George Criss and his daughters (from left): Lydia Criss Mays of Atlanta, Kimmy Criss Donald of Atlanta, and Lindsay Criss McCollum of Vienna, Austria.

Finding the perfect Father’s Day gift can be a challenge sometimes. The truth is picking the perfect gift really just requires listening… and remembering. Lydia Criss Mays knew her dad, George Criss, would love to have Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili for Father’s Day. George moved from Webster County in 1970 but a stop at The Custard Stand is a must when any family member visits Webster Springs. George, who lives in Knoxville with this wife, Jennifer, is such a fan that he tried to re-create the recipe at home. Thanks to the power of the internet, his Father’s Day gift was Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili. The Criss family enjoyed the gift together during the July Fourth holiday. And after they were done eating, they generously answered our burning questions about this tasty gift.

Lydia, why did you want to give Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili to your dad for Father’s Day?

As Father’s Day 2014 was approaching, we thought long and hard about what gift to surprise our dad with.  Aside from his family and cycling gear, another love of his is good food. Consequently, we went on an Internet search for one of Dad’s favorite foods: The Custard Stand chili. Growing up, Dad often tried to recreate this recipe at home from memory. In fact, since retiring, he’s taken to making his version of The Custard Stand chili a handful of times a month. Upon finding your website, we were thrilled we could bring the real thing to back to our daddy.

Was he surprised? Or did your father hint that this is what he wanted?

Dad says he was incredibly surprised. For the record, Dad’s not much of a hinter. If he wants something, he either buys it or makes it himself (hence the replicated attempts at Custard Stand chili).

Jennifer and George Criss
Jennifer Criss, with her husband George, enjoys the Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili recipe for Southwestern Tortilla Dip.

Do you stop by The Custard Stand when you’re in WV?

Getting back to Webster Springs is synonymous with a stop by The Custard Stand.

How do you all prefer your hot dog or chili dog? Toppings? Slaw? (For those who don’t know, a chili dog in many parts of West Virginia is chili in a bun, no weiner.)

Eating The Custard Stand chili is a family affair, so this is how we roll:

Dad: “Simple stuff. Just a hot dog with chili.”

Mom: “In dip form. See the recipe card!

Lindsay: “For me, just chili – enough to make the bun soggy.”

Kimmy: “That’s easy. I take the bun and then I put mustard on the bottom of the bun. Then I put shredded cheddar cheese and raw Vidalia onions on the bun. Then I put the dog on the bun (hopefully it’s burnt). Then I slather it with chili.”

Lydia: “Chili dog with all the fixins.”

What do you miss the most about Webster County?

Dad’s Daughters: As his daughters, we miss skipping rocks on the Elk River near our Grandmother, Emma Criss’, house. We miss eating canned strawberry jam and looking for fossils in the mountain hills. We miss the obligatory and much-anticipated stop at The Custard Stand and the long road trips with Dad.

Dad: The people.

PS: Lydia Criss Mayes is an author of children’s books and founder of See Beautiful, a movement that urges people to make a choice to see the beauty in the world.