George’s Coney Island (Worcester, MA)

As I’ve mentioned here before, I have an odd fascination with hot dogs. The name “hot dog” really spans a huge amount of territory, ranging from cheap generic hot dogs (which really don’t do anything for me), to all sorts of regional specialties like the Chicago Dog and the Coney Island dog.

Coney Island dogs, in particular, have always fascinated me since (a) they seem to mostly be clustered in areas that aren’t New York’s Coney Island (although there are many “Coney Islands”, coney is just a name for “rabbit”), and (b) there is something oddly compelling about both the hot dog itself and the places that serve it.

George’s Coney Island in Worcestor, MA is definitely one of these places. Standing out like a beacon on it’s block on Southbridge, this place just oozes ambiance. The giant neon sign. The art deco style motif. The tired, wooden booths. The giant grill with dozens of dogs on it. And, the line of people patiently queueing for their dogs.

Like most Coney Island hot dogs, the secret here isn’t the dog. Indeed, I probably wouldn’t get excited about a George’s hot dog straight up (I’m pretty sure it’s just a skinless Kayem dog). But combined with a wee bit of mustard, a healthy dollop of the sweet Coney Sauce (I won’t ever mistake it for chili, although it bears a resemblence) and a huge portion of chopped onions, and you’ve got quite the lunch treat (at right). The result is a nice plate of food, provided you bought two or three of them.

The rest of the menu is a mixed bag. I had a burger here once that really left me wanting. However, the half sour pickles are excellent, and something about me really appreciates the ability to wash down my hot dogs with a Polar Birch Beer (in a nod to the local soda producer.)

Pros:

1. Ambiance. This place has it in spades. I seriously need to go back and get some nighttime shots.

2. Price. A Coney Dog only sets you back $1.30. The honkin’ big pickles are only $1. In other words, it’s still cheap eats.

Cons:

1. It’s one of the grittier places to eat in Worcester, and quite worn, but nothing to really be concerned about.

2. Lack of diversity. If you’re not getting hot dogs, you’re wasting your time here.

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous 15 Aug 2008 at 21:14 #

    A simple hot dog. Not anything special. Try “The Edge” on Rte 20 in Shrewsbury. Same type of atmosphere but they make there own relishes and meat sauces.

  2. Anonymous 21 Dec 2008 at 02:24 #

    GREAT hot dogs and atmosphere! I’ve been eating these for over 40 years. And you need to have 5 dogs with a bag of chips and a beer to do it right! :)

  3. Anonymous 26 Jun 2009 at 06:34 #

    I live close to Coney Island Hot Dogs and take lessons at Union Music, just a few feet away. One thing that you don't mention in your excellent review is that the place has been continuously operated since (I am going to get this wrong) like 1918. Another charming and edgy feature is the decades of scrawl carved into each and every bench in the place.

    It's also advisable to listen to the locals order. For example, ordering a "hot dog with chili" would be a serious breach of etiquette, whereas a "dog with sauce" would be quite proper. As would a "dog, up".

    The prices are great as well. My son and I get four dogs, up, with a soda (him) and a Bud Light (me) for something like $10.

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