak Hill and have been eating Tom's hot dogs their entire lives. 

Heading north on Rt. 19, just across the New River Gorge Bridge lies the community of Lansing, and a short distance down Ames Heights Road is the Swiftwater General Store. An offshoot of Charleston's Swiftwater Cafe -- which has some of the best hot dogs in the capital city -- this location keeps up the tradition and provides visitors to the New River Gorge National Park with the chance to sample an authentic and delicious West Virginia hot dog. 


Back on Rt. 19 and continuing north, the next great HDJ you'll find is Fat Eddies. The Mt. Nebo HDJ is spittin' distance from the Summersville Dam, and considered by many to be the best in the state. To be sure, Fat Eddies serves up a 5 Weenie classic that is as good as any we have found. The chili has a nice little spice and the slaw is nearly perfect in texture. Every part of this hot dog is perfect. 

Settle in for the next part of the trip, because it's a long and winding country road to The Custard Stand in Webster Springs. Maybe the most famous hot dog chili in West Virginia because of its owners' drive and gumption to have it sold by national retailers (they even appeared on the Shark Tank TV show pitching their chili to investors!), when it's found in its native habitat it's better than the packaged-for-store stuff, and the rest of their toppings are also great. 

One more stop on this leg of our journey to the center of the state, and that is The Spot. Now we're not sure where The Spot got its name, whether it is because it is almost the dead-center spot on the WV  state map, or whether it is very close to the spot where the Braxton County Monster was first sighted in 1952. Maybe it's because it is the spot to get excellent hot dogs. Who knows? All of those fit, but serving up consistently great hot dogs for years, it is definitely deserving of a spot on our list. 

Above The Slaw Line

As we move north through Lewis County and into Harrison, our trek will take us across The Slaw Line into a land where some people stubbornly refuse to accept the truth that the rest of us hold as self-evident: A true West Virginia Hot Dog always includes coleslaw. The main promulgators of this resistance are from Marion County, but their brainwashing efforts have reached down into Harrison County as well. Never fear though, there are HDJs that offer slaw -- and some of it quite good -- in this otherwise land of slawlessness. 

But before we actually cross the Slaw Line, we have a stop to make in Jane Lew. Flying Dogs is the first HDJ on our entire journey in which we will need to specially request coleslaw as an add-on. Located just a few miles south of the Slaw Line, it's not completely surprising that an "everything" dog does not include slaw. This is pretty normal for what we think of as kind of the Slaw Line DMZ - that gray area that extends for a few miles in each direction where slaw availability is unpredictable, but it is available and it is very good. We gave this hot dog a 4 1/2 Weenie rank even with having to ask for slaw; it's that good.

Ritzy Lunch

Back out on I79 and heading north, we'll cross the Slaw Line on our way to our next stop, Ritzy Lunch in downtown Clarksburg. You'll have to ask for slaw on their everything dog, but you won't get a side-eye for doing so. This venerable establishment knows what its customers like, and proudly serve up delicious slaw when out-of-towners show up for lunch. They pile it on, too, and the heft of their hot dogs is as good as anywhere we've reviewed. Just a great HDJ living dangerously on the slawless frontier. 

On the way back to I79, make a stop at T&L Hot Dogs in Bridgeport.  The great thing about T&L is that right there on their menu, even in the mostly slaw-denying Harrison County, is a "West Virginia Dog" with sauce (oh yeah, forgot to mention we're back in "sauce" territory), slaw, mustard and onions, just like God intended. 

Next up is Hometown Hot Dogs on the outskirts of Fairmont, in White Hall near the Middletown Mall. There are numerous Hometowns in North Central, but we've found this one to be the most consistent location. A word to the wise about Marion County sauce: Even the mild is spicy, so be careful ordering up. "Medium" is pretty darned hot by southern West Virginia standards. Of course, coleslaw helps moderate the heat, so make sure you ask for it. 

Moving on into Fairmont proper, our next stop is Woody's. One of Fairmont's favorite HDJs, Woody's -
Fairmont's Woody's -
Where Slaw Runs Free

-while optional and must be asked for -- offers coleslaw as a topping. While this must confound those Marion County anti-slaw purists, it is a welcome offering to the vast majority of West Virginians. Woody's sells great hot dogs in a cozy and nostalgic atmosphere. What more could we ask for? we were tempted to stop the Trail right here just to make a point with those anti-slaw activists, but we decided to take the high road. Which leads to Morgantown.

