Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island reopens, receives national recognition

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Over a hundred years of steamed buns, a secret sauce, and the dogs make up Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island.

Coney Island shut its doors for the first time in its history. COVID-19 hit the staff. Co-owner Jimmy Todoran says the closure gave them time to clean and make some minor repairs.

“We got them tested, rested, and ready to go,” said Todoran.

The reopening of Coney Island falls on a huge day for the restaurant, what would be Night of Lights.

“It’s so traditional for families for over the years they would come and watch the lighting and they would stand in line to get a coney dog. Since the lighting is not happening, of course, we still have some people that carried on the tradition though.”

For a family WANE 15 spoke to, some are experiencing Coney Island for the first time.

It just so happens the family is trying what Food and Wine Magazine calls the best hot dogs in the state.

“Oh it’s just, really, we’re really good at making hot dogs and doing things day-to-day. But you know, when something like this comes along, it really gives you a boost and say, “Well, we’re doing something right.” And it’s just really cool, and we’re really thrilled.”

Todoran says he credits the fact the recipe and quality of the dogs hasn’t changed.

“For number one, we don’t change. That’s a big part of it. And so much in a world that’s changed, and downtown that’s changing, the grandparents that brought their kids in and their kids, and generational. They sat on the same stools, they sat in the same tables, the same chairs, the same refrigerator is there. So it’s just familiarity. And, it’s comforting. It’s comfort food, and it’s comfort to come in also.”

A loyal customer base also helps.

“Thank you for all the patience that everybody’s had and the enthusiasm for us to open back up. It’s really been a nice shot in the arm. Because it’s the customers is what it’s all about, and we’ve got the best.”

Learn more about Coney Island and see its hours by clicking here.

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