It's all about the chili
KINGMAN - Chances are you've eaten a chili dog at some point in your life, but if you're not from the Midwest or East Coast, there's a strong possibility that you haven't tried a Cincinnati chili dog.
Well, now is your chance.
Kevin Jay recently opened Coney's Island, a small chili parlor located near the Wash Me Carwash, where, "It's all on the chili."
At the moment, he serves Cincinnati chili hot dogs and spaghetti - that's right, spaghetti.
"Once you try it, chances are you're going to like it," Jay said.
The style of chili, which doesn't contain beans, grew out of the large Greek population in Cincinnati. Though recipes differ, most versions of Cincinnati chili contain ingredients such as cinnamon and chocolate.
"This is not a Texas chili," Jay said.
Jay's recipe, which he got from his mother, is no exception. A Coney's Island chili dog is slightly sweet but has just enough kick to satisfy your taste buds. The hot dogs are 100-percent beef, made with spices that accent the taste of the chili and topped with heaping portions of onions and cheese. Don't worry, onion haters. You can barely taste them, but somehow they add to the experience. If there's no way in the world that you'll allow an onion to pass your lips, Jay can accommodate by holding them off your order.
Cincinnati chili was Jay's favorite meal growing up, but running a close second were White Castle hamburgers. Jay plans on adding White Castle-style hamburgers to his menu. Known as sliders, the small burgers are steam-cooked on beds of dehydrated onions.
"They're better for you than a fried burger," Jay said.
Jay makes a fresh batch of chili every night. It's a four-hour process, he said.
Compared to what's served at Skyline Chili and Gold Star Chili - two of the most popular and successful Cincinnati chili chains - Jay's chili is toned down a bit. There's just a little less cayenne pepper in Jay's chili than common recipes.
Jay always wanted to do something like this. He was tired of one of his favorite foods not being available around town.
The menu is small and rather inexpensive, with the priciest item being the four-way spaghetti that costs less than $6. Four-way spaghetti consists of noodles, Cincinnati chili, cheese and onions.
"It's about a pound of food," Jay said.
Jay plans to hold a grand opening Wednesday. There will be buy-one-dog-get-one-dog-free specials and free sodas to people who use the Wash Me Carwash and can show their receipt.
Coney's Island is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week and till 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It's located at 3630 Stockton Hill Road.
"No matter how bad the economy is, people need to eat," Jay said. "If you can offer them something good at a fair price, I don't think you can really go wrong."