Park Circle Area Eatery Welcome Addition To Charleston Food Scene
By: Jeff Walker, Business Review
Nearly a century after the first Coney Island Hot Weiners (CIHW) opened in greater Tulsa, Oklahoma, the long standing eatery known for their signature hotdogs has found its way to Charleston, South Carolina. Founded in 1926 by Greek immigrant Christ Economou, Coney Island Hot Weiners takes its name from the famed Brooklyn neighborhood many New Yorkers gravitate to each and every summer, for boardwalk amusements, the beach, and a plethora of hotdog stands.
Setting down roots in his new country, Christ travelled from New York to Oklahoma opening ‘Coneys’ along the way, each time selling them to another Greek immigrant eager to bring their families to America. By the time Christ and his young family arrived in Tulsa, Christ opened the very first Coney Island Hot Weiners, making it the 27th store overall and the first with the new brand name.
Fast forward to 2017 and with Christ’s granddaughter in-law Vicki Economou now overseeing operations, the company began to franchise the restaurant. Even with new franchises popping up, one thing has remained a constant with CIHW. If you’re familiar with that old expression, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, well CIHW has never changed their menu, or the tried and true recipes that have made them famous, and they ain’t about to start 94 years later.
All that history coupled with a great tasting hotdog, was more than enough for Mike Tuttle to want to open a CIHW location here in Charleston. With his own history of owning and operating Sonic Drive-Ins for several years, Mike knew a good thing when he saw it. Although scheduled to open in November of 2019, several unforeseen delays pushed it back until spring of 2020, which was further put on hold due to a little thing called the Corona Virus.
Roadblocks now behind him, Mike with longtime Charleston area foodie Marc ‘Fish’ Fisher as general manager, threw open the doors to CIHW in June of 2020. Offering up a niche menu that focuses on great tasting hotdogs at their core, CIHW also serves up awesome homemade chili, tamales, and appropriate sides, ie chili cheese fries and crinkle cut fries.
What sets CIHW apart is the hotdog itself. Much like their famed menu, the franchise has never waivered on the weiner they place in the bun. Their partnership with fellow Oklahoma natives Schwab Meat Company goes back to the nearly a century.
A German immigrant George Peter Schwab brought his love for German sausages with him when he landed on Ellis Island in 1890 before making his way to Oklahoma City before the turn of the century. One hundred plus years later the quality of the weiner can be sensed in every bite.
Enough of the history lesson, let me get down to the basics. CIHW on Spruill Avenue is an awesome place to enjoy everyday staples in an unpretentious setting. The Regular Coney Special aka 3 regular coneys and a fountain drink will set you back $7.49. Tasty dogs and an appetizing price.
For a mere 50 cents more you can have shredded cheese oozing all over your perfectly seasoned franks. Still doubly tasty, for the palate and wallet. The kids meal complete with hotdog, chips, and a drink is just $3.99. You can’t go wrong, what kid under 10 doesn’t love a hotdog for lunch or dinner.
Want to go old school, order up a root beer float with your triple hotdog experience. It will take you back to a more innocent time, much like shagging on the pier. Have a sweet tooth, than perhaps a cool slice of key lime pie might satisfy your craving, or maybe a fresh cookie or ice cream. CIHW is teeming with sweet treats from yesteryear.
Just a few months since they introduced Coney Island Hot Weiners to greater Charleston, the Park Circle locale has been doing steady business. The weiners might be king, but many are flocking to CIHW for their signature chili, with just enough kick to excite the taste buds.
Fish says they go thru 250 pounds of chili a week, whether served up on a dog, or as a meal. The ground beef comes straight from low country favorite Burbages in Goose Creek. In my opinion, supporting local vendors always makes a meal taste better. Looking to change it up, I recommend the tamales, also delivered every other day by a local vendor. At CIHW the husks are steamed as needed, and come packed with ground beef, veggies, and jalapeno cheese to add the zest.
Want to feed the family without breaking the bank. Get the Family Coney 4 Pack, which includes a dozen dogs, four chips, and four drinks for $32.99. You do the math, that’s about $8 a piece. Nice!
There might be several CIHW franchises dotted throughout the American countryside, however Mike Tuttle’s is the first and currently the only one in the weiner family to have a tavern attached to the hotdog eatery.
While his neighbor ‘The Codfather’ has its own British themed pub, Mike has taken his bar up a notch by offering not just beer and wine, but mixed drinks as well, allowing his CIHW to be a place locals can stop for a hotdog and a beer, or maybe just have a quick drink with friends after a grueling workday. On occasion you’ll enjoy live music 6-9pm Thursday thru Saturday at CIHW.
The restaurant side is open 11am-8:30pm daily, with the bar closing at 10pm. Keep in mind Mike set out not only to bring great tasting hotdogs to Charleston, but to open an affordable family style eatery. Mission accomplished. You’ll find them at 4258 Spruill Avenue in North Charleston. Call ahead takeout and ordering online available. Visit their site at https://www.parkcircleconeyisland.com/