Dripping With Mustard

Dip Dog Stand, Smyth County

What is a Dip Dog? Well it is not really a corn dog, and it’s much more than a hot dog. What the Dip Dog of Smyth County serves, along U.S. Highway 11, is simply a hearty, skinny, melt-in-your-mouth treat ($1.35) that longtime customers like Maxine Compton of Wytheville come to buy by the bagful. “I like the batter,” says Compton. “It’s got more corn in it than a corn dog. It’s more grainy.” The batter on those dogs has been a mainstay at this mainstay along the road between Marion and Seven Mile Ford since Lester Brown opened the Dip Dog in 1957.

Today, the roadside restaurant evokes flashbacks to the freewheeling 1950s—a time when factories making furniture and clothing dotted Smyth County in Southwest Virginia. There is nothing fancy about it. The original Dip Dog, likewise, remains the same anytime-snack it’s been for more than 50 years.

“Nothing has changed,” says current owner Grant Hall, whose family has owned the eatery since 1966. Even so, the stand added a covered picnic area, and the menu has bulged to include breakfast items, hamburgers and ice cream sold by the scoop. But what most people still dig, Hall says, are those Dip Dogs—dripping with mustard and served with a side of onion rings.

2035 Lee Highway, near I-81 Exit 39, 276-783-2698

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