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Hometown Eats: George’s Coney Island Hot Dogs

January 8, 2012

Central Mass is not known for its culinary offerings but there are some things I know it does well – local ice cream, diners, and now, chili dogs. I’ve had a new-found appreciation for the hot dog since my first encounter with the snappy Chicago char dog and I made the trip to Providence this past summer in part to have a hot wiener featured on Man vs. Food Nation, but I had yet to have the hot dogs at George’s Coney Island in Worcester, despite having lived close by for so many years. Fortunately, being home for Christmas and New Year’s gave my Best Man the opportunity to take me and my brother to this landmark destination.

The sky that day was the brilliant kind of crisp blue that seems to appear far more often in the winter than any other season. I stopped to admire the old-school Coney Island sign as the boys headed in through the faded wooden swinging doors. I want to see this sign lit up in neon at night and have my hot dogs with cheap beer.

Of course, I had to have my hot dogs the way they are meant to be had at George’s Coney Island – with mustard, homemade chili, and chopped onion. For a side, I opted for a heaping mug full of sweet baked beans.

The snappiness of these dogs fell in between the Chicago dog and the Olneyville hot wiener. The sauce was rich in flavor but not too heavy or too thin like Cincinnati chili. I probably would have wanted a third hot dog if not for the fantastic slow-cooked baked beans, redolent with the taste of bacon or perhaps fatback. They were the sleeper hit of the meal, served charmingly in a diner coffee mug.

The interior of George’s Coney Island is far larger than this photo shows with another dining room on the other side of the wall. Diners walk in to see a long, low counter to their left with a big jar full of house pickles. I don’t think I saw a menu posted anywhere because people know what they’re here to eat. The website tells me there is a full bar and beer on tap, but that must have been in the other room. With the comforting feel of this place, the excellent and inexpensive food, and the super-friendly staff, I can’t wait to visit this place at night the next time I’m home.

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