A Hot Dog a Day Number 25: George's Coney Island in Worcester

July 25th, the 25th day of my quest to eat a hot dog a day in honor of National Hot Dog Month, brought me to one of the region's hot dog icons: George's Coney Island on Southbridge Street in Worcester. The circa 1937 art deco exterior and neon sign are like a beacon for hot dog lovers everywhere.


Third generation business owner Kathryn Tsandikos greeted me warmly and was eager to share the story of her family's ascent to the top of the heap in local hot dog lore. She has a deep appreciation and respect for the position George's has in the heart of the community. George's Coney Island is in rare company, it's one of very few hot dog joints that have been in business for over 90 years. Kathryn's grandparents bought a small hot dog stand from a friend in 1920 and remodeled in 1937 to make it into the George's it is to this day. The neon sign was designed to emulate George, Kathryn's grandfather, grasping a hot dog in his hand.


The interior looks essentially the same as it did in 1937, with the exception of the digital juke box.


The menu has remained largely unchanged too. There are burgers, grilled cheeses, and egg sandwiches but it's the hot dogs with "the works" that are the real stars of the show. 


The place was slammed with customers well before noon.


Customers line up at the counter for their hot dogs, then seat themselves at one of the many graffiti covered tables. For over 70 years, patrons of George's Coney Island have carved their names into the wooden booths. It's a practice that is not condoned, but tolerated as long as it doesn't get destructive.


This chair that is reminiscent of old fashioned classroom desks is one of three remaining from the pre 1937 furnishings. It's on display in the front window.


The bar in the adjacent room looks as if it was still vintage 1937- with the exception of the LCD TV.


While the history, decor, and ambiance is a big part of the experience, as I said before, it's the hot  dogs that are the star of the show. The Coney Island sauce is the premier component of a dog with the works at George's; just put it on top of one of the over 1,000 grilled Kayem hot dogs served here daily, add some onions and mustard and you have a little piece of heaven. Kathryn makes the sauce and closely guards the secret recipe.


The sauce simmers on the stove top awaiting hot dogs to top.


The finished products ooze deliciousness.


I ordered one with the works and

CHOWED DOWN!


The Coney Sauce has a nice bite, without being overpowering and dominating the other flavors. Balanced with the hot dog, onions, and mustard, the Coney sauce adds the right balance to make this one of the finest dogs you'll find. 90 years worth of patrons wouldn't keep coming back if the food wasn't good!


There are just too many thumbs up to count. George's Coney Island is a full on hot dog and Americana experience. As one patron said to me today, "it's the only hot dog worth driving for."


You simply MUST try George's Coney Island if you are to be considered a true hot dog aficionado. The place deserves mecca like status in the hot dog religion.


GO TO GEORGE'S CONEY ISLAND! Give Kathryn the "Coney Island Handshake" and tell her "the Hotdogman sent me." You will not be sorry.

HAPPY NATIONAL HOT DOG MONTH!

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