Saturday, November 27, 2010

Returning To Scranton's Coney Island

Thanksgiving at Mom's in Moosic was an especially enjoyable, stress-free family day. Stress stayed home, if you know what I mean.

The kids and I joined my sis and bro-in-law and my Aunt Mary for a terrific meal orchestrated by mom. It was as traditional as it gets, and as good as any in recent memory: sausage stuffed mushrooms, a tasty fresh turkey, Mom's killer stuffing, carrots and green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau to wash it all down. Mom made a special pumpkin lush in addition to her amazing mini-cream puffs, and we brought a Terhune Orchards apple pie. It was all just Norman Rockwell perfect, and I definitely needed that.

But the real fun was on Black Friday, when the kids and Grandma and I ventured into downtown Scranton to check out Don Clark's huge, elaborate model train display, "Minature Memories" at the Steamtown Mall, which came with a twist of tragedy at the start of the holiday. The kids enjoyed it somewhat, but I marvelled at Clark's recreation of so many Scranton landmarks, including even the fictional Dunder-Mifflin Scranton office from the sitcom, "The Office".

After the kids played a while at an indoor playground at the Mall, we huddled them off to lunch, to a true Scranton food landmark, Coney Island Texas Lunch, an 87-yr. old hot dog emporium nested under a railroad trestle a few blocks away from the Mall. The cozy luncheonette recently reopened after a devastating fire, expanded to more than triple its original size, and it really looked great. And best of all, its one-of-a-kind Texas weiners were as tasty as ever. They're not what you expect; these Texas weiners are made with short fat weiners, split and grilled and served on an airy, barrel-shaped roll that is a specialty of the area, baked for CITL by National Baking Co. in Scranton. The pictures above and below tell the story better than any verbiage. Above, Ben jumps around oustide the freshly repainted exterior, built on a steep slope next to that railroad trestle.

Just some of the many vintage soda bottles collected by the owners.....
....including my favorite (2nd from left), a locally made grapefruit soda called Kickapoo Joy Juice (I'm not making this up)!

The new dining area, nearly triple the size of the original row of tiny wooden booths.

Ben in one of the booths, built to resemble the original booths from 1923.

The regular menu. Weiners, burgers, fries, soup, rice pudding, pie. They do offer a few specials each day, including a couple of soups and desserts.

The short, fat, Texas Weiners on the flattop grill, split and grilled on both sides. The weiners are specially made for Coney Island by a local butcher, Gutheinz Meats, in South Scranton.

Two Texas Weiners with the works: mustard, chopped onions and a meaty chili sauce on that light, barrel-shaped roll.

This place is one of the great hot dog emporiums in America, hands down. Eating here brought back a flood of memories, especially from the many vintage photos on the walls. A must-visit for any hot dog lover, or anyone heading to Scranton. Can't wait to get back there. I'm glad my mom suggested it!

Coney Island Texas Lunch
100 Cedar Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503


Jack Curtin said...

This year's Nouveau is so perfect with roast turkey it should be banned lest we are forever doomed to long for what once was and might never be again.

RICH said...

And the bigger surprise is how well it paires with heartier burgers and meats and stews. Had some with beef stew last night---spectacular.