ToquiNotes: A Hot Diggity Dog Blog on Best Hot Dogs Ever in City, Harrison County and Well Beyond

By Jeff Toquinto on February 03, 2018 from ToquiNotes via Connect-Bridgeport.com

As we often do here in the ToquiNotes blog, we try to balance the serious with the fun. And if it’s fun, then there’s a good chance that discussion will focus around food.
 
Bingo. I like to do it frequently and even revisit some older blogs and update them because the food industry is always progressing.
 
In this blog, we’ve talked about deceased restaurants and there was a lengthy and in-depth discussion about the best pizza ever in Bridgeport and surrounding areas. This week, it’s back to a West Virginia staple – the hot dog.
 
Although it doesn’t get the buzz of a dog from Chicago or a Coney Island Dog, I’ve been to more than one place where the menu featured a West Virginia Dog. The only problem is that the two places I’ve seen them in recent years – the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp along the St. John’s River in Florida and one at Arbetter’s Hot Dogs in Cocoa, Fla – had slaw on them. I’m no fan of slaw and from all indications, slaw is more of a southern West Virginia hot dog trend, but I digress.
 
The traditional “hot dog” establishment used to be commonplace in every community. Today, it’s hard to find them, but they’re out there. And in fact, you can get a good hot dog at plenty of places that don’t just specialize in hot dogs.
 
So where is the best hot dog I’ve ever had?
 
Before I get to my favorite hot dogs of all time, I’ll talk about some of my favorites and some places I don’t even know about. Today, in Bridgeport, the only main hot dog place is the T&L Brand. And trust me; you can’t go wrong with anything from T&L whether it’s on its Main Street location or the one at the Meadowbrook Mall. If you want my opinion, go for the medium level chili – not enough zip to be uncomfortable, but enough zing to add some great flavor.
 
If you want another good place, try Della's Deli - also on Main Street. The chili there is to die for and I've asked the owner to let me know as soon as they sell it in bulk - I like it that much.
 
And don't forget Dairy Queen. The hot dogs there have never been too bad in my opinion. 
 
Of course, when talking old hot dog places in Bridgeport, the one location that is always mentioned is Andy’s Hot Dogs. Andy’s was located in the area situated on property that today would face Bridgeport Tire, according to my friend and Bridgeport historian Dick Duez.
 
Duez fondly recalls the days back in the early 1960s when he and a group of friends would spend days cutting yards for around $3 apiece and then get ready for a feast. Duez said for $1 you could buy eight hotdogs, a coke and a candy bar.
 
 “That was a pretty good deal,” said Duez. “We’d then go up and sit on a wall on Fifth Street and watch the cars go by,” Duez said.
 
So back to the question at hand – the best hot dog that I ever had – there was a place in Fairmont called Teresa’s Confectionary. It was located just off the main drag, on a side street beside McDonald’s and me and my college buddies would often eat breakfast and lunch there. And to be honest, they had the best pancakes I’ve ever had to this day.
 
Still, the area offered plenty of good hot dogs then and now. I’m still a fan of Ritzy Lunch in downtown Clarksburg. The chili on their dogs is hard to top.
 
As for the past, the best memories come from a little place called Chestnut Hills Market on Chestnut Street in Clarksburg. Good, but not great hot dogs. However, they were the last place that offered the always good to find “3 Hot Dogs for a Dollar” deal. With our family looking to stretch a buck as far as it could go that was a prime stop anytime the family got “take out” brought home.
 
Another Chestnut, the one in the North View section of Clarksburg, also had good dogs. I also had a fondness as a really young kid for a place that I believe was called “Sisslers” near Hepzibah and a place way out in Peoria called “Judy’s Do Drop Inn.” I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention Ray Blake’s Canteen and the “Grilled Bun” hot dog with their famous “West Virginia” chili. I’ve never had the grilled bun on a hot dog before or since.
 
If you want the most unique hot dog experience, then you need only to travel back to Fairmont. There on Washington Street is Yann’s Hot Dog Stand. It’s not just food; this place is a true adventure.
 
The limited seating eatery is one in a million. The first time I went in I was stunned when a guy walked in and said “give me 40.” Five minutes later, he walked out the door with 40 dogs made in assembly line fashion right in front of you.
 
Of course, if you ate at Yann’s you knew it was best to order chocolate milk. For whatever reason, it worked best with the hot concoction. What didn’t work was asking for ketchup on your hot dog.
 
Trust me; it’s not a good thing to do.
 
As you can tell, my hot dog experience is limited, and yes, I'm aware that I've likely left some obvious choices out. Fear not. Once again, the food ball is now in your court. Give me some feedback and let me know your favorite hot dogs, favorite hot dog experiences, former places in Bridgeport and beyond or anything else that might send yours truly out for a bite to eat.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Main Street's T&L Hot Dogs, while Jeffrey Perine lathers up some dogs at Della's Deli with some of their homemade chili. Bottom photo is an old Andy's Hot Dog advertisement. 


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