Monday, July 22, 2013

Chow Time: Hillbilly Hot Dogs

Do you ever go someplace entirely new to you only to get the feeling that somehow you're home?  Where the accumulation of generations' worth of junk is immediately off-putting and comfortably familiar?  Where the jokes are inappropriate, immature, unappetizing, AND entirely hilarious?   Where the food is nothing like "Mama used to make," and that is a good thing?  Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, WV is the home for which I'd never dared to dream!

I have never posted two "Chow Time" posts in a row, but I am winding up my wild and wonderful West Virginia wingding and I didn't quite plan the sequence as carefully as I might have. 

I told you that I found my home.
Like "A Town Called Odd," I'm unsure if I should be flattered or
offended by the offer of mayorship of Teenie Weenie Land.

Opened in the waning days of the 20th Century, Hillbilly Hot Dogs' appearance belies its mere adolescence; aged outbuildings, rusty farmyard equipment, and weathered vehicles give the facilities the time worn look of a much older hillbilly holler.  While technically it is a restaurant, Hillbilly Hot Dogs is at its core a giant junkyard.  Except for the unctuous aroma of hot dog and french fry oils heavily perfuming the air, a traveler might mistake HHD for the Appalachian interpretation of Sanford and Son.  Not shy of that fact, the management has made the "Junkyard Dog" one of the premiere menu items.  

Just one of the many outbuildings on the premises of Hillbilly Hot Dogs.
I know I have a serious problem when I review this photo and see more than a
 few items that I wish I would have brought home as souvenirs from my trip.

With its tongue firmly entrenched in the hollow of its cheek (parts of the anatomy one really shouldn't think about when eating mystery-meat hot dogs), HHD takes all of the hillbilly stereotypes, embraces them, and makes them digestible for an outsider audience.  

Multiple buses are "dry docked" and repurposed as dining rooms.

At least it's two-ply.

This tree is going places!

We found our seats (in the way back where all the cool kids sit)
but not before picking up a few permanent black markers. 

Every available surface from trash cans, to windows, to weather-beaten
toys is covered in names, dates, quotes, quips, and expressions of love.
We would have gotten in serious trouble writing on the walls when we were kids.
Nevertheless, I will say that I wasn't shy about leaving my mark at HHD.

Do you ever see these plates when you're out and about?
I am always drawn to them but when it comes time to buy
them, for some reason choose to exhibit my most elusive
virtue - restraint.  I figured that signing the plate would
alleviate some of my non-buyer's remorse.

After surveying the premises and making a lasting impression on the walls and windows of a school bus, we made our way to the counter to order our hillbilly grub.  The menu, like the sprawling yard, is extensive and took some time to peruse.  The big challenge is the "Home Wrecker," a fifteen-inch hot dog with everything (and I mean everything) on it.  If a single guest can finish this big dog in under twelve minutes, the Home Wrecker and a prize T-shirt are free (stomach pump NOT included).  We toyed with the idea of ordering one and splitting it amongst our party of four but the last thing I wanted to do was waste time being sick!

At least we were assured that the food would be healthy...

Some crazy french fry concoction
I'm more of a purist.

The Hillbilly Hot Dog
(Mustard, chili, and onions)

The West Virginia Dog
(Chili, onions, and coleslaw)

The Strictly Business Dog
As I've mentioned before, my brother-in-law hails from the great state of Hawaii.
Not wanting to shame the people of his home state, he indulged in a hot dog
topped with that most-misunderstood delicacy, Spam (fried Spam at that).

A corn dog.

Refueling of all varieties takes place at HHD.

Lewd, crude, and disgustingly rude...why didn't I think of that?

It would have been entirely possible, necessary even, to have spent hours combing the grounds of Hillbilly Hot Dogs inspecting all of the accumulated treasures, dilapidated vehicles, and silly signage.  Unfortunately, we had to keep our visit brief as this was my very last stop before winging my way home.

Hillbilly Hot Dogs (Flagship Location)
6951 Ohio River Rd
Lesage, WV


Mr. Tiny


  1. When you come to Nashville to visit your fan club, well have to go to I Dream of Weenie. It's an old VW bus that's perma-parked with a little patio off it and picnic tables.they also serve things like hash brown casserole on a hot dog! Yes, that exists and its fantastic. So, when are you coming?

    1. Kimmie, you are the best!!! I think you deserve a prize for being the only person to comment on this post! I wish I could come out there and visit you guys soon but another, VERY AWESOME, travel opportunity has arisen that I must get while the gettin's good! I wills hare more details soon. Until then, save me a seat at IDofW; it sounds perfect!!!