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Hopewell hot dog restaurant has been serving up sandwiches since before the Great Depression

Posted at 11:05 PM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 23:29:36-05

HOPEWELL, Va. -- Not a single person walking through the door remembers the Tri-Cities without it. Quick Lunch started attracting a steady stream of customers two years ‘before’ the Great Depression in 1927

A place where everyone truly does know your name. Mary Sue Krout’s dream of owning a diner came true 11 years ago.

“I bought it in 2008. But I’ve been eating here since 1966 when I was in high school,” Mary Sue.

Generations of judges to millworkers have pulled up a seat. And still do.

“I love to run to the store and come back and the parking lot is full. I’m like ‘Yes! Thank you God,'" says Mary Sue.

At Quick Lunch they kick it old school. White table cloths? Nope. A maître D? Not a chance. At Quick Lunch consistency rules.

“Sometimes I’ll make the chili and off on an ingredient and people will say ‘Who made the Chili today," says Mary Sue.

Roger Hughes at his first meal here when he was six.

“This is basically a hub for the people of Hopewell," says Roger. "You know sometimes I’ll come in and get two hot dogs for lunch and meatloaf for dinner.”

The loyal customer spends more time at Quick Lunch than his own kitchen.
Which is why he's here morning and noon.

“No You can’t beat it. That is why I come here twice a day," says Roger.

Quick Lunch serves breakfast and blue plates all day. But one item attracts more customers than the rest. The Hot Dog. Lots of hot dogs.

“We sold almost 36,000 hot dogs last year," says Mary Sue. “They’ve been popular since 1927. I bought the original chili recipe from the Greek owner in 1927.”

Nearly 200 a day. The good old American Dog is a Quick Lunch staple.

Mary Sue is known across town as "The Hot Dog Queen" A title she wears proudly.

“Some people won’t eat anything but hot dogs. They won’t even try anything else," says Mary Sue.

David Cloniger considers himself a Quick Lunch connoisseur.

“I’ve probably eaten about 4 or 5 thousand of them," says David. "This is my favorite place in the world. This has been here almost as long as the city has.”

Joanne Crockett lost count how many hot dogs she’s served over 38 years. The familiar face knows what sets Quick Lunch dogs apart.

“The coleslaw. The coleslaw makes the hot dog," says Joanne.
“Oh it can get crazy. It can get real crazy. Yes!”

The legend of Quick Lunch goes well beyond the Tri-Cities. The eatery was featured on Jeopardy.. Twice.

“It is a nice feather in the cap for us because I know no one has that in Virginia," says Mary Sue.

Owner Mary Sue Krout takes pride shouldering 92-years-of history. It’s a business that truly has gone to the dogs.

“Its home. Its Hopewell," says David Coniger. "It kind of embodies the city to some extent.”

Just how much does Quick Lunch mean to the city Hopewell. Mary Sue says her eatery on Hopewell Street is on the historic register.

They open at 5:30 in the morning Monday through Saturday. Go hungry. Mary Sue and her team of Fast Girls have plenty of their famous dogs on the grill.

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