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Jul 18, 2004 09:02 PM

tulsa - coney island connection

  • b

brooklyn chowhound possibly visiting tulsa & surrounding areas in the near future. my early research has me scratching my head at the number of 'coney island' named restaurants...pardon my ignorance, but what is this genre? fried clams and nathans hot dogs?

also, how'd you rate the vietnamese restaurants in tulsa? and any unique dining experiences would be appreciated...


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  1. I’m not from Tulsa nor have I ever been, but a Coney Island in other Midwest locations refers to hot dog with chili, cheese, and onions.

    Yes I know, this is a complete bastardization of a Nathan’s Famous which should have nothing but mustard.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Paz

      I haven't been to a coney island in Tulsa and the ones I've seen, well, maybe you can find something better, I have the impression it was an old chain of some kind, now a run down old chain of some kind.

      For Thai, Lanna Thai is good, there are some new ones I haven't tried. I'd go to the Knotty Pine if you like Q but it might be a little hard for you to find if you aren't familiar with the area, and my current favorite Tulsa Mexican is Cancun. I've been there with various assortments of people six or seven times in the past few months and no disappointments. I think we've had addresses for all these on this board but if you don't find them let me know.

      I don't know a lot about fine dining in Tulsa, I tend to look for humbler little joints.

      1. re: Betty

        Coney Island on Peoria is the best. The original in downtown Tulsa has really gone down during the years.
        Knotty Pine is a roach coach BBQ joint in west Tulsa and I speak from experience seeing the creepy crawlies in the place.

      2. re: Paz

        just for the record, a coney dog is not "a complete bastardization of a Nathan’s Famous" because it has nothing to do with ny kosher style hotdogs or snappy casings. there are no religious restrictions to this food item so any dog will do and in fact most would likely be of the more common pork based variety. a coney is as different a dog as a chicago style hotdog is.

        also, the chili sauce on a coney dog is usually the same as used on the spaghetti in the cinci style chili.

      3. m
        Michael Hoffman

        A Coney Island hot dog is a hot dog covered with a gravy known in Cincinnati as chili, possessed of nothing resembling chili, and containing cinnamon and cloves. It is named for Cincinnati's long-gone Coney Island Amusement Park. It is usually served with mustard and chopped onion, then topped with the sauce and then shredded mild cheddar cheese.

        Many people will be surprised to learn that there were Coney Islands served all over the northeast, including in New York, more than 60 years ago. They were usually run by Greek immigrants with relatives who had settled in the Cncinnati area.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Michael Hoffman

          Exactly. As described in more detail at the link (from the Oklahoma Historical Society) the Tulsa version of a Coney I-Lander is a Cincinnati style chili dog as brought to Tulsa by a Greek immigrant, Christ Economou, in 1926; his downtown place eventually grew into a substantial chain. I ate these little dogs frequently when I was a kid, and I notice other Okies mentioning them fondly in posts, but nostalgia aside I don't know that I would hold them up as a great paragon of either dogs or chili.

          In answer to the original poster's inquiry about Vietnamese, I would have to say that there is probably better to be had elsewhere (OKC, for starters). As far as "unique dining experiences" THE thing to do is hit one or more of the Lebanese steak houses, which serve up really good steak dinners with a zillion side dishes for astonishingly low prices. Check this board and the Southwest board for other ideas (just type in Tulsa in the Google search engine and you will get some useful links).


        2. if you can be more specific about "the area" do say, ok?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Betty

            well the trip, if it happens, is still a couple of months away, but i like to plan ahead...

            i'll be visiting tulsa and bartlesville, and possibly some other towns around.

            i'm also curious about shopping for asian and middle eastern ingredients. does tulsa have a chinatown/chinese markets/asian markets?

            thanks everyone for the responses.

            1. re: bothrops_asper

              Yes we have an Asian market just off of 21st and somewhere around Mingo. (Streets in Tulsa should be assumed to be South of downtown unless people specifically say North. They also interchange with Places sometimes. Streets run East West and the big ones are 21st, 31st 41st etc. Mingo is about 10 miles East of downtown. Avenues and named roads usually run North South) Places you should definitely try include Tacos El Rio Verde - a dirt cheap but great Mexican place at 344 North Trenton - truly great, Also, there's a little known dirt cheap Peruvian called Mi Tierra just East of the intersection of 81st Street and Sheridan on the North Side - our only Peruvian but absolutely amazing. Brothers Houligans has 2 locations and does down home good food - chicken fried steak, chicken livers - stuff like that - but done better than anywhere else I've been. We now have a respectable Wolfgang Pucks on Brookside. Actually there are a lot of fine places to eat in Tulsa - I'd skip Vietnamese. You could try Kolam for a pretty good Indian buffet. That should do you for starters. Oh and we have a great plain fish restaurant - the White River Fish market - darn good and darn cheap - and they now also have a smoker for smoked trout or smoked salmon.

              El Rio Verde
              38 N Trenton Ave, Tulsa, OK 74120

          2. ATTENTION: The coneys that are so famous in Tulsa are from the Coney I-Lander chain. Any others that are called "Islander" are not the same.

            2 Replies
            1. re: seaokie

              Freddie's Steakhouse in Sapulpa is a good Labanese steakhouse. You get tabouli, cabbage rolls, bologna, and a rib as appetizers. In Oklahoma, the greek run coney island places are probably closest to Cincinnati Coneys you will get, but the term "coney" has become kind of a generic term in Oklahoma for chili dog. Ron's Chili and Hamburgers has good chili dogs and chili cheeseburgers.

              Bigray in Ok

              1. re: seaokie

                ATTENTION: YOU ARE WRONG! The downtown coney island since 1926 is related to the coney-islander chain. It is the same extended Greek family. I went to school with some of the family members. If you go to either one, you are getting the same recipe coneys. The downtown one everyone should go to once and eat at the school desks that have been there forever.

              2. I was born and raised in Tulsa. All the coney-islander chains are related to the original Coney Island Downtown on 4th. It has been downtown since 1926. The are all owned by the same extended Greek family in Tulsa. I went to school with a member of this family. Here is an article you might want to read:

                Also a Tulsa tradition would be Ike's Chili Parlor. It is also very well known. Here is the history part of their webpage. They have a video where Martha Stewart came to Ike's in Tulsa.

                Tulsa has some fantastic & unusual food for its location including Greek and Lebanese food. I haven't been back in a long time, but also try Jamil's (also went to school with someone in this family) and Freddy's Steakhouse in Sapulpa, Ok (just outside of Tulsa) for Lebanese food. There was a restaurant that was run by a couple from Bolivia and Argentina around 51st and Sheridan I think, but I can't remember the name, it was also different. I moved away at the end of 2003. There used to be a fantastic Cajun place, but it closed. Several places are gone. I would also suggest a place in Bixby, OK (just outside of Tulsa) called The Lazy Fisherman if you like homemade catfish. Hmm...this is all I can think of right now, but I hope that helps.