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The Nook

223 West Van Buren Street, Columbia City, IN - (260) 248-8700
Posted By Cliff Strutz on 2/5/2013 5:54:00 PM
At one time, it seemed that just about every town of decent size in the Midwest had their own Coney Island hot dog shop. Unfortunately, they are harder to find these days, which is why it was such a pleasure to come across The Nook in Columbia City, IN. It has only been in business since 1971, but it has a much older feel and I was told the building was another restaurant before then. The inside is long and narrow, with 19 counter seats and more booths in the back. Colorful murals fill up the back wall space.

The wieners are grilled until brown with a crispy skin and placed in soft, steamed buns. While other toppings are available, the locals prefer their coneys with the homemade chili, onions, and yellow mustard. The addictive chili is dark and meaty, with a fetching heat on the back end. Unlike other hot dog joints we have seen that slap the toppings on the wieners at a lightning pace (I am thinking Rhode Island's New York System restaurants), they take their time and add the chili and onions with care and precision. The prices are small town low and a Coney Basket with two chili dogs and fries will set you back a mere $3.75. To wash it down: a thick chocolate shake, delivered in a tall glass.

Before leaving, I asked if the chili sauce was a family secret. The young lady who waited on us turned out to be the owner's granddaughter and confirmed that it was. Another waitress nearby overheard the conversation and laughingly complained, "I had to work here for ten years before they showed me how to make it!"

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Coney Dog
Onion Rings
Chocolate Milkshake
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The best seats in the house are right in front of the grill, which is where the action is.
"The best seats in the house are right in front of the grill, which is where the action is."
Cliff Strutz





A couple of coneys, ready to eat!
"A couple of coneys, ready to eat!"
Cliff Strutz


What could be better for washing down a couple of coneys than a chocolate milkshake?
"What could be better for washing down a couple of coneys than a chocolate milkshake?"
Cliff Strutz


The slightly greasy onion rings are fine and easy to eat, but this isn't why you should visit The Nook.
"The slightly greasy onion rings are fine and easy to eat, but this isn't why you should visit The Nook."
Cliff Strutz


The menu board
"The menu board"
Cliff Strutz


All the way in the back you can see a hot air balloon mural. On the side wall is an impressive roller coaster scene.
"All the way in the back you can see a hot air balloon mural. On the side wall is an impressive roller coaster scene."
Cliff Strutz


Most towns wish they still had a charming little hot dog shop like The Nook.
"Most towns wish they still had a charming little hot dog shop like The Nook."
Cliff Strutz



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