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I am all about finding what I call, “hidden little gems.” Quite simply, this is just discovering something unexpected in an unexpected time or place. Today, I found a place that was a, “hidden little gem” and had a lunch that kind of restored my faith in humanity. Allow me to further elaborate.

My mother-in-law and I started our day bright and early, embarking on a planned shopping excursion to a Fiesta outlet in Newell, WV. I have lived in this area almost five years now, and I have been hearing about this outlet for five years. I had wanted to go for a long time-I love a good bargain. So, off we went.

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, but after an hour of meticulous shopping, we had to leave a sizable order at the checkout and walked out of the store. Neither of us was too happy. In short, we were simply met with terrible customer service.

We then tried to stop at a dive looking hot dog place on the way back. We didn’t get past the front door. My mother-in-law, already unhappy, was  growing  irate. She was ready to throw her hands up and just go to a chain restaurant for lunch. But I knew she had her heart set on a hot dog (she’s a hot dog aficionado, if that is such a thing).  We had passed another hot dog stand on our way to Newell, which caught her eye and which she had earlier said she wanted to check out. So I talked her into stopping, just to try. Trust me, it couldn’t get much worse.

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We walked into this place, a very tiny ordering lobby, cramped counters, and an impressive menu for such a small operation. There is no indoor seating, although plenty of picnic benches are available for nice days to eat outside. One wall was covered in a chronicle of one of the employees fundraising efforts for the Relay for Life-this single employee, over a span of several years, had raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000. Single-handedly.

We were greeted by two of the friendliest ladies you will ever meet in your life. We ordered and had our food in, I am not kidding you, a matter of three minutes. And the food was packed in the cutest, neatest,  although modest, take-out box possible. We got two hot dogs, an order of chili, a chicken salad sandwich, an order of potato soup, and two bottled drinks for under 20 bucks. And again, in under three minutes (although we did small talk, which made our stay a bit longer than that).

We decided to stay in the parking lot and eat in the car-sure, this isn’t the most fancy lunch you will ever eat. Far from it. But for something little more than what my mother-in-law called a, “glorified concession stand” (a fair description), the service was great, the prices were reasonable, and the food was AMAZING. My chicken salad sandwich was on a freshly baked bun and was easily comparable to a six inch sub from Subway IN SIZE, but the quality was about 10,000 times better. The chicken salad was fresh, creamy, and had just the right compliment of cool crunch and tangy zip. Even the lettuce that came on the sandwich was crisp and full of flavor, a delightful compliment. The sandwich was filling and satisfying, although quite messy as the bun was overflowing with the chicken salad (that is NOT a complaint). The sandwich was part of a 7 dollar lunch special which also came with soup. I got a potato cheese soup-also freshly made. The soup was good-a little on the watery and bland side, but still good.

My mother-in-law (the hot dog aficionado, remember) said the last time she had a hot dog that good was in the streets of NYC. She said the hot dogs were fresh and delicious. She, too, was satisfied (and she can be fairly picky). She also ordered the chili which she said was very good, although filling-she was only able to eat half the serving.

I wasn’t able to get complete pictures because we scarfed down our food so fast! But here is what I got:

Potato soup with fresh baked roll

Potato soup with fresh baked roll

And it's all gone...

And it’s all gone…

Now here is the kicker: as we were sitting in the parking lot enjoying our surprisingly good lunch, one of the workers came to our car to give us two free pieces of peanut butter fudge. We had mentioned in the restaurant that maybe we would have liked some but decided against it. This employee TOOK THE TIME to come to our car and give us this fudge, probably out of her own pocket. Now THAT is great customer service. As she was heading back to the restaurant, my mother—in-law and I both commented how that employee had single-handedly turned our bad day around. I went back to give her an extra tip and tell her how she had really brightened our day. Unfortunately, I was unable to tell her this because the place was PACKED and she was busy in the back making someone’s order.

So, if for whatever reason you are in Weirton, WV, I would highly recommend you make a visit to this tiny little hot dog stand. What it lacks in flash, it makes up for with great customer service and excellent food. I do want to mention the hours of operation: Monday Through Friday 6am-2pm, closed on the weekend. I will be back.

Until next time! Bon appetit!