Although some Houstonians may regard it as just another chain, James Coney Island deserves more credit than that. Now in its 90th year (yes—JCI probably outlived your grandparents) serving coneys and chili dogs, the restaurant founded by brothers Tom and James Papadakis is still going strong.
James Coney Island
In this month's issue of Houstonia, food editor Robb Walsh took a look at the history behind this Houston success story. Ours has always been a city that's welcomed hard-working immigrants, and the Papadakis brothers exemplify this oft-told tale. Leaving a small town in Greece with virtually no money and no education, the Papadakis brothers headed for America and, Walsh writes, "like many Greek immigrants of the era, decided to open a hot dog stand."
That hot dog stand could have easily been named Tom Coney Island—odd to think about today—and the dogs themselves aren't named after the Coney Island you're probably thinking of. You can read more about the Papadakis's story in Walsh's article, and I suggest doing so with a few 90-cent hot dogs in hand.
All day long, James Coney Island is celebrating its 90th anniversary with 90-cent coneys at all Houston locations. No catch (except maybe that cheese costs extra)—just go in, order a piece of Houston history, and feast. I imagine the Papadakis brothers would approve.