Dads Cook Good Food

For dads who enjoy cooking for their families

A Taste of Americana: Nathan’s Famous Beef Hotdogs

Some people wanted champagne and caviar when they should have had beer and hot dogs.
Dwight David Eisenhower

Yes, the Dads take Eisenhower’s advice seriously all the time. 😀  The simple things in life are indeed enough to make our tummies happy. 🙂  So, we thought of taking our lunch from the usual culinary food which we were sure our families will enjoy.  On our last hurrah for this summer, we headed for Coney Island where the Atlantic Ocean pairs up with the fine sand of the Brighton Beach. We were certain that the long weekend would bring people in droves to this side of the island, so it was worth hitting the road early. When a hint of the ocean showed up along the highway, the smell of sea salt arrested our senses, somewhat akin to the air that greets us whenever we visit the beaches of the Philippines.  Soon after, we knew that this experience was a prelude to a more tasty food adventure!

Nathan’s Famous, which started as a small hotdog stand in 1916, is an old and familiar establishment on this side of Coney Island. It boasts of a façade that features a humongous board with recent records of the famous 4th of July hotdog eating contest. The restaurant features several food counters on all sides of the building, supposedly to provide quick and fast service. However, we noticed that when you get fast service, your food is given to you with no frills, like hotdogs on paper plates and drinks with no cup holders.  🙂 But if you want those extra perks, you have to wait patiently for the server to put all of these in boxes and holders.

Although Nathan’s Famous gained its popularity by selling hotdogs, the restaurant today has expanded its menu to other fast food such as chicken tenders, Philly cheese steaks and burgers. For our food trip, we thought of sticking to hotdogs. They usually come in one size although their website menu reads that the beef dogs also come in various sizes as well. To add some zing, there’s an option of having free sauerkraut and onions for toppings. The beef hotdogs taste lighter and may pass for most hotdogs sold in any New York hotdog stand or supermarket so it’s probably the toppings that make a difference. If you opt for other toppings such as cheese, salsa or chili, you have to pay extra. The cheese is creamy yet light and compliments the hotdog’s “lite” taste. On the other hand, adding chili makes you think that you’re having an extra meal with the dog.  😀

You can also order an extra bag of their popular crinkled French fries, which comes with a small plastic fork to allow you to pitch and enjoy those deep-fried potatoes while they’re hot. Everything goes well with a tall cup of  cold soda (or for Canadians, pop!).

Incidentally, Nathan’s Famous is a brand name that you can buy in most New York supermarkets. In fact, Nathan’s Famous kiosks and food carts are found in most states and in other countries such as Canada, Jamaica, and China .  So why bother drive to their Coney Island outlet if you can just buy from a kiosk or the supermarket and enjoy the same beef hotdog at home? Of course, the toppings may be hard to duplicate but we knew that having it at Coney Island adds something to the taste. Because taste is a sensory experience, the smell of sea salt, the sound of the roaring sea, the cool breeze and the quaint old Americana atmosphere of Coney Island, including its boardwalk, gives the Nathan’s dining experience at the Island a whole lot of difference.

Now that summer is about to end, we recommend bringing the whole family to Nathan’s Famous at Coney Island. You’ll get to enjoy the clear and clean waters of Brighton Beach, rediscover the joy of walking down memory lane via the boardwalk and satisfy your hunger with Nathan’s Famous hotdogs. DCGF definitely gives Nathan’s Famous a “thumbs up.”  🙂


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