In 1926, Christ Economou came to Tulsa, Oklahoma from Texas, where he had run a few hot dog restaurants, and opened the city's first Coney I-Lander. There are now a handful of these cheap chili-dog restaurants in Tulsa and environs, all based on the formula of a small hot dog in a steamed bun topped with mustard, raw onions, and no-bean chili. Shredded cheese is a popular option; and some folks get theirs with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
The chili is vividly spiced but not tongue-tingling hot, and it is nothing like the stuff you would spoon up from a bowl as a meal. It is more a spicy beef paste, eminently suited as a dressing for a snappy little weenie or as a topping for a plate of tamales. A Coney I-Lander Coney is a two or three bite affair. Three or four are a modest meal in the single-digit price range; big eaters think nothing of having a half-dozen for lunch.
Ambience is drive-in, fast-food plain. Service is virtually instantaneous.
"Here is a standard Coney I-Lander Coney dog topped with mustard, chili and raw onions. Ask for it 'loaded' and a handful of grated cheese is strewn on top. The one other option is a sprinkle of cayenne pepper."
"Coney Island Hot Dog has a small town atmosphere. There's only one item on the menu so you just say how many you want and what you want on them!"
"The tamales themselves are small, but come smothered in plenty of chili and cheese."
"This sign is outside the Coney I-Lander on Admiral Pl. There are about a half-dozen other Coney I-Landers around Tulsa."