RIPLEY - There's nothing quite like a good hot dog. Or, a good burger. Or, a good bratwurst.
Especially when they are coming right off the grill.
Some of the best are dished out by street vendors in metropolitan areas.
Dan Davila has brought the flare of the big city sidewalks to quaint little Ripley on the parking lot of Advance Auto Parts.
He's been operating Triple D Hot Dogs for the past several months. Business is good and he hopes with the weather it will only get better.
"I had a catering business in Cleveland and I just really wanted to start working for myself again," said the personable Davila. "I was so used to it before and I wanted to get back into it."
Davila had his business in the Ohio city for 25 years. While in Cleveland he met "a West Virginia girl." His wife, Wilma, is a native of Calhoun County.
The two have been back in the area for seven years. His wife works for the Jackson County EMS.
"She asked me one day when we had about a foot of snow, 'How would you like to move to West Virginia.' I said, 'That doesn't sound like a bad idea.'"
He was far from being a stranger to the Mountain State. Davila's mother grew up on the outskirts of Gauley Bridge.
While being raised in Cleveland, Davila attended Midview High School and was captain of the football team his senior year (in the fall of 1972). He also competed in the prestigious Ohio State High School Wrestling Tournament.
Coming out of school, he had a chance to play football for some colleges but instead chose to go to work.
"My brother got me a job at the Ford plant in Lorain (Ohio)," he said. "So, I went to work."
He still follows sports religiously. He loves all the Cleveland teams from the Browns to the Cavs to the Indians. He was excited to learn current Cleveland Indian Nick Swisher grew up in nearby Parkersburg.
Since coming to West Virginia, Davila worked myriad jobs before realizing his true love was serving up food.
Monday through Saturday from about 11 until 3, Davila prepares his hot dogs, bratwursts and hamburgers. He makes his own sauce for the dogs.
The smell wafting from the grill is heavenly. The grill, or "kitchen" as he calls it, he made himself.
"I've gotten a lot of response from the community because I use all top-notch stuff," he said. "I use Ball Park Franks all-beef hot dogs, Hillshire Farm (brats, sausages and Cheddar Wursts) and I make my own thick burgers. Word of mouth gets around pretty fast on that.
Page 2 of 2 - "All of my stuff is grilled. The burgers have been a pretty big success."
He's grateful for the location.
"They've been great to me," he said of the crew at Advance Auto Parts. "I get a lot of support from them."
He's enjoyed bringing a little big city flavor to the area. "Most people aren't used to seeing these little hot dog carts in a place like Ripley," said Davila. "What I really need now is (good) weather. Weather plays a big part, a huge part (in his business success)."
While he loves food, what really brings joy to Davila on a given day is meeting lots and lots of people and forming new friendships. "I'm kind of a people guy," he said. "I like interacting with people. I wanted to get back to selling myself and selling a good product."
And just how did the name Triple D originate? "Those are my initials," said Davila, whose middle name is Dee.
He may have to consider changing the name of his business from Triple D Hot Dogs to Four D Hot Dogs.
Why the extra D?
For Delicious, of course.