“Fort Wayne’s Famous” Coney Island
Over the holidays I was visiting my family back home in Indiana and got to visit the hot dog stand that started it all for me. That’s right, “Fort Wayne’s Famous” Coney Island is the spot that drove me to this height of hot dog frenzy, the place my father used to take me on a weekend for a session of male bonding over a couple of dogs and a bag of chips. I think every time we would go he would tell me about how he was friends with the Choka family who runs this venerable hot dog stand. Maybe that personal connection kept him coming back, but for me it was some alone time with my father and the coney dogs that draws me back every time I visit.
The picture below is Sam’s reaction when I suggested she get a coney dog. It’s like getting a kid to eat asparagus, every time I take her to a new stand and suggest she tries the local style dog. In the end my persistence usually pays off, but this time she went with a cheese dog (mustard, raw onions, and sliced velveeta–I think she sometimes has more in common with midwesterners than I do). Sam & I got to the stand around 2pm and the place was packed, which is par for Coney Island, especially during the holidays when the ex-pats are back in town.
I had four of my favorites, coney dogs with yellow mustard, raw onions, and chili sauce on a steamed bun with a grilled dog. The sauce seeps into the bun and has just the right amount of spice to complement the sharpness of the onions. A standard meal for a coney acolyte is not complete without a bag of Seyfert’s chips (once a locally-owned company) and an 8 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola. The best part about this stand is the simplistic, cafeteria-style setup reminiscent of the 50’s. The dogs are delivered on these tiny hard plastic plates which reminds me of the plates used in my grade school cafeteria, and the only other food offered are burgers and chili.
In the end I won out and got Sam to take a bite of my coney dog, which she looked upon and pronounced to be good. She didn’t seem to impressed with the cheese dog she got, but later ordered a burger and was much happier. Strange, when I met her she was only eating deli turkey and was more vegetarian than carnivore. Look what love can do . . . .