Tube steak, weiners, frankfurters, hot dogs — no matter the name — the combination of bread and meat with an array of add-ons never ceases to disappoint.
July has been dubbed hot dog month, but all summer the famous picnic and barbecue pleaser reigns supreme. It is a perfect time to fire up the grill and throw on those puppies for any occasion or on any ordinary day.
Those lucky enough to live in areas where hot dog stands abound can make a quick trip to the beckoning and appealing structure just waiting for customers to chow down. City dwellers have the advantage to stop at carts that dot the streets with colorful umbrellas for a quick fix of the tasty treat.
In 2015, consumers spent more that $2.5 billion on hot dogs in U.S. supermarkets, according to hot-dog.org so imagine the figures for restaurants, stands, and carts!
My husband is one of those that can’t get enough. He prefers chili, onions, mustard, and slaw, but it is a matter of whatever pleases the taste buds. Toppings often vary geographically but are never right or wrong – it is up to the hot dog lover to decide. Tomatoes even top some of the more unusual dogs as well as pickles. You really can’t rule anything out when topping a hot dog.
The summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day continue to make up the “hot dog season.” Hot dog producers estimate that an average of 38 percent or $614 million of the total number of hot dogs are sold during this time, according to hot-dog.org. Ten percent of annual retail hot dog sales occur during July.
BUT – The Hot Dog may be on the way out here in the Valley!
The first location that the hot dog has vanished from in the Winchester area is Throx Market’s two stores. They use to offer a variety of the summer favorite including authentic Chicago style dogs, chili and cheese dog, BBQ bacon dog. Jeremy Throckmorton says that it is hard to say that a hot dog is nutritious and based on sales, the dog has come off our menu. Their two locations include Throx Market Station at 1016 Millwood Pike and Throx Brew Market and Grille at 1518 Martinsburg Pike.
The last time I checked, Red Fox Creamery , 146 N. Loudoun St., Winchester, on the Old Town Walking Mall, is only open for lunch but features a hot dog special with chips and a drink. The establishment boasts that all food is homemade, including the many flavors of ice cream. It is convenient and orders are filled quickly at the downtown location.
On down the valley at 910 Reservoir St. in Harrisonburg, Va., Sam’s Hot Dog Stand provides a more traditional dog with chili, onions, cole slaw, and a beef weiner. The stand first opened in 1983 in Huntington, W.Va. and has continued to grow with over 40 locations. Specialties include hand-spun milkshakes and seasoned fries.
News has it that the hot dogs has been found in a unique location such as Dogs 11, 2142 Winchester Ave, Martinsburg, WV. While the state of West Virginia has a myriad of hot dog stands and restaurants that serve the beloved dog, the Easter Panhandle has fewer hot dog locations per capita than the rest of the state. But if you can find one, slaw is often or kraut is often one of the preferred toppings.
Sometimes hot dogs are available when we least expect them to be. While taking in an outdoor movie at Family Drive-In Theatre, Stephens City, you can enjoy a hot dog with a meal or alone. All types of options abound at the two-screen movie location that is like a trip back in time. Also the ever-loving corn dog is also on the menu — my family can never pass up a corn dog! A different variety than the traditional hot dog, it offers a unique taste with weiner and corn batter, often smothered in mustard.
“I have to admit I am guilty for stepping off of my nutritious path two weekends ago. I was at the Family Drive In and my stomach begged for a corn dog. It was just as I imagined it – delicious,” said Nancy Craun, owner and founder of Go Blue Ridge Travel. “However over July 4th I said a firm no to my wonderful other half as he begged for a dog to grill.”
There is no indication that the dog is leaving for good so one can always head to the grocery store where the hot dog connoisseur can try out one of the many brands on display. It isn’t as much fun and takes a little longer, but will help satisfy that longing for the ever-popular American hot dog!
Give us your comments to where the future of the hot dog is headed.