Nathan’s Famous: Nothing Better Than Coney Island

Date June 21, 2008

Purists be damned, there is no better hot dog than a Chili Cheese Dog only from Nathan’s on Surf & Stillwell in Coney Island. A garlicky, juicy and snappy all-beef dog covered in mild beef chili and heart-slowing warm cheddar cheese sauce, it’s heaven on a bun and it’s an authentic New York experience.

If you haven’t been to Coney Island recently, get out there.  You can take a ride on the Cyclone, eat pizza at the legendary Totonno’s (just a block away from Nathan’s), grab some hot dogs, and go see the Mets future stars playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones.  Read on to find out if the bacon cheese dog was better than it looked plus some delicious fry photos.

At first I asked for bacon on my chili cheese dog but the look of sheer amazement on the cashier’s face dissipated when she couldn’t find a button for this on the register.  Unfortunately, the bacon cheese dog ($3.65) was nothing like the Crif Dogs bacon-wrapped version I hoped for. It was really salty and just made me feel sorry for my arteries.  I’ll definitely go with two chili cheese dogs ($3.65 each) next time.

The fries ($2.99 for a large order) were delicious as always, and like the hot dogs, better than the fries at any other Nathan’s I’ve ever been to.  It must be the oil and the grill, the flavor of nostalgia resonates with every bite.

Here’s a look at the menu. You can eat inside but the real experience is ordering and eating outside, letting the fresh ocean breeze help you breathe after you down two chili cheese dogs and fries.

And to set the scene for you, here’s the outside of what may be the greatest mecca to hot dogs in this country, maybe the world.

Nathan’s Famous

1310 Surf Ave. at Stillwell Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Open Daily, 8am-1am

30 Responses to “Nathan’s Famous: Nothing Better Than Coney Island”

  1. Bill said:


    Love the Nathan’s, man! I’m a real purist though. I only get the dog with the onions on it and no ketchup on the fries. I absolutely hated hot dogs growing up, but Nathans are so f-ing good. Nice snap, garlicky, meaty and the onions add something to it rather than obscure the flavor. I can’t have the fries anywhere but Surf and Stillwell, just not the same, so true! Hey, have you ever bought their dogs in a grocery store and made them at home. Are they just as good (strictly basing it on taste and not the whole ambience/experience of “being there”)?

  2. tubesteak guy said:

    look at those TUBESTEAKS. i am giving new meaning to “working hard” right now!

  3. Phil said:

    Nothin better than a nathan’s dog from coney island! Those fries are AMAZING! Food guy, you ever have the nathan’s chili fries?? SO good!!! 🙂

    I love those hot dogs oooooh baby!

  4. Phil said:

    Oh and one more thing food guy,

    I was going through an old post of yours and noticed that you did a review on a foot-long (wow!) chilli cheese dog and fries from Shea:

    Can you compared the chilli cheese dogs and fries with one another? Excluding the fact that on was a foot long, does the chilli cheese dog w/ fries from Shea even compare to the real thing? Thanks!


  5. Petey said:

    I love Nathan’s all beef hot dogs, but NYCFG have you ever tried the hot dog brand, “Best’s”. they are made in newark nj and are the dankest. Nathan is still a stud though!!!! What is the biggest dog youve ever had????

  6. Phil said:


    I’ve never had best’s before but are you sure they’re from Newark, NJ? A quick google search would indicate they are from Chicago. A good hot dog is a good hot dog though. What are you favorite places to eat in the city? I love the recession special at gray’s papaya. I used to love the 99c hot dog man in Penn Station down at the long island rail road too!

    PS, here’s the best’s link:


  7. Petey said:


    you really know your weiners!!! but the bests im talking about are at the following link: the free hot dogs at rudys are amazing as well, and its tough to find anything for free these days :). nycfg would go with me and phil to rudys one night for a for a weiner-a-thon?

  8. Phil said:


    Excuse my ignorance. I have not heard of these either but after having a look at their franfurter section;

    I must have died and gone to heaven!!! Do you like your weiners skin-on? or skin-off? I’m more of a skin-on kind of guy.

  9. Phil said:

    And I would love to go for a weiner-a-thon one night with you and NCYFG Petey, but I’m not sure I could “hang” with this guy. Have you ever seen what he’s capable of eating? If not, check this out:

    It’s ridiculous!

  10. Crank Master said:

    Phil & Petey-

    There’s only one way to settle this: The 2 of you should get together with your dogs in your hands and have an eat-off. And don’t forget the special sauce, it makes all the difference.

  11. Petey said:

    i love both skin-on and skin-off! I have always been open minded and do not discriminate based on relgion(heheheh jkjkjk). When it comes to hot dogs i do pefer skin-on to get that extra snap. but id consume a skinless frank in no time!

  12. frank-in-stank said:

    skin on all the way!!!

    another question: beef or pork? i personally prefer to pork dogs.

  13. Phil said:

    I like beef. for sure Not too sure what kind of meat you’re actually eating when you pork dogs.

