Perhaps it’s the nostalgic flair or the Americana storefront, it could be the historic location or longevity of operation or maybe it’s just that they taste so good, but one thing is for sure, Skeeter’s in Downtown Wytheville has sold a lot of hot dogs.
The iconic sign on the century-old building touts over nine million dogs served since 1925. The classic Southern red Valleydale wiener may look unusual to some, but Skeeter’s has made it a winning combination with the steamed soft bun and delicious toppings. In fact, the toppings may be what make the hot dog unique. As the website “Serious Eats” says, “Skeeter Dogs come literally buried under chili, mustard, ultra creamy slaw that’s almost more of a sauce, and super finely diced fresh onions.” Serious Eats featured the Skeeter-Dog as their Hot Dog of the Week in 2011. They were also the undercover team of hot dog obsessed connoisseurs who Rachael Ray’s magazine “Every Day” enlisted in their search for America’s Best Hot Dog. The Skeeter-Dog made the Top 64 across the country.
A step inside the Main Street storefront is a step back in time. The majority of furniture and fixtures are original and bring back a flood of memories for those who grew up in the area. I remember climbing up on the stool and sitting at the counter with my father in the early 1970s. Along with my hot dog, (I would inevitably go home with chili spots on my cute outfit), I would have one of those wonderful little bottles of Coca Cola. That is still my choice today.
During their early career, the Statler Brothers made the location a frequent stop on their tour route, more recently Ethel Kennedy, widow of the late Robert Kennedy, sat at Skeeter’s counter and enjoyed a lunch while visiting the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum. The rooms located upstairs from Skeeter’s were the birthplace and home of First Lady Wilson in the late 1800s. Another loyal fan of Skeeter’s is U.S. Senator, and former Virginia Governor, Mark Warner who makes a point of stopping each time he travels through Southwest Virginia.
It’s a popular stop and the Virginia Tourism Corporation wants to make sure that continues. It recently began featuring the eatery in its “Old School Eats” campaign.
Skeeter’s (E.N. Umberger Store) is located at 165 East Main Street in Wytheville. Click here to become their friend on Facebook.
Wytheville is located at the crossroads of I-77 & I-81 in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. There are a variety of great experiences all year long for travelers to enjoy. For more information about the Wytheville area, Visit Wytheville online or call toll-free 1-877-347-8307.
Rosa Lee Jude ⎮Director ⎮Wytheville Convention & Visitors Bureau