First Look

Tulsa ‘Legend’ Coney Island Hot Weiners Opens in Arlington, and There Might Be Cinnamon in the Chili

Coney Island Hot Weiners with mustard, chili, cheese and onions
Coney Island Hot Weiners with mustard, chili, cheese and onions Lauren Drewes Daniels
Coney Island Hot Weiners has expanded into the DFW area with a new location in central Arlington.

The history of this place goes all the way back to 1919 when its founder, Greek immigrant Christ Economou, arrived at Ellis Island. Economou started his wiener empire in the Northeast and made his way southwest following the rail lines, landing in Tulsa in the 1920s. labels the spot “A Tulsa Standard since 1926.” 

The most common way, apparently, to order these dogs is in threes.

You can get three cheese coneys and a fountain drink for $5.99, with chili, cheese, mustard and onions as free toppings. Chili-cheese fries are $3.75, and they have tamales ($2.35 for one with chili), as well as a “gourmet” baked potato ($5.25).

The wieners are sort of small but fit the small-ish bun well. In terms of ratio of bun to meat, there’s a nice balance, not too bready.

I asked about the peculiar, small size of the shredded cheese: They do it that way so it will melt easier. All in all, it’s a nice little Styrofoam tray of hot dogs. (Not that we endorse the use of that tray material.)

click to enlarge Coney Island Hot Weiners' chili-cheese fries - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Coney Island Hot Weiners' chili-cheese fries
Lauren Drewes Daniels
And there are no complaints anywhere about the fries. They're nice and crisp and hold the chili and cheese like a champ.

However, there’s definitely something “unique” going on with the spices in the chili.

Although the meat is ground up very small, so it’s lighter (and, no, it doesn’t have beans), there’s almost a sweetness to it. I asked the cashier about it, and they explained the chili is based on a Greek recipe and doesn’t use tomatoes the way we’re used to here.

I’ve searched the interwebs for clues about their secret recipe but couldn’t find anything definitive. One best guess recipe included Worcestershire Sauce, allspice and brown sugar. Some Yelp commenters write there’s cinnamon. I wouldn’t argue with them.

The ambiance is nice, and the staff is very helpful and friendly.

click to enlarge The interior at Coney Island Hot Weiners - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
The interior at Coney Island Hot Weiners
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The Arlington restaurant is on Cooper Street, between the University of Texas at Arlington and Arlington High School (the original), which might seem like just a humdinger of a spot to draw in hungry kids who love chili-cheese hot dogs (with cinnamon?). We’ll see.

Coney Island Hot Weiners, 1308 S. Cooper St., Arlington
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.