TLO Restaurant Review: Coney Island

The secondhand delectabilities of culinary tales twice-told finally came to an edible fruition as I crossed the threshold of Coney Island and ordered not only a couple of their famous chili dogs, but a mountainous plate of that legendary Greek-style spaghetti. It was a meal that, to be sure, was a long time coming.

As I recall it, sometime after World War II ended, once my father was discharged from the Army, he left his hometown of Waurika for a job selling insurance here in Oklahoma City, moving up the ranks until he owned his own agency by the late 1950s. Apparently there was a downtown lunch joint that, while working his door-to-door racket, he would stop at for a bite and down a few dogs, always lamenting that their chili was some of the best he had ever had.

Eventually—and I’m not sure when, but eventually—the same place started selling said chili as a lecherous companion to a platter of hot spaghetti, a dish that left such an impression on my typically difficult-to-please father that, growing up, whenever he made his weekly pot of chili on Sunday afternoon, you could always guarantee that there would be plenty of spaghetti to go with it. As we would settle down to enjoy this bounty for dinner, he’d tell the story of how he got the idea for the home version of this unlikely combo for the umpteenth time.

An Oklahoma City mainstay since 1924, Coney Island, at the very least in its original downtown location, must’ve been the place he’d always reminisce about, even up until his death in the late 90s. While he never mentioned it by name, once I walked into their location in Capitol Hill at 242 S.W. 25th St. and ordered a bit of long-awaited lunch for myself did it finally all tie together. This was the chili-drenched grail that my father had left behind and I had hopefully found it.

Like a brick-walled relic out of time, the place still has the feel of an old-school lunch counter from an era where men drank black coffee with everything, something I definitely did as I ordered up a pair of their timeless chili dogs with cheese and onions ($1.80 each) as well as the aforementioned spaghetti with chili and cheese ($5.00). On that note, hot damn if Coney Island ain’t one of the cheapest places in town for lunch!

Man, look at them dogs, will ya? Ain’t they the living end?

Using only high-quality red-stained Schwab’s franks by the truckload, these fully-loaded steaming wieners are everything that hot dogs should be and with each bite, everything they still can be. From the taut tubing of that premium sausage to the disarmingly flavorful chili—not as spicy as you’d think, with palate-pleasing seasonings of various shades overtaking the thankless need for a tongue-searing heat—ladled across those warm buns, you can’t eat just one and why would you want to?

And with that, here I am full circle and back to entertaining the angels that are chili and spaghetti together again and affectionately referred to, at least via the hand-painted windows, as a Greek-style offering. Either way—yes, indeed, you better believe it absolutely lives up to the puffed-up legend I was regaled with; I doubt in the 50 years since my father had his last plate of the stuff the recipe has changed all that much and, thank Zeus, it shows.

The simple enough mixture of this steadfast sturdy chili and the steaming hot spaghetti, liberally topped with cheese and diced onions was the pure epitome of traditionally makeshift comfort food, pure warmth on a cold day, reeling in the blessed feeling of a meal that I was never sure I’d ever have again in my life. Too bad they ain’t open Sundays. ¡Cómpralo ya!

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Additionally, my father once claimed he invented serving chili on a hamburger bun. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.

RIP: Russell’s Lounge

Late last week, OKC Talk broke the news that Russell’s Lounge – the old nightclub and cougars lair tucked away in a hotel along NW Expressway – had closed its doors for the final time. It’s being replaced by a new Braum’s.

Okay, I’m kidding. I guess the hotel is being remodeled and the new owners didn’t want a 1990s nightclub museum that smelled like cheap perfume and cocaine to take up meeting space. I guess you can’t blame them.

Since the news broke, people have shared their hazy memories about the place on social media. Naturally, Super Freak was reminisced by the news:

Mama E’s owner shares controversial thoughts about customers on Facebook

Mama E’s – a local soul food joint that has the unusual distinction of being the only restaurant in the world to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Restaurant Impossible and The Lost Ogle – created a social media uproar over the weekend when co-owner Stephanie Patterson responded to a customer complaint with accusations of roach planting and black on black racism.

It started when a customer posted a negative Facebook review claiming she found a roach swimming in her sweet potatoes:

Let’s be honest here – just about every restaurant has roaches, and sometimes they’re going to make their way into food. Just like a bird shitting on you, or realizing you’re eating a roasted bug and not a pistachio, it’s a fact of life that we all have to deal with from time to time. That’s why I recommend always wearing a blindfold when dining out. Basically, don’t make a big deal about it… unless you’re trying to get a free meal.

Naturally, Mama E’s co-owner Stephanie Patterson responded to the complaint by suggesting the customer planted the roach (because they don’t have that type of bug in the restaurant), and stating it doesn’t matter because Mama E’s is only concerned about white customers.

Check out this madness:

8 Things Actually Going Right for Oklahoma in 2018

Hello, fellow Oklahomans! We are officially 8 days into 2018. By now, you should have overcome the Christmas-to-New Year’s Eve holiday hangover, broken at least two of your resolutions, and gotten back into the swing of everyday life.

A lot has happened in the news in these short 8 days.  We are constantly bombarded with stories and articles that remind us of the worthlessness of our lawmakers, false hope about snow, and a million other things that put the Derp in Derplahomans. It seems to be well-informed means to be depressed. Not anymore! Because I am an annoying ball of sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn farts, I wanted to counter a lot of this negativity. So here are 8 things that are actually going right for Oklahoma in 2018!

Monday Morning Tweets

Howdy, pardners! We’re back with Monday Morning Tweets after a few weeks off for the holidays. I was still on Twitter more than I needed to, but it was a nice mental health break to not have to obsess over it every day trying to find y’all the dankest local tweets. I was mostly off the grid in a cabin at Lake Murray all weekend too, so there was a lot of catching up to do. But now that we’ve had a little break and refreshed, let’s get back to the action.