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Coney Island on the Plains   Leave a comment

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Galesburg, Ill., is not a place often, if at all, associated with Coney Island, yet it’s been the home to Coney Island hot dogs since 1921. It’s recognized as the town’s oldest restaurant, complete with a plaque from the local historical society. Of course, restaurant may be a slight exaggeration. It’s has more of a soda fountain aura, and, after all, we’re just talking about hog dogs here.

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Nonetheless, the dogs – more than a dozen variations on the theme – are available along with a handful of sandwiches and several fountain treats like floats, shakes and sodas. The focus is on the namesake: a plump dog slathered with mustard, the house sauce and topped with diced onions. The sauce is ground beef mixed with red chile powder. It’s tasty and basic, just a few beans shy of a traditional chili dog.

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The décor looks like something out of a 1950s museum: lots of white script on bright red on everything from a clock to a jukebox. It’s not all Coca-Cola, though, there’s plenty of clutter advertising Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and more. There’s a lot of kitsch, but the place wouldn’t work as well with any other design scheme.

Typically, I eat hot dogs at baseball games and am satisfied with that level of frequency. My son, a student at Knox College, just a few blocks from Coney Island suggested we check it out on our recent visit. I’m glad we did. I’m sure if I lived closer my hot dog consumption would dramatically increase.

Coney Island

Four Plates
77 S. Cherry St.
Galesburg, Ill.

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