When darkness falls on Main Street, one business stands out as a beacon in the night—the venerable Coney Island Wiener Stand.
During the holidays the windows fog up from the crowd inside as a line of chilly would-be noshers snakes out the door and down the block. During Christmas season many families cap off an evening of going downtown to see the giant lighted Santa on the PNC Bank building with a trip to Coney Island.
The restaurant does brisk business year-round—good enough, in fact, that it’s open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday & Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
So why has this hot dog stand at 131 W. Main Street endured for over 100 years when so many trendier, glitzier restaurants have not? In a world transforming at a seemingly alarming pace the Coney Island somehow seems changeless.
The wonderful, polite fast service keeps people coming back but then so do the memories. It’s a happy experience. When old-timers come back it’s the happy things they remember.
Stepping into the Coney Island is like stepping back in time—maybe not all the way to 1914, when it opened, but back to the days when going out for a couple of hot dogs was considered a real treat.
Passersby can feast their eyes on the neatly lined rows of hot dogs cooking on the grill in the front window. Inside, a neon sign in the back proclaims, “Our Buns Are Steamed.”
What about the star attraction—the hot dogs? Patrons young and old find the juicy franks—plopped into steamed buns, drizzled with chili sauce and topped with hand-chopped onions—irresistible.
By Cindy Larson – amended and updated by Kathy Choka
Oldest Hot Dog Stand in America – Founded in 1914