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.

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