By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
What began in 1984 for the Dave Henderson family is still continuing today – and that is the hot dog business. However, it has expanded to become “famous” as a franchise known as Dave’s Famous T&L Hot Dogs. What has also been enhanced through the years is the menu … and the décor, reminiscent of a nostalgic oldies diner. They have a presence in Rosebud Plaza in Clarksburg, on old Bridgeport Hill, on Main Street and the Meadowbrook Mall in Bridgeport, the Morgantown Mall, and also in Pruntytown. AND, they’re hoping that by late April their all new location in Shinnston will be opening its doors!
Area residents have missed the former T&L Hot Dogs on Pike Street in Shinnston since its closure. Former owner Bud Henderson, a brother to Dave, said that it was a tough decision for him to close the business a few months ago, but he is happy that the family isn’t going to allow it to remain closed.
Dave’s son Mike Henderson is very involved in the business as well and noted that he admired his Uncle Bud’s entrepreneurial spirit! “My uncle had just reached the age for retirement 18 years ago when he decided to open the T&L in Shinnston, and he stuck with it all these years,” Mike said. “He certainly deserves to enjoy a real retirement now, but I’m sure he will miss it.”
Mike’s daughter Corey and her husband Troy Rutherford will be running the new business and keeping it in the family, and they are serious about making it “all new”! Contractors have been working for weeks now gutting the inside – both downstairs and upstairs – and if nice weather continues throughout this week, you may notice exterior changes beginning to take place as well.
“All new glass windows will be put in place in the front of the building; there will be new soffit and fascia installed, new doors, new HVAC, new plumbing, wiring and lighting, newly painted stucco and siding, etc. Folks will definitely notice the difference!” Mike stated. “These updates are long overdue, but we decided that although it is a costly endeavor, we wanted to do it right and make it something to be proud of and something that the City will be excited to see.”
Like the other Dave’s Famous T&L Hot Dogs, the interior will also take on the nostalgic oldies diner look – with a new black and white tiled floor, lots of teal and tan, chrome and neon. “We are looking to appeal to our customers and make this reno something special … a place that people will want to visit … a place with great atmosphere,” Mike added.
The upstairs as well is being gutted and will become a modern one-bedroom loft apartment that will be rentable.
And now, the menu! Yes, customers will still be able to get a regular T&L hot dog and fresh cut fries – just like they were accustomed to. BUT, the menu will include seven or eight different varieties of hot dogs, including a Chicago hot dog and a New York style Coney! Hamburgers and cheeseburgers will also be available and are all made with fresh Black Angus beef. Look for freshly cut salads too (tossed garden salad or add chicken or steak!), wraps for those who prefer to eat healthy, shakes, and what Mike calls “sinfully good” loaded tater tots. It will no longer be the typical hot dog stand serving dogs, chips and a soda. Dave’s Famous T&L Hot Dogs is much more than its name implies!
The business truly is ‘family’ based. Dave’s other son Scott, a Shinnston resident, cooks all the chili and delivers it to each of their locations – as well as to 30 grocery stores. Local residents will be pleased to know that T&L chili will soon be available at the Shinnston Shop ‘n Save too. Salad dressings – both Ranch and Italian– are also made in-house and can be purchased to take home. And for those who enjoy a sweet option, they will also have funnel cakes!
The Henderson’s are currently looking for interior décor donations – any old Shinnston or Lincoln High School memorabilia or old photographs from the 50’s and 60’s era that you might have stored in the attic! Contact Corey at 304-838-3232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute.
Yes, the all new T&L will totally exhibit a 50’s and 60’s theme. Even kids meals will be served in boxes replicating old classic cars!
Mike noted that he and his daughter have been overwhelmed by the amount of traffic in Shinnston. “Our location is right on that main thoroughfare with on-street parking, and I don’t anticipate any reason for us not being successful here,” he stated. “My daughter has worked in the business since she was 12 years old so she is very familiar with how to run things. Her husband will be helping out as well, but he is a Bridgeport detective, so his presence will be limited to his off-duty time.”
New owners Corey and Troy Rutherford concluded, “We’re really excited for residents to see all the changes we’ve made once we’re up and running and look forward to joining the Shinnston community.”
Dave’s Famous T&L Hot Dogs has a ‘fan page’ on Facebook where photos are posted and you can follow the progress on the remodeling.