Lesage Edition: Hillbilly Hotdogs

By Candace Nelson - 9:00 AM

Hillbilly HotdogsHillbilly HotdogsProbably the most popular hot dog stand in West Virginia - whether warranted or not - is Hillbilly Hot Dogs. This fame is probably due to its um, interesting decor that has warranted attention from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and others.

There are a few locations, but the original - complete with buses to dine in - is in Lesage, just outside of Huntington.

Hillbilly HotdogsYou can tell there's a lot going on when you don't notice the bus in the tree when you first pull up (guilty).

This place is full of junk. Really. It looks like if you took a back road down some hollers, you would find old, rusted crap in someone's back yard. I can think of a few houses like this.

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Hillbilly HotdogsParking is kind of confusing, but it's just a large gravel lot with random piles of junk interspersed. So I think you can really just park wherever. We made our way over the entrance, taking in some of the local "art."

Hillbilly HotdogsWhen you go in, there's a precarious line you form, and that's when there's a chance to glance over the menu. They feature more specialty dogs than traditional West Virginia dogs. They have things like a deep-friend hotdog, one with bbq sauce, another with egg, a pizza dog, and their famous "home wrecker," which is 15 inches and has tons of toppings.
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Being a native, I went with the "West Virginia Dog," which had sauce, mustard, onions and slaw. And a side of onion rings. They sing a "weenie song" when you tip. I paid and took my seat on the bus.

This bus has signatures all over it, so I had to add mine, of course.

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Hillbilly HotdogsMy friends and I waited for our hotdogs - one of whom got a homewrecker (they say "we've got a homeeeeeeeeeewreckerrrrrrrrr when it comes out. You can try to eat it in 12 minutes for a T-shirt, but this was just to-go) - for only a few minutes before they called our names.

Hillbilly HotdogsThe thing is that this place is mostly operating off of gimmick - I think. And it's a fun gimmick. It capitalizes on a stereotype, and people love that stereotype and it's fulfilled for them when they come here.

I just want some damn good food.

This was okay food.

The sauce wasn't super exciting. The slaw was more like picnic cole slaw - very piecey with large chunks, rather than a more cohesive thick sauce. It kind of felt like I was eating a mini salad on top of a hotdog.

Onion rings were pretty good - though I wish a homemade sauce accompanied it. That's where you see the truly authentic flair. Anybody can fry some frozen onion rings.

But, really, the food is fine. It's fine. But people go here for the entertainment. I think I'm okay with that.

Grade: B
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