The Slaw Dog: Gas Station Delicacy Adored By Fly Fishers in the Smokies

If you’ve spent much time fly fishing around Townsend there’s a good chance you may have eaten a slaw dog down at the Parkway Grocery. I’ve lived and worked in Townsend since 1994 and the place is a part of my daily routine. I get sausage or country ham biscuits there in the morning on the way up the river, top off the coffee in my mug there, and probably eat lunch there a few days a week. They offer a variety of sandwiches but the star of the menu is the Slaw Dog. (In our household both of our kids have grown up calling the place “the hotdog station”)

Gaze upon the slaw dog in all its glory

Gaze upon the slaw dog in all its glory

A few months back a new sign at the Parkway claims that they’ve served over a million hot dogs. Last week a Knoxville news crew had a slow news day went in search of the truth about the claim and asked the hard questions. The video clip is at the end of the post.

If you’re from the South you absolutely know what a slaw dog is. I’m not really sure what the northern terminus for the slaw dog is, but if you’re unfamiliar it’s a hot dog with chili and cole slaw along with whatever extras you may add like mustard or onions. Some locals refer to the filling up the bun with everything available as “drug through the garden”.

Even California boy Tom Chandler over at TroutUnderground was awe struck by the Parkway slaw dog during his visits to the Smokies. He hoped to vie for a Pulitzer for his hard hitting research on the southern delicacy, but apparently his attempts to replicate it were merely California  substandard imitations. (Hint: Don’t put the mustard on top of the slaw.) At least they didn’t add avocado.

No matter how you like them our advice is not to make a rookie mistake. Just go ahead and order two because one will only make you want another.