Back before the World War 1 broke out, our grandfather Steve arrived in New York City from Greece. He learned his trade while there and developed his own style and taste. When he came to Scranton he tried several small businesses before finally getting a foothold at 100 Cedar Avenue. From 1923 till 1972, the year of his death, he never missed a day. He fed generations with his wieners and hamburgers. Always wearing a button down shirt, with his tie and smoking a House of Windsor cigar. He kept the menu simple and the people loved it. Now in our 90th year, the tradition continues!
Why are there two coney islands?
This is a view taken by Pete of our first location of 100 Cedar Avenue, off Lackawanna Avenue in 1975. From 1923 till 1988 it served as the home of the best Texas Wiener around. In all those years we paid rent, never owning the building. In 1987, after deciding that the landlord is never going to put a dime back into the building, we began to look for a new location, our current location around the block.. If you go by there today, there's actually somebody still using our old place. In the phone book they call themselves "Coney Island of Scranton', but they won't paint that on the side of the building. They left the same name we left on there. What a scam. The owner says he pumped gas for a living before he took up the restaurant business. He should have stayed with the gas. They tried three locations outside the city under the name 'Coney Island of Scranton' and all three went out of business. Nuff said! If you want the original texas wiener, with the original chili sauce recipe, made by the original family (now in the 4th generation!), come to the ONLY Coney Island Lunch on Lackawanna Ave. If not, then shame on you!
Click the above image and you will see that we are the undisputed 'Original' Coney Island Lunch. Back in 1940 we gave away these calendar notepads. Our phone number back then was 3-9004. As more numbers were added to the Scranton area, our last four numbers remained the same. In the Fifties it went to 343-9004 and in the Seventies to 961-9004 (our current number). Go to the Scranton Public Library and check the Scranton City Directory any year back to 1923 and you will see that number never changed for us. The so called 'Original' in our old place got their number in when they opened in 1988.
Some of our history in pictures
The oldest picture of our Grandfather at work! Taken in the '30's.
Grandpa Steve and long time waitress Irene Ferrett in the late 60s.
There's our father, Jack, at the grill back in 1979.
Pete, back when he had hair, at the grill in 1975.
Pete continues the tradition 10 years later.
Pete & Bob in the old place, 1975. Note the tiny width of the restaurant walls!
Another shot of Pete & Bob in the old place, 1975.
That's our dad starting another batch of chili sauce back in '75 in the old place.
In this photo, our dad just finished a batch of our deep fried hamburgers in the old place, '75
Bob chopping onions in the old days.
Clowning around in the old kitchen is Pete, our sister Margie and Bob back in 1985.
Pete, at the grill on one of the last days before the big move!
A sign that greeted customers in the old joint. It was cracked when a burglar tried to break in!
Just about everything in the old place was crooked.
There is our old stove that held up a wall. It had to stay.
Last view of the booths before the move to Lackawanna Ave.
In the winter of '87 work progresses on our 515 Lackawanna Avenue location.
Pete looks in on the renovations. (1987)
Twenty years later......
Pete just can't stop putting up donated & collected items. (2005)
With over 40 years experience, Pete started out working as a busboy for his grandfather Steve before making his way up to a cook. Over the past few decades, Pete estimated he has cut over four million buns, affectionally earning him the title "Bun King." When Pete's not behind the grill, you can find him making soups, our Grandma Barb's rice pudding, and his Firehouse-style chili-con-carne. Pete has made it known he is a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan by all of the memorabilia on the walls.
Starting as a busboy soon after Pete, Bob also worked his way up to a cook. Today Bob is the master chili sauce and hamburger maker. He only uses the same spices and all the same ingredients as our forefathers. Bob's sauce has been enjoyed by our customers for over four decades. His meatball style hamburger patties, made from lean Schiff's ground round, are legendary. No fast food burgers here; after Bob deep fries them, he marinates them in a special chili sauce before they are served. The taste is unbeatable!
What's not to like? Great food (umm #3 to be exact), welcoming atmosphere, affordable and downtown in the middle of everything. You will NOT be disappointed!
The only place for lunch. I eat here EVERY TIME I am in Scranton. Pete, Bob, and the staff make you feel like you're at home every time you stop in for a bite to eat.
The food is great, and make sure you check out all the memorabilia in the joint. Pete's got a little bit of everything: sports pictures, local history, baseball bats, tickets, bobbleheads... He's a real sports nut! Strike up a conversation.