When Visiting Coney Island, Eat Here, Not There

Coney Island, New York. The words evoke memories of a time gone by, when traveling to the beach and going the rides on the boardwalk was the ultimate vacation. Much has changed since the early 1900s but many things still remain. The boardwalk is still there, but you can’t go under it anymore and some of the old rides still exist as memories of a time gone by.

There’s one other thing that has remained in Coney Island for over 100 years. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs.

Sure, some people only know Nathan’s as the home of the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest. That alone makes eating there a tourist attraction for almost everyone visiting Coney Island. However, many people eating at Nathan’s, don’t realize they aren’t eating at the original Nathan’s Famous.

If you want to eat at Nathan’s, this spot on the Boardwalk isn’t the place to go.

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Sure they serve Nathan’s Famous hot dogs but the lines are long and the seating is limited. Not to mention the seagulls hovering overhead.

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Why would you want to eat at a stand on the Boardwalk when the original Nathan’s Famous location is just a block away at the corner of Surf & Stillwell Avenues. This is the site of the original restaurant that opened back in 1913. 

Walk inside to the counter full of a seemingly endless line of registers. They’re in sections depending on what type of food you want to order. Burgers, chicken and seafood have their own areas but the ones all the way to the right are the express hot dog lines (and if you’re here, you’re coming for the hot dogs, right?)

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Hot dogs come plain or with sauerkraut upon request. They also serve cheese dogs but I’m a purist. The rest of the condiments are outside, and by condiments I mean they have ketchup, mustard and sweet relish; these are New York hot dogs and that’s all you need.  Walk around the corner of the building, where they have a line of tables, and enjoy!

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Sure, going to Nathan’s in Coney Island is a touristy thing to do but if you’re going to be a tourist anyway, you might as well get a sense of the history of the place while you’re at it instead of just grabbing a hot dog from a stand on the boardwalk.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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