SHINNSTON, W.Va. – On this week’s Restaurant Road Trip, we’ll travel a few miles off Exit 125 to Hobo Junction in Harrison County.
People have been grabbing hoagies to-go for years from the familiar eatery, but 12 News had the chance to meet with the new owners of Hobo Junction to find out what changes, if any, customers can expect from this local favorite.
Harrison County residents Isaiah Simon and his parents, Gary and Mindi Simon, went from long-time customers of Hobo Junction, to its new owners in just a matter of a few months.
“Once we saw the for sale sign, my mom saw it on Facebook and jokingly sent it to my dad in text message, little did she know that he was seriously going to consider buying it,” Isaiah Simon said.
Hobo Junction, famous for its humongous hoagies and wide selection of Amish-made foods, has been a popular place to grab a quick bite or some groceries for more than a decade, and the Simon family plans to keep it that way.
“When we first got it, [customers] were just like, ‘Now don’t go changing stuff,’ and we haven’t,” Simon said. “We’ve done what we can as far as keeping everything the same. We got all of Mary’s recipes before she left and we were here for probably three weeks or so, training with her, before she left just to make sure that we kept everything the same.”
Simon said customers may find some new menu items like onion rings and french fries to compliment the classic hoagies, as well as seeing some changes to the store’s layout, all while keeping the rustic and small-town atmosphere that customers have come to expect.
“That coupled with somebody saying, ‘Hey, how’s it going,’ as soon as you walk in, it’s just that kind of stuff that we’re going to try to keep the same and give that kind of old school feel,” Simon said.
But the Simon family knows it’s really all about Hobo Junction’s famous hoagies.
“We use some locally sourced steak, some chopped steak that we put in there, season it up a little bit,” Simon said. “And then we’ve got some sweet peppers which are Oliverio’s and then hot peppers which we make ourselves, and then from there we’ve got some sauteed onions on it and then we throw some of the mozzarella-provolone mix from walnut creek on there so it’s a really good high quality cheese too so it kind of makes the hoagie a lot better.”
“Yep, it’s messy,” Simon said. “It’s messy. But it must be pretty good because people keep coming back.”
Hobo Junction is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. It’s located at 6521 Benedum Dr. in Harrison County, a little more than two miles off of the Saltwell Road Exit 125 off I-79.