LESAGE, W.Va. (WOWK) – Right off Highway 2 in the small town of Lesage, West Virginia sits a now-famous rustic roadside restaurant. After a visit, you’ll soon find, Hillbilly Hotdogs is much more than your typical weenie stand. It’s like visiting kinfolk.
“If you came to our home. this is exactly how we would treat you. we would feed ya … have fun … talk and enjoy,” said Sharie Knight, part of the husband-wife duo of Sonny and Sharie (I know, I thought the Sonny and Cher reference too) that literally built Hillbilly Hotdogs on love 20 years ago. In September of 1999, Sonny brought his California fiance’ Sharie to West Virginia. She asked him to build her a weenie stand. And he did out of an old shed and two school buses welded into it.
It’s kind of like an amusement park … lots of things to see … you always meet new people.Annette Grover of Lesage, W.Va.
Over the years, they added lots and lots of hillbilly decor which makes the pace look like a never-ending yard sale, but it does make memories.
“It’s kind of like an amusement park … lots of things to see … you always meet new people,” admired Annette Grover of Lesage. Grover not only fell in love with the weenie stand, she got married 13 years ago at the next door “Kissin Cousins Wedding Chapel” that’s also run by the Knights. She and her husband Carl have renewed their vows every year.
“They make it crazy fun,” laughs Grover. “There’s a little stuff that goes on … a little typing of the knot. the rings. There are things that happen during your service here. I will not share the secret stuff.”
You can’t get more hillbilly than that.
Oh, there is food at the Hillbilly Hotdogs – or what the locals fondly call “grub. And it’s pretty good too. People from far and wide come here to try their offerings of over 30 different varieties of gourmet hotdogs. In fact, it has become so popular, it has even been featured on numerous national television programs like the Food Network.
“You know what’s really beautiful when you hear people say, I remember grandma had that. I remember grandpa’s barn … what ever they had … it’s reminiscent of those times that were good times in your life,” beamed Sharie Knight.
“It just looks so interesting and somebody says it’s really good … so I stopped … wanted to check it out and get me a hotdog,” said Steve Halperin, a native of Louisiana. “I am trying the West Virginia dog.”
And just when you wrap up your meal, leave cash for a tip and you’re guaranteed the staff will offer a lively serenade of their weenie song. It’s quite catchy, but it doesn’t get as much attention as the tune after someone orders the (in) famous Home Wrecker dog. It’s one pound of beef and two pounds of peppery toppings – 15 inches long. If you dare order it and can eat it in under 12 minutes, you get a free t-shirt.
One visit to Hillbilly Hotdogs and you’ll quickly find that this place is more than just about the food and the fun hillbilly culture, it’s about two people who created an experience … and all it took was love.
“We are all about the love … Sonny and I after 20 years … we’re still crazy in love … I still love this man as if I just married him yesterday,” said an excited Sharie Knight. Here’s to another 20 years of food, fame and renewed vows.