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Senior Correspondent

Tube steak, wieners, 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 and pickles even top some of the more unusual dogs. 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.

Two locations for residents to purchase the famous dog  in the Winchester area is Throx Markest, offering  a variety of the  summer favorite. The menu carries authentic Chicago style dogs, including chili and cheese dog, BBQ bacon dog, Chicago or  chili dog. Their two locations include 1016 Millwood Pike and 1518 Martinsburg Pike. While not the traditional hot dog stand, the markets give a choice many can’t refuse.

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 wiener. 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.

Hot dogs can often be found in a unique location such as The Press Room, 129 W. German St., Shepherdstown, W.Va. It is situated in the former Independent Building, and the kitchen occupies the space once reserved for a printing press that belonged to the Independent Newspaper. Hot dogs are featured on the menu along with a wide variety of delectable dishes.
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. 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 wiener and corn batter, often smothered in mustard.  

If that isn’t enough for the hot dog connoisseur, then head to the grocery store and 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!

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