For over 100 years, Coney Island has been serving up delicious hot dogs to the Worcester community. From our old fashioned juke box to our historic wooden booths, it's a place you have to experience in person.
Coney Island has been serving its delicious hot dogs for generations to generations every day, but Tuesday, since Catherine and George Tsagarelis opened in 1918. There has been a lunch counter at the Southbridge Street location since 1918 but Catherine and George made it the landmark it is today. After buying the business, they quickly focused on the humble wiener as their main menu item.
In 1938 they renovated the restaurant in the utilitarian art deco style that it boasts today. The cost of one hot dog today would have fed a couple of hungry families in 1918 when the wieners were a nickel each.
According to Kathryn Tsandikos (George and Catherine`s granddaughter), her grandmother, who died in 2000, had this insurmountable energy. She worked all day and night, sometimes until 3 am, and she still had time for family, church and friends. She was a woman ahead of her time. When we were growing up, other grandmothers would be home baking baklava and spanakopita. She'd be either running Coney Island or scooping us up and driving to Bridgeport or New York City or the Cape for a swim.
What is Coney Island's secret? The between-wars ambience of the building. The unapologetically splendiferous sign. The secret chili sauce. The American love affair with the hot dog. All may have had a part to play in the business success, but Kathryn Tsandikos also thinks her grandmother made Coney Island. 'No matter who came in-politicians, presidents of banks, the homeless - she treated everyone the same,' Kathryn said. 'During the Depression they would give away hot dogs to boys from the Boys Club who didn't have a nickel to buy a hot dog. People remember that.'
'To the very end she wanted to know about the business, she would offer advice and she was thrilled that the family was still in it,' Kathryn said. 'When I told her that our children plan to work there, that brought a smile to her face. She really lived for Coney Island.'
Although George's Coney Island has received many awards and accolades, the kind words from regulars and visitors is what keeps the doors open year after year.
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