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Coneys

EATTV May 26, 2011 12:20 PM

Once upon a time there was a chain of 14 Hot Dogs joints. These tube steak houses even had a race car with their brand, "Tex Barry's Coney Island". Not Coney Island of New York nor Detroit or even Worcester, the last two of these 14 Tex Barry's are in Taunton and Attleboro, Massachusetts. Recently at 11 am in Attleboro all the bolted down swivel seats were full. Arthur Bombardier, the proprietor and his Aunt Rita are as friendly as can be and recommend their griddled Kayem dogs on steamed torpedo style rolls dressed with the works. In this case the works = yellow mustard (not brown) + green relish (not too green) + teeny dice of spanish onion and a meat sauce. This sauce is not a chili but rather spiced finely ground beef and known in upstate NY as a Michigan Sauce or in the Ocean State's NY System, a wiener sauce. Michiganders call em Coneys dressed this way but the taste is different. The whole thing is a departure from the typical Yankee New England split top and toasted roll but is a classic in it's own right. Arthur pairs two dogs in a plastic oval basket with coffee milk which turns out to be excellent advice. Aunt Rita rings it up with change back from a 5. Art says 300-600 of these forced meat magic wieners fly out the door of this tiny lunch spot daily at $1.60 a throw. The clientele claim Art knows your order if you are a regular and the congenial atmosphere supports this.
Three regulars at the counter and for some reason not in school were setting up on hot dogs, perfect golden straight cut fries and sodas. Indelible memories are being digested in this 1927 ruddy red barrel roofed Worcester Lunch Car set along a canal in the downtown of Attleboro. One grey haired youngster who lives locally comes by twice a month for a fix of perfect franks and burgers. Just down the counter proudly displaying his second hot dog of the morning, Howard who lived nearby when he was 8 still makes a 80 mile round trip to Tex Barry's and now brings his grown children who share in the stuff of places that resist change and keep that "back in the day" feeling going. And then there's the TBCI challenge. How many can you eat in 20 minutes? Break the record and it's all on the house. 20 year old John Petrarca is the new record holder. He ate 17 1/2 dogs and we're told is doing fine.
A meal, a snack, a place to skip school where the folks are very cool and memories hang out. Rush here before Food Television comes and spoils it. The big neon hot dog outside this bright red diner is the unmistakeable sign of simple pleasures.

Tex Barry's Coney Island
31 County Road
Attleboro, MA

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Tex Barry's Coney Island
31 County St, Attleboro, MA 02703

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  1. f
    foodwallguy May 26, 2011 01:09 PM

    What a post. Madon!! I'm going, that's all there is to it. You had me at "Once upon a..."

    3 Replies
    1. re: foodwallguy
      EATTV May 26, 2011 01:52 PM

      You cannot make this stuff up. Everyday magic.

      1. re: EATTV
        h
        hotdoglover May 29, 2011 04:53 AM

        Kayem makes a fine frank. Too bad the ones pictured here are skinless rather than natural casing.

        1. re: hotdoglover
          EATTV May 29, 2011 07:51 AM

          I love the Kayem "Skinnies". Today I'll visit Hot Dog Annies in Leicester. I recently learned that Kayem in Chlesea keeps the recipes of defunct meatpackers live by making their old brands under contract. Kinda how Sam Adams brewed their majority at Pennsylvania breweries originally.
          Natural casings like Gray's Papaya are awesome. I can handle Speed's about twice a year. When I was a kid hot dog Annies sold skinless Kayem dogs grilled with toasted split tops and the word or BBQ sauce for 12 for a buck. Today at a much more dear price I am still up for 6.

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          Hot Dog Annies
          244 Paxton St, Leicester, MA 01524

    2. passing thru Jun 25, 2011 02:01 PM

      agreed--this place is classic. Attleboro was once loaded with all sorts of diners and the like, but this is the last remnant.

      Not too far away at 187 Pleasant St (aka Route 123) there's a decent spot called The Breakfast Place that serves a solid blademeat sandwich, which is a somewhat vanishing SE mass specialty for another stop down this way.

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      Breakfast Place
      187 Pleasant St, Attleboro, MA 02703

      2 Replies
      1. re: passing thru
        EATTV Jun 25, 2011 05:12 PM

        Had this at Dell's recently. Not sure if it was a good version.

        1. re: EATTV
          passing thru Jun 26, 2011 05:54 AM

          the Del's version is kind of weak, in my experience. The ones I have had at The Breakfast Place are definitely better. Standard breakfast fare in general is good here--it's no destination trip, but it's solid for a local spot.

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          Breakfast Place
          187 Pleasant St, Attleboro, MA 02703

      2. CapeCodGuy Jun 25, 2011 04:16 PM

        Great post. I smell a road trip.

        :-)

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