Kenova Edition: Sam's Hot Dogs

By Candace Nelson - 10:00 AM

Huntington Sams Hot Dogs

We're making our way through all of the Sam's Hot Dog stand locations in West Virginia, this time in Kenova.

This one has a drive-thru, which is always convenient. And the menu is a good bit more expansive. Nonetheless, I had to get a standard hot dog to compare. And, as always, it's solid with chili, slaw, mustard and onions.

But it made me think about how this whole thing got started. And, I didn't realize it took off with some help of Rocco Muriale in Ceredo.

Huntington Sams Hot Dogs

The Story of Sam's:

Frank Lucente grew up in a small town in West Virginia. As a young boy, Frank often enjoyed spicy chili dogs at the town hot dog stand. Even as he grew older and moved away, Frank would always stop in for a hot dog on his visits home. Years later, the town stand closed and Frank was forced to look elsewhere to satisfy his craving. He went to see the owner of the old stand to convince him to pass on the recipe. But the owner refused saying he would "take it to the grave".

Denied, Frank soon discovered that the original recipe for the chili sauce belonged to an elderly woman still living in his hometown. For years she had been cooking up the sauce and selling it at her church bazaar. According to her, the stand owner had changed the recipe over the years but the woman gladly provided the original recipe.

Frank recruited his business partner and good friend Rocco Muriale to help invent an even better chili sauce recipe. The chef at the popular Rocco's Ristorante, Rocco spent several months cooking up batches of chili sauce. After six months, he had the perfect recipe! In 1983 wanting to share the delicious invention with the public, Frank and Rocco opened the first Sam's Hotdog Stand in Huntington, West Virginia....ending the search for the perfect hot dog.

Grade: B

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