The Nook

Hot Dog | Small Town Café
One of the best

At one time, it seemed that just about every town of decent size in the Midwest had their own Coney Island hot dog shop. Unfortunately, they are harder to find these days, which is why it was such a pleasure to come across The Nook in Columbia City, IN. It has only been in business since 1971, but it has a much older feel and I was told the building was another restaurant before then. The inside is long and narrow, with 19 counter seats and more booths in the back. Colorful murals fill up the back wall space.

The wieners are grilled until brown with a crispy skin and placed in soft, steamed buns. While other toppings are available, the locals prefer their coneys with the homemade chili, onions, and yellow mustard. The addictive chili is dark and meaty, with a fetching heat on the back end. Unlike other hot dog joints we have seen that slap the toppings on the wieners at a lightning pace (I am thinking Rhode Island’s New York System restaurants), they take their time and add the chili and onions with care and precision. The prices are small town low and a Coney Basket with two chili dogs and fries will set you back a mere $3.75. To wash it down: a thick chocolate shake, delivered in a tall glass.

Before leaving, I asked if the chili sauce was a family secret. The young lady who waited on us turned out to be the owner’s granddaughter and confirmed that it was. Another waitress nearby overheard the conversation and laughingly complained, “I had to work here for ten years before they showed me how to make it!”

What to Eat
The Nook, Coney Dog
Coney Dog
A couple of coneys, ready to eat!
The Nook, Chocolate Milkshake
Chocolate Milkshake
What could be better for washing down a couple of coneys than a chocolate milkshake?
The Nook, Onion Rings
Onion Rings
The slightly greasy onion rings are fine and easy to eat, but this isn't why you should visit The Nook.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Monday9 am - 7 pm
Tuesday9 am - 7 pm
Wednesday9 am - 7 pm
Thursday9 am - 7 pm
Friday9 am - 7 pm
Saturday9 am - 3 pm
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

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    Powers Hamburgers, dating back to 1940, is a tiny Art Deco Fort Wayne gem specializing in burgers smothered with caramelized onions.

  • Mr. Dave’s

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    Famous for the iconic Midwestern breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, Mr. Dave’s is a vintage eatery that also serves from-scratch burgers & broasted chicken.

  • Nick’s Kitchen

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    Nick’s breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is a Midwest best. Everything here is great, but save room for excellent Hoosier sugar-cream pie or an apple dumpling.

  • Clay’s Family Restaurant

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  • Nick’s Country Café

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  • Village Inn

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