George's Coney Island
158 Southbridge Street, Worcester, MA 01608
--- Winner, Best Hot Dog Stand in Boston Area, 2007 ---
A review of George's Coney Island in Worcester on Boston's Hidden Restaurants might seem a bit strange. How, you might ask, can a landmark restaurant built around the end of World War I be included on a site that features little-known restaurants? Well, for one, very few people outside of Worcester know about George's Coney Island. And even fewer would know how to get there, especially considering the, um, CREATIVE road system that makes up the central part of Worcester. So between the fact that this hot dog stand is frequented mainly by locals and the idea that finding George's Coney Island can be a challenge for folks not from Worcester does, indeed, make this a hidden gem of sorts. Oh, and there is one other reason why we are featuring George's Coney Island. Depending on whom you ask, the place may just have the best hot dogs in all of New England.
George's Coney Island is located just south of downtown Worcester in a dusty, wide-open, rather desolate part of town. The sign is the first thing you see as you approach George's; a huge old neon behemoth with (of course) a big hot dog on it, making its presence known to drivers in the immediate area around it. The classic old look of George's exterior continues upon entering the place, as it almost has the tired, worn-out feeling of a beer hall. Ancient (and graffiti-laden) wooden booths, a dark, eerie feel to the long, narrow dining area, and the mouthwatering smell of hot dogs cooking all give this place an undeniable charm.
The dining process is quite simple at George's Coney Island, as patrons place their orders at the counter, wait for their food, then grab a table off to the side or in the back. And it is indeed all about the hot dogs at George's (though they do have burgers and some other food here), so it is all a matter of whether you want your dog with onions, chili sauce, peppers, mustard, pickles, etc. Now about the hot dogs themselves: They are fairly small, come in a basic steamed bun, and have very little snap to them, but these grilled dogs have an extraordinary taste, thanks in part to the sweet, mild chili sauce that can be added to them. Whatever they use to make the chili sauce works wonders, imparting a unique flavor that will stick in your memory long after you have left the place.
There are some truly great places to get hot dogs in New England, including Al's Hot Dog Stand in Naugatuck, CT, Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, CT, and Simco's in Mattapan, but this tired old hot dog joint near downtown Worcester might have them all beat. It is a matter of opinion, of course, as to who has the best hot dogs in the region, but this writer might indeed have to place a vote for the magnificent George's Coney Island.
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