A Hillbilly’s Haven

“Y’all come on back now!”

When you leave Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, West Virginia you hear that message, your stomach is full, you gander at a trail of antiques, and you can’t stop yourself from smiling.

The hot dog palace that Sonny and Sharie Knight built back in 1999 — when it was just a run-of-the-mill food stand for family and neighbors — is now a culinary destination for people around the globe, Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and even our capstone group from Ohio University.

Sharie escorted our group of four (Alicia, Cullen, Jake and myself with a 360-degree camera) to the entrance. The door was littered with knobs and handles and I was asked to guess which one would successfully open the gateway — I chose correctly and was designated “A true Hillbilly.”

I’ll get to the food, but the restaurant lobby was filled with knick-knacks, t-shirts, license plates and tainted pictures. Not an inch of wall — or ceiling — space was left uncovered. Then, voices rang out. “Sonny’s the Weenie Man / He owns a weenie stand / He sells the best weenies around / *Ding Ding Ding* / Sharie’s his Weenie Wife / She adds the spice that’s right / Hillbilly Hot Dogs day or night / *Ding Ding Ding* / YEEHAW!” Whether we liked it or not, we were the newest audience to “The Weenie Song.”

Our group later stepped up to the counter and listed our desired dogs: A West Virginia Dog, Taco Dog, Pizza Dog and a Pine-Appalachian Dog. Our mouths were watering as we waited in the seating area — a re-mastered school bus covered with permanent signatures. After hearing our name over the loudspeaker, I slid a tray onto our table with the dogs cut into halves for our sharing preference. It didn’t take long before our plates were licked clean and we needed to make another run for extra napkins. Full, we said our goodbyes to Sonny and Sharie and took some final pictures of the restaurant backed up by the Ohio River. We all agreed eating at Hillbilly Hot Dogs was one of the most fun dining experiences we ever had. We walked out of the door grinning from ear to ear.

“Y’all come on back now!”

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