News, Politics, and Culture from 14843

By Craig Braack

The Conesus Lake House visits Wellsville, Alfred, and Hornell

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Local landmarks highlight a great day trip

The Texas Hot, Bill Pullman, and the Fassett Greenspace featured

From the Conesus Lake House,

The Hots for Lone Starr: Wellsville to Alfred

 Contrary to its name, the “Texas Hot” did not originate in the Lone Star State. Ask anyone in Dallas what a Texas Hot is, they’ll probably think you’re a Yankee who can’t handle the weather. Rather, hots is the Western New York term for a specific type of hot dog, and a Texas Hot adds three key ingredients to the bun: mustard, diced onions, and Texas Hot sauce. No, it’s not a chili dog. It’s a Texas Hot.

Rochester might have its white hots and garbage plates, but real OG’s know the best hots are found at the eponymous Texas Hot diner in Allegany County’s largest town of Wellsville, New York. Nestled in the early beginnings of the Genesee River Valley, Wellsville emerges like an oasis of civilization in the otherwise wild Allegany Mountains. You drive down on a gray but comfortable morning in November, dreaming of the savory treat you’ve heard so much about. Parking in front of Texas Hot is sparse– a good sign. The place is popular, and it takes a couple drives around the block before you parallel nicely in front of its glowing neon sign.

Take a step back in time to 1921 at Texas Hot in Wellsville, NY

Texas Hot is a diner straight out of Back to the Future: cash only, wooden booths, marquee menus, and photographs of celebrities who passed through eons ago. This joint is jumping, from the young guys settling up their tab and nabbing lollypops from the candy dispenser to the waitresses calling out hand-written orders to the cooks. You settle into a booth and immediately notice the personalized Rock-ola jukebox affixed to every table, with hits ranging from Elvis to Pat Boone to the Doobie Brothers. You had used your last quarter on the meter outside, so the music will have to wait for another day.

Despite being so busy, the waitress comes around quickly to check on your drink orders. You notice a cooler filled with colorful Stewart soda pops, Coca Cola glass bottles, and even bottles of beer. It’s a little early in the day, so you elect for a classic Coke. As you take in the scene, you become aware of someone staring at you. No, it’s not a patron or the staff. Up on the wall actor Bill Pullman gazes over you and your companion. You’ve discovered the Bill Pullman booth. It’s not every day you get to dine with the President of an entire generation. Today, you get to celebrate your Independence Day.

Nothing beats a classic American diner.

The waitress returns and you place the remainder of your order: the signature Texas Hot, a side of fries, and a slice of graham cracker cream pie. It doesn’t get any more American than this. The Texas Hot is swimming in Texas Hot sauce. You pause thoughtfully, contemplating the best plan of attack to eat this thing. Knife and a fork? You’ll be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. It’s going to be messy. You dive in, take it with both hands, and open wide. There is a soft sweetness of the bun and a satisfying crack of the dog, the warm cinnamon mouthful of sauce neutralizing the spice of the onions. It’s a dream in a bite and worth the drive. You gobble it down and ask for a second.

By now your neighbor booths have turned at least once over, so you ask for the check and pay up front in classic diner style. The staff are polite, pleasant, and friendly. There’s no sign of pretense here: just good old-fashioned American food served quickly and inexpensively. As you head back to your table to leave the tip, your eyes meet Bill Pullman’s once again. You salute the booth and whisper, “Thank you, Mr. President.”

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