Coney Island Wiener Stand
131 West Main St.
Fort Wayne, IN
Sometimes finding a cool place to eat can seem counter-intuitive.
Like if the place has an embarrassing sounding name, chances are it’s probably a really cool place to eat.
I mean would you eat at a place called Coney Island Wiener Stand?
In all my decades on this planet, I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “wiener” in a sentence until now. I don’t think anyone else in the last century has either.
At least no one I know.
So I figure a place called the Coney Island Wiener Stand has to have been around for awhile.
Well, I was right—try 96 years to be exact.
And there was barely a place to sit on this cold mid-winter Monday in Northern Indiana.The menu board was short with a few extraneous things like burgers and fries. But nobody comes for those.
Everyone comes here for the Coneys.
The Coney Island hot dog is a culinary footnote of Americana.
But how did the name of an amusement park in New York City get attached to a popular Midwestern junk food delicacy?
Beats the heck out of me.
Some claim the hot dog was first introduced in America by a German immigrant at Coney Island in the 1870s. But that doesn’t explain why the distinctive Midwestern version—smothered in chili sauce, mustard, and raw onions—still carries the same name of its distant ancestor a century and a half later.
In fact, you can find Coney Islands all over the Midwest—from chili parlors to family restaurants to specialty wiener stands like this one.
And I’m pleased to say that Fort Wayne’s version is delicious and satisfying. They come light on the chili, heavy on the onions, pairing nicely against the mild taste of the hot dog.
But just like the popularity of White Castle burgers, it’s the bun that steals the show here.
Fresh from the bakery and steamed to a gummy softness, it’s the warm deliciousness of these hot dog buns that make the Coneys so addictive.
Even better, this is a lunch that hits the spot without hitting the wallet. After eating one of the best lunches I’ve had in days, the bill came to a whopping total of $2.70, including tax. Yes, $2.70!
I left a 50% tip – and felt it still wasn’t enough of a tip.
But that’s the Midwesterners for you. Traditional. Frugal. And old-fashioned enough to keep flocking to a place called Coney Island Wiener Stand a century and a half later.
Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt.