Coney Island Lunch’s Texas Weiners
My apologies to all for having such a hot dog-less July. The reaction from my friends has been just shy of accusing me of hot dog heresy for not having celebrated the 4th of July properly, but I must remind you that is Samantha’s & I’s anniversary. I think Sam deserves a little bit better than a hot dog to celebrate–that, and we were hiking hut to hut in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on the 4th, so there weren’t many hot dog stands we could hit up.
In order to make up for my lack of attention to the wonder of encased meats, I dedicated myself to finding a couple of great hot dog stands to visit while traveling on our most recent vacation, a backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains. Many thanks to my friend AP for giving me my first destination when she shared this blog post from Serious Eats, all about a type of hot dog I had never heard of before: The Texas Weiner.
If you’ve never heard of it before, to condense Serious Eats’ post, the Texas Weiner is a version of the coney dog originating from Greek-owned restaurants. Where coney dogs have a steamed (or grilled) dog and meat chili, the texas weiner has either a fried or split & grilled hot dog with a Greek-spiced version of chili.
The Texas Weiner is a regional hot dog, centralized in Philadelphia, and I was lucky enough to be driving through an area that had an old and revered institution that’s been serving up the Texas Weiner since 1923: Coney Island Lunch, located in Scranton PA.
The diner is a pretty unassuming place with what looks to be the kind of storefront reserved for pet stores, with it’s big glass windows and sawdust-lined flooring. Once you get inside it’s a diner that’s obviously been decorated by a man with a passion for baseball–specifically, for the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals. Knowing that Pete, the owner, had this predilection for America’s favorite pasttime, I came decked out in my Cubbies hat and ready to talk baseball.
Sam started off with another regional favorite, french fries smothered in gravy. Seems like a healthy enough appetizer before entering hot dog nirvana. Behind her you can see all the baseball paraphanelia–the place was just covered in it, which was fantastic.
When the dogs came, they looked more like sloppy joes than hot dogs, since they’re served on a deli bun and the sauce is dripping out of the edges–I couldn’t even see the hot dog until I opened the hood.
On the way out of town we were riding behind this van, which was for a very oddly named donut store. Wish we would have had time to look into whether or not they actually use curry in their donuts.
The next stop will be a stand we stumbled upon while coming back from the Smokies, Skeeter-Dogs in Wytheville, Virginia, home of the world-famous Skeeter-Dog and my first real slaw dog.