Betty Lou’s Diner (South Charleston)

Betty Lou’s is listed on the 101 list, but not at their current location. The diner moved from Central Avenue in South Charleston to a more heavily-trafficked spot on Greenbrier Street in time for the list to be published. Before the ink on the flyer was dry, however, they moved back to Central Avenue, up the hill from the city’s downtown. This is not a restaurant you are going to find by accident.

So, do you want to find it? Depends on what you want. Their website (http://bettylousdiner.com/) says they serve famous WV style dogs. Not sure they are famous, but they are solid dogs with a quality chili and cool, finely-chopped cole slaw:

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Not the best dogs in town, but very good ones. The burgers are very good and substantial. Here is a off-center shot of the Betty Lou (think Big Mac or Big Boy, triple-decker with pickles, onions, cheese and 1000 island dressing):

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That’s a half-pound of burger, so this is not the place to go for dieting. The rings tasted pre-made, but good. The fries were forgettable (go with the rings). They also do the usual suspects of barbeque and hot bologna. Service was friendly (our first order of rings was overdone and they gave new ones on the house). Prices aren’t cheap — five to seven dollars for a burger or barbeque — but they do serve big sandwiches. To say nothing of the food challenge burger, the Behemoth. The Behemoth is a 3lb pound burger that they will sell you for a mere $36. Finish it in an hour and there is permanent glory (and a T-shirt) in it for you.

Is it unique?

Not really. Betty Lou’s is one of those additions to the 101 list that makes me wonder what they were doing, or if they even had a plan. To be clear, the food is good and I’ve gone there several times. There is just no real reason to include it over a number of places in the Kanawha Valley that serve good hot dogs and hamburgers. Why not The Grill on the near west side? Or Swiftwater Cafe downtown? Or Wellington’s Cafe out by Capital High? If you told me I had to take one of those places off the lunch rotation forever, it would be Betty Lou’s. Thankfully, I don’t have to make that decision.

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