 For some reason, great HDJs just don't seem to last in Morgantown, but one exception is Town Hill Tavern, a watering hole at the top of Willey Street that proclaims "Best chili dogs in town" (see? We're back to chili!). On their menu is the "Mountaineer Dog" which has chili and slaw standard, but you'll have to specify mustard and onions to make it right. 

Under The Mason Dixon Line, Just Barely

From Morgantown we're going to venture into new territory this year. Heading northwest to the little town of Blacksville, we're going to make a stop at Weezer's Hot Dogs. Quite literally, this is the most north you can go in North Central West Virginia, and its hot dogs have a distinct northern flavor, but thankfully you can still get slaw on your chili dog. 

From Weezer's, the fastest way to our next official stop is north through Washington Pennsylvania, but let's instead take the low road through the town of Hundred so we can stay in the confines of our state. While in Hundred, we might suggest stopping at Dairy Dream, who serves hot dogs but we can't include them on the list because we've not tried them. Maybe someone can give us a report from the road.

So the next official stop is in Wheeling. Now we thought we'd never include a Wheeling HDJ on our list, because the city is culturally more Pennsylvania and Ohio than WV, but Tito's Sloppy Doggs changed our mind by putting a hot dog named "West Virginia" on their menu that has all the right fixin's. 

From Wheeling we'll head down the Ohio Valley to New Martinsville and Bigfoot Hot Dogs. Even with an upcharge for slaw -- a definite no-no for us -- we had to include this place for its uniqueness. Try it, you won't be disappointed.

We spent some time in the Parkersburg area recently trying to find HDJs worthy of inclusion this year. We like the hot dogs at Mr. Diggity in Vienna, and where else can you get a side of lobster bisque with your hot dog?

Of all the HDJs in Parkersburg proper, it was The Root Beer Shack that impressed us the most. The hot dogs were great, and washing them down with frosty frozen root beer is a definite plus. 

Pete's in Ripley 
From Parkersburg down to Ripley we go to visit Pete's Hot Dogs, a venerable old HDJ that has hands-down the best hot dogs in Jackson County. 

Next stop is in Mason County. Point Pleasant has a few HDJs to choose from, but the one the locals rave about is Tom Tom's. If you can catch them open, you'll want to grab a couple for the road, because the next stop is a ways down Rt. 2, all the way to Kenova.

On the way to Kenova, you will pass a place that looks like a junkyard that caters to negative stereotypes of Appalachian culture. They sell hot dogs there, but we recommend looking off to the right and keep driving. Much better hot dogs await. 

There is really only one place you can get a true West Virginia Hot Dog in Kenova, 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.

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. 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 place in Parkersburg and as their 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. 

Our next stop on the Trail is Farley's Famous Hot Dogs in Hurricane. The hot dogs at Farley's are delicious with sauce that is nearly the perfect texture and decent slaw to boot (oh, and this is the last time it'll be called "sauce" for a while - nothing but "chili" ahead). It's another drive-in with root beer, too so that's a bonus.

Next, we'll head on down Route 34 all the way to and through Winfield to stop at The Dairy Freeze. The Freeze (as locals call it) feature great tasting weenies and classic tasting Southern W.Va. hot dog chili (see, I told you it would be called "chili") with a little spice and a whole lotta taste. The slaw is a little coarse but tastes great. 

From Winfield we'll stay on the south side of the Kanawha River and travel down the road that used to be Rt. 35 to St. Albans and Bammy's Chili Dogs. Bammy's knows how to make a great WV hot dog. The spicy chili is perfectly balanced by excellent slaw; creamy and sweet and applied in perfect proportion.

Next we'll jump over the Nitro/St. Albans Bridge to the Nitro Dairy Queen, our second DQ on the trail. 

Leaving Nitro, we have one more stop before we breach the city limits of Charleston, and that is
Ridgeview BBQ in Institute. Located right across Rt. 25 from the WV State University Campus - this BBQ joint also offers great hot dogs with smoky chili. Time your visit well, though, since they aren't open weekends. 

Continuing on Rt. 25 into Charleston, the next HDJ you will encounter is the venerable Huskey's Dairy Bar. Huskey's has been selling delicious hot dogs on this corner for decades, and they are still just as good today. If you have room, make sure you get one of their famous chocolate shakes too. 

