I understand fully that this is Milford Patch. But I just had to do a post on Coney Island Hot Dogs in Worcester.
The restaurant is "so choice," as Ferris Bueller says.
I went in one day about a week and a half ago to gather some intel on the joint. I also went in to get a meal, as countless people have done since it opened in 1918.
Meet Kathryn Tsandikos. Her family has owned George's Coney Island (which is the actual name of the place) since 1927. Kathryn's grandfather bought George's in '27 from another woman who had owned it before. Now, two generations later, Kathryn is the manager and co-owner.
The funny thing is, she doesn't even know how many hot dogs are on the grill. She told me, though, she figured about 180, which made my jaw hit the floor. But, amazingly, that's only a fraction of what they go through in a day. The number, you ask? About 1,000. My jaw was starting to hurt at this point.
To go way back: hot dogs originally cost 5 cents each. Now, they are a bit more, but I think it's worth it. As an old-time/style/nostalgic restaurant, George's has weird hours. As stated on their website, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, they are open until "around 8 p.m." I asked Kathryn about this and she said, "if someone comes in late, we stay open. Nobody wants to go home without their Coney Island." Right she is.
When asked about her favorite part of working at Coney's, she replied "the people." They tell stories such as "my parents met here" and "my grandfather took me here when I was young."
"It's fun. How can something like this not be fun?" she said.
Let's get something clear: "Coney Island" is a style of hot dog. Specifically, one that has mustard, chili, and onions on top. Each Coney Island-type hot dog joint has their own chili sauce recipe. Unfortunately, when I asked what that was, I got laughter, and "I can't tell you that."
Don't like mustard, chili or onions? No problem. You can order a hot dog there without any of those. In fact, after the original dog, the most popular item is a regular hot dog with ketchup, and then one with chili and cheese. After the namesake hot dog fare, the homemade-patty cheeseburgers are the biggest seller. Seasonal items, like baked beans or vegetarian lentil soup, are also popular.
Kathryn told me she is proud to offer local products. Included are local pickles, Wonder Bread, Wachusett Potato Chips, Table-Top Pies, and Polar Beverages. Kayem Foods hot dogs, based in Chelsea, are the main ingredient at the restaurant.
Speaking again of hot dogs, the largest single order was between 500 and 600, for a local company. I think I broke my jaw when I heard this.
Finally, I asked Kathryn for a cool tidbit of information. Apparently, Gov. Deval Patrick is a loyal customer when he is in town, as was Mitt Romney. Steve Nelson, who used to play for the Patriots, and Ron Darling, who pitched for the New York Mets, also were customers.
My rating: (unintelligible, as I am chomping down on one of two Coney Island dogs).