Coney I-Lander

Review by: Michael Stern

Coney Island Comes to Tulsa

In 1926, Christ Economou came to Tulsa, Oklahoma, from Texas, where he had run a few restaurants serving Coney Island hot dogs. He opened the city’s first Coney I-Lander. There are now a handful of these low-price, fast service restaurants selling chili dogs Tulsa style. A small hot dog goes into a steamed bun. They top it with mustard, chopped raw onions, and no-bean chili. Some customers choose shredded cheese to top it all. Others crown it with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

About the Chili

Exuberantly spiced but not tongue-tingling hot, the chili serves strictly as a condiment. You wouldn’t be dipping a spoon into a bowl of it to make a meal. It is more a spicy beef paste, eminently suited as a dressing for a snappy little weenie or as a topping for a plate of tamales. A single Coney I-Lander Coney provides two to four nice bites. Three or four chili dogs Tulsa style make a modest meal in the single-digit price range. Big eaters think nothing of having a half-dozen for lunch.


Ambiance is drive-in, fast-food, no-nonsense. Food-prep is a joy to watch and service is virtually instantaneous.

What To Eat

Coney Island Hot Dog



Coney I-Lander Recipes


What do you think of Coney I-Lander?

One Response to “Coney I-Lander”

Gary Scott

January 4th, 2008

The atmosphere at Coney I-Lander is odd but comfortable, and that’s part of the charm of the place. How many places offer not only cayenne pepper to sprinkle on your dogs, but also pepper sauce? Never having tried that combination, I was cautious, but now I’m sold.

But the real beauty to someone who appreciates restaurants and style is in the preparation of the food. Master garnishers are at work preparing coneys the way that only someone highly skilled at their craft can do. How much skill is involved in making a coney, you ask? That skill can be appreciated when you realize that they cover the entire coney smoothly with chili with a single fluid motion of their ladle, a single motion for the coating of cheese, and onions, if desired. Not a movement is wasted and their output is nothing short of phenomenal. I sat and watched in amazement as coney after coney was made without missing a beat. This is true craftsmanship in motion, of the kind that was common in the 50’s, but is often unknown today.

The flavor of the hotdogs and the chili are perhaps a little above average, but the show is phenomenal!


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