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Ritzy Lunch

465 W. Pike St., Clarksburg, WV - (304) 622-3600
Posted By Michael Stern on 10/15/2010 9:19:00 AM
“A hot dog without chili is not a hot dog!” proclaims John Selario, known in Clarksburg as Hot Dog John. Mr. Selario’s parents opened Ritzy Lunch in 1933, and he shows us pictures of his father in front of the same storefront some time in the 1940s when hot dogs are listed on the window for seven cents each, hamburgers a dime. “Ritzy lunch has always been known for hot dogs,” he tells us. “Clarksburg itself is an important hot dog town, not so much because of the weenies but because of the way we make our chili. There are so many immigrants and sons and daughters of immigrants – Greeks and Italians, mostly – that when we spice up our chili, we know how to do it right!”

Hot Dog John will get no argument from us. His dogs are lovely little pups, buried deep inside a steamed-soft bun and topped with a zesty ground-beef sauce that is gently peppered and earthy-flavored. If you want to add a sweet note, ask for a layer of cole slaw to go atop the chili – a very popular configuration in this cute little diner.

Although hot dogs are the specialité de la maison, you should also consider sampling a special kind of hamburger in one of Ritzy’s old wooden booths. Listed on the menu as a Giovanni, it is a patty of meat topped with melted cheese and roasted peppers served between two slices of butter-and-garlic-infused toast. Excellent!

Ritzy Lunch is an immensely happy place, a sort of non-alcoholic tavern where old friends and town characters hang out on the ancient counter stools to kibbitz back and forth among each other and the waitresses and where, on any pleasant day, two or three wise-acres are likely to be found out on the sidewalk joshing with each other and making friends with newcomers.

Clarksburg has many culinary wonders, including several top-notch Italian restaurants, Olivierio’s Cash and Carry grocery store, and Tomaro’s bakery; but no culinary tour is complete without a chili dog and a little conversation at Ritzy Lunch.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
chili dog
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The sweetness of the slaw blends well with the spice of the chili.  The fries were piping hot and tasty.
"The sweetness of the slaw blends well with the spice of the chili. The fries were piping hot and tasty."
Jeff Pelurie





Giovanni burgers can be found on menus around Clarksburg.  As good as the other ingredients are, what makes this burger special is the excellent garlic toast.
"Giovanni burgers can be found on menus around Clarksburg. As good as the other ingredients are, what makes this burger special is the excellent garlic toast."
Cliff Strutz


A close view of a Ritzy dog gives a good idea of the flavor harmony that defines it. Not visible in this photo, but essential to the taste, is a line of yellow mustard.
"A close view of a Ritzy dog gives a good idea of the flavor harmony that defines it. Not visible in this photo, but essential to the taste, is a line of yellow mustard."
Michael Stern


The slaw is cool and sweet, the chili is hot and spicy, the dog is juicy, the bun is soft:  a wonderful weenie!
"The slaw is cool and sweet, the chili is hot and spicy, the dog is juicy, the bun is soft: a wonderful weenie!"
Michael Stern


While one is by no means a whole meal, even a plateful of these dogs is a bargain. Cost? $1 each.
"While one is by no means a whole meal, even a plateful of these dogs is a bargain. Cost? $1 each."
Michael Stern


The
"The "Giovanni" hamburger and chili dogs are oh-so-delicious and reasonably priced."
Richard


As ritzy and authentic as the interior.
"As ritzy and authentic as the interior."
Richard


At about 1pm, Ritzy was still pretty crowded with dog eaters. A vast majority of the clientele are of the male gender.
"At about 1pm, Ritzy was still pretty crowded with dog eaters. A vast majority of the clientele are of the male gender."
Michael Stern


The wooden booths on the left are original, going back to the days a hot dog sold for seven cents
"The wooden booths on the left are original, going back to the days a hot dog sold for seven cents"
Michael Stern


Not really so ritzy, but home of truly regal hot dogs
"Not really so ritzy, but home of truly regal hot dogs"
Michael Stern


This pristine Ritzy hot dog wrapper is just the right size to hold a bunned dog loaded with chili and slaw.
"This pristine Ritzy hot dog wrapper is just the right size to hold a bunned dog loaded with chili and slaw."
Michael Stern


Ritzy has been a Clarksburg hot dog destination for over seventy years.
"Ritzy has been a Clarksburg hot dog destination for over seventy years."
Michael Stern



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