Hot Diggity Dog - Our final stop

You barely need to get back in the car to drive one block to the last stop on this year's West Virginia Hot Dog Trail, Hot Diggity Dogs. Take our advice, though, and don't get the yellow slaw. Their regular slaw is superior, and the yellow stuff pales in comparison with that you already tried at Chums. Hot Diggity Dogs hosts regular cruise-in events, so try to time your visit to coincide with one for a nostalgic atmosphere.

So that's it, Hot Dog fans. 38 Four or Five Weenie Hot Dog Joints in just a little over 800 miles. Sure you'll be tired, but shame on you if you are still hungry!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

The 2022 West Virginia Hot Dog Trail - Preamble

Because a trip has to start and end somewhere, last year's Hot Dog Trail began where Interstate 64 enters the state (Kenova) and ended a short distance from where I77 crosses the Pennsylvania line. We realized that there were several problems with this approach, and tried to rectify a few of them this year.

Problem number one was beginning the trail in Huntington, a place that already has a misplaced sense of importance when it comes to hot dogs. Charleston, being the Capital City, is the natural place to begin the journey. And why not make it a circuit and end in Charleston too? 

Problem two was having the trail end in the north, where decent hot dogs become fewer and farther between with every passing mile. 

Problem three was leaving out the Mid-Ohio Valley. Inclusion of the MOV region allowed us to take a brief trip into the Northern Panhandle, whether it deserves it or not. 

Now we know are still places that have great hot dogs that are far off the Trail's route, but hey, there's always next year. 

But this year we will take a route that travels through the Coalfields on much the same path as last year, snakes up through the New River Gorge and Gauley River drainage and takes I79 through the nearly slawless North Central region. But instead of exiting the state, let's take a left turn and sneak under the Mason Dixon Line and around to Wheeling, shall we? And once in sight of the Ohio River, we'll follow it more or less until we make our way to Kenova. Then it's a quick trip back to Charleston. 

This route will take a bit longer, but you'll have 9 additional opportunities for hot dogs.

So saddle up, it's almost WV Hot Dog Trail time!

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Parkersburg HDJ Review - Broadway Sandwich Ship

Broadway Sandwich Shop

This is the shortest the line got in the 30 minutes we spent in the HDJ. Moments after this shot, it swelled to 10 people. 

The Utilitarian Dogs of Broadway

When we began looking for new HDJs to include in this year's WV Hot Dog Trail, we realized we ignored the Ohio Valley in the 2021 edition. Plotting a course down Rt. 2 from Wheeling means that we will go right through Parkersburg, so we looked back through our old reviews and Googled to find out what was new there. We came across one that fit neither category: an old HDJ that had somehow escaped the watchful eye of our Weenie Wonks, so we thought we'd better check it out. 

Three things about Broadway Sandwich Shop that no one will argue with are:

They are popular.

They are fast.

They are cheap. 

Here's how we found out these three things: We pulled up and looked at the Long line of customers waiting and immediately thought "ain't nobody got time for this," but before that thought had escaped our lips we realized the line was moving pretty darned fast, so we went in. As soon as we got in line, it continued to grow behind us and it never stopped the entire time we were eating our hot dogs, which cost us 99 cents each (plus 20 cents for slaw, but we'll get to that). Popular. Fast. Cheap. 

But good? 

First, let's describe the sauce (yes, "sauce" here this close to the Ohio River, but to be honest, calling this stuff chili just wouldn't be right no matter where it was). Tasty, but exceedingly runny. That about sums it up. It's more of a condiment than an integral part of the hot dog. 

Now let's address that 20 sent slaw. Ok, it's close to Ohio, but this is West Virginia and hotdogs have slaw on them. Don't charge extra. What's next, an upcharge to get a bun? But we have to admit, the slaw is pretty good. They even serve it in bulk and we were tempted to grab a pint to take to Fairmont with us. 

The weenie is super-small caliber, and interestingly enough, the menu board offers an extra weenie as an upgrade. First time we've seen that anywhere. 

Overall the hot dog is decent, but we get the feeling that the allegiance it enjoys from so many people is based primarily on price, not quality. We'll give it a generous 3 1/2 Weenie score and keep looking for that Parkersburg HDJ that is worthy of being included on this year's Trail.