A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 14, 2007
Coney Sauce (Coney Island Sauce; Hot Dog Sauce)

Coney sauce (also called Coney Island sauce or hot dog sauce) is what’s put on a “coney” or “Coney Island” (“hot dog”). It often contains chili (without beans), onions, and a few other ingredients. Recipes for this “hot dog sauce” have been in print since the late 1930s.
Wikipedia: Coney Island hot dog
A Coney Island hot dog (also Coney dog) is a hot dog made from beef with casing, topped with an all meat chili, diced yellow onion and yellow mustard. The product described in this article was primarily developed in Michigan, and served there and in the “heartland” states; that is, the non-coastal states of the U.S.. In parts of Southern California the meal is called “Beecher’s Revenge,” or, “the Shapely-Brow Special” in reference to the famous Malibu eatery.
In many locations, a “Coney Island hot dog” includes “coney sauce,” which is generally a beanless chili. This variation of the “Coney Island hot dog” is thought to have been invented in the state of Michigan by various claimants (such as Todoroff’s in Jackson, Michigan or American Coney Island in Detroit). As a result, Coney Island hot dogs featuring “coney sauce” are prevalent around the Midwest United States, particularly in Detroit, Michigan. In general, the phrase “Coney Island hot dog” is now used primarily to refer to the version with chili sauce. In southeast Michigan, a number of casual dining establishments are called “Coney Island restaurants” indicating the popularity of the chili dog.
Todoroff’s Original Coney Island (Jackson, MI)
George Todoroff
George founded the Jackson Coney Island restaurant in 1914. He created his famous recipe for Coney Island Chili Sauce, and the Coney Island hot dog was born. He also created his recipe for Chili Con Carne. George’s Jackson Coney Island offered a menu of Coney Island hot dogs, Chili Con Carne, baked beans, pies, soft drinks, beer, and wine.
His Jackson Coney Island restaurant was located in front of the Jackson Train Station on East Michigan Avenue and was open 24 hours everyday. Many of the train engineers and conductors, and passengers, would walk into the restaurant through the back door for a lunch of Coneys, a plate of baked beans or a bowl of Chili Con Carne, and a beer. During the next 31 years, he sold 17,000,000 Coney Islands. George retired in 1945.
The All-American hot dog has been around for a long time. George Todoroff improved this American favorite when he created his famous recipe for Coney Island Chili Sauce in 1914. He added this one-of-a-kind jewel to the hot dog, along with mustard and onions, and the Coney Island hot dog as we know it, was born.
29 November 1938, Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, pg. 8, col. 4:
It’s then cut, diagonally, in large “hunks.” Serve it with Hot Dog Sauce.
To make this sauce, fry a little hamburg steak in beef suet with garlic, dust with flour, add stock or water and cook until slightly thickened. Season with chili powder, salt and paprika to taste.
23 May 1940, Newark (OH) Advocate and American Tribune, pg. 9, col. 8 ad:
Coney Island Hot Dogs, with the Genuine Coney Sauce 5c
12 March 1948, Mount Pleasant (Iowa) News, pg. 6, cols. 7-8 ad:
We have installed a new machine for serving delicious FRANKS, piping hot - - - served as Hot-Dogs or with Coney Sauce.
17 February 1949, Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram, “Preparing Coney Island Sauce Is Signal Hot Dogs Are Ready” by Mildred K. Flanary, pg. B4, col. 1:
Coney Island Sauce
Sweet relish—1/2 cup
Chili relish—1/2 cup
Mayonnaise—3/4 cup
Catsup—1/3 cup
Horseradish—1 tablespoon
Mustard—2 tablespoons
Sugar—1 tablespoon
Grated onion—2 tablespoons
Dash of salt.
Mix it up accidentally and call in the gang to have hot dogs and pop.
31 July 1955, Dallas Morning News, part 6, pg. 8:
And some prefer Coney Island sauce: Finely chop several onions and add enough catsup to moisten well; add prepared mustard to taste.
31 August 1955, Daily Review (Hayward, CA), pg. 17, col. 2:
Just give them plenty of flavorful filling frankfurters and long buns and a choice of chili con carne…Coney Island sauce which combines finely chopped onions, catsup to moisten and prepared mustard to suit taste…and savory sauerkraut which has been heated with brown sugar and maybe some caraway seeds, then chilled.
21 October 1955, Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, “Of All Things” by Sol Padlibsky, pg. 10:
This is what Mr. Lucas said goes into his original sauce, for 150 hot dogs:
Two pounds of beef fat; five pounds of ground beef; six large onions, head of garlic; celery leaves; tomato paste; beef stock; half pound paprika; two ounces salt; one ounce each of black and red pepper; soup spoon of mixed spice, six ounces of chili powder.
“First you heat two pounds of beef fat. Then, you grind five pounds of beef,” said Mr. Lucas. Put the ground beef into the fat and boil slowly.
“Brown the chopped-up six large onions, garlic head and celery leaves, and don’t let burn, and into this put the paprika, salt, pepper, mixed spice. Next boil two pounds of beef stock and a half of a No. 10 can of tomato paste for two hours and stir well.
“When the ground beef is half done put all this into it, and you got the original Andy Lucas hot dog sauce, and your friend in Pittsburgh should be plenty satisfied.”
19 May 1957, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. 32D:
Coney Island Sauce For Frankfurters
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (8 ounce) tomato sauce
3 tablespoons pimiento, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon monosodium glutamate
6 tablespoons water
Brown ground beef. Cool slowly, breaking up with a fork until very fine. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 10 minutes. Thin with water if necessary, or, if too thin, cook a few minutes longer. Makes sauce for 12 wieners.
Note: If time does not permit to prepare the above recipe, use canned chili without beans.
23 November 1958, Kerrville (TX) Times, Cafeteria Menu, pg. 4, col. 7:       
Wieners with Coney Sauce
23 May 1959, Mansfield (OH) News-Journal, Readers’ Recipe Exchange, pg. 6, cols. 2-3;
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. minced pimento
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Accent
6 Tbsp. water
Brown ground beef, cook slowly breaking up until fine. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer for 10 minutes. Thin with water if necessary, or if too thin, cook for few minutes longer. Makes enough sauce for 12 wieners.
15 November 1961, Mansfield (OH) News-Journal, Readers’ Recipe Exchange, pg. 11, col. 3:
I would like a recipe for GENUINE Coney Island Sauce. The recipe that appeared in the paper was for Coney Sauce. There are many recipes for Coney Sauce but just one for oCney Island Sauce and it originated at Coney Island.—Jane Carver.
2 March 1962, Coshocton (OH) Tribune, pg. 3, col. 1 ad:
It’s a tasty hot dog with our own special coney sauce, mustard, catsup and/or chopped onion. 
24 March 1977, Mansfield (OH) News, ““Let’s Ask The Cook” by Carol McGarvey, pg. 17:
Coney sauce, like chili, comes in many different varieties. Here are two for you to try. The first one is a baked variety and it was a hometown lunch-counter favorite. The second is a quicker version.
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. onion, chopped
1 can condensed tomato soup
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 can kidney beans
Brown ground beef and, in a casserole, combine with remaining ingredients. Season with salt and paprika.
Bake uncovered at 300 degrees for one hour. Makes four to six servings.
1/2 lb. ground beef, browned
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. monosodium glutamate
Brown ground beef in skillet. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Makes 1 1/3 cups.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, April 14, 2007 • Permalink

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