    This site is great, i’m really in the mood for a good hot dog tonight. Might have to go over to Gray’s! Thanks FG!

  14. weiner-in-between-her said:

    sometimes i just stare at Nathan’s Frank!

  15. frank-in-stank said:

    definitely. can i get in your dog-a-thon? i’m gonna have to make it to coney island to try out these hogs! that is wack that they don’t let you put bacon on the chili cheese… i get that elsewhere and it is heaven in a skin casing!

  16. frank-in-stank said:

    wow and best’s really do sound good! i wonder how big the king sized franks are!?

  17. frank-in-stank said:

    nycfg, what is the difference between coney island nathan’s and all the others?

  18. petey said:

    What is the thickest hot dog youve ever had? mine was jamals!

  19. Phil said:

    hmmmm.. something tells me these posts aren’t serious. But nonetheless, the thickest dog i’ve ever had was at my friend justin’s bbq. I think it was a ballpark jumbo.

  20. Blondie said:

    the best part about the coney island nathan’s is that NO ONE wants to eat the other food, just hot dogs.

  21. gaf57 said:

    hey guys, found this by accident.
    Haven’t been to Nathan’s in years. Now I’m hungry and just have to drive to Brooklyn. And I live in Pa.!!

    Oh well, somethings are just worth the drive.

  22. Phil said:

    ummmm buddy…. driving from PA to Brooklyn for a nathan’s hot dog????

  23. The NYC Food Guy said:

    I can’t hate your motivation for Nathan’s. In fact, I love it. This is by far the best Nathan’s there is and word on the street is that it may close soon. If you do go out there though, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t check out the original Totonno’s pizza. It’s parallel to Nathan’s literally three blocks away from the beach. It’s some of the best coal oven pizza I’ve had. And as long as your in the city, stop by the East Village for some bacon wrapped hot dogs at Crif Dogs. They’re incredible.

  24. MrArtTuro - The Food Maven said:

    Dearest Foodie NYCFG et al,

    I gotta say that most of us old time Coney Nathans Lovers actually just have their dogs with mustard. Their mustard is tasty and tangy and good in a commercial way.

    Might I add that I was raised on the twentieth floor of Luna Park Coop Houses facing Nathans and the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump. On the corner of Stillwell Ave and Surf Ave Nathans, through the 1960’s, above the ‘restaurant’ had a huge clock the ‘hands’ of which used to be two hot dogs. Routinely we’d look out the window to tell the time in those days.

    About the incredibly good french fries (if they’re still being made as they used to in the summer in the 1980’s when i worked there) they are made from fresh potatoes (this location only) and they are skinned and peeled then crinkle thick cut all on site. Then they are twice fried. Initially at a lower temperature to cook them , then for a shorter amount of time at a higher frying temperature.

    Mr FoodMan, when you (& the KetchupKing?) go to all you can eat Ribs on the LES , please drop me a line. I need some juicy tenderness soon.

  25. Mike said:

    Nathans on Coney Island is probably one of a handful of great hot dog places on the East Coast. I live out West and was surprised how good it was, after a dissapointing experience at Papaya King and Crif in the city, this place redeemed NY’s hot dog scene. Although the Chili is like regular Chili with beans and not the beanless kind that you get at most places around the country. I think the only other place in the tri-state area that compares is the Windmill in NJ.

  26. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Nathan’s dogs are awesome. On pure dog alone, I agree, it’s one of the best if not THE best. Unfortunately, I only feel this way about the one in Coney Island which I never go to because it’s so far off the beaten path. That being said, Crif is great for what it is: novel. Papaya King is pretty tasty but not what it used to be. Gray’s Papaya still get’s it done though, if you’re back in NYC, check out the one on 72nd and Amsterdam, that’s the best one.

  27. Mike said:

    That is what I figured about Nathan’s, their food on Coney Island is great but their franchised locations are horrible. The onion sauce they have on Coney Island is really good and tastes fresh. They even have Nathan’s franchise stores in California, and they are horrible. I spent most of my early years in NY, and from my memory NY was more of Pizza town than one for hot dogs and hamburgers. In Southern California, they bring old school hot dogs and hamburgers to an art form.

  28. The NYC Food Guy said:

    When I get out to Cali again, I’ll give you a shout. I’m yet to have any Cali dogs other than the ones at Dodger Stadium. What’s your number one burger in California? How about Hot Dog?

  29. Mike said:

    My personal favorite burger is the Chili Burger at the Original Tommy’s which is near USC. They also make an amazing Chili Dog. I also like Carney’s. Pink’s is the most well known hot dog spot in LA, sort of like a West Coast version of Nathans, gets a lot of tourists and celebrities, but personally, I like the other two establishments a lot more. The weirdest hot dog in LA is actually a burrito, called the Oki Dog, made with a frank, chili, and pastrami wrapped in a tortilla, its actuallly a pretty tasty combination, the place was featured on that Cable show with Andrew Zimmern.

  30. Jay said:

    Im sittin here on the worst coast remembring growing up in LES and going to coney playing hooky from school and eating Nathans hot dogs. But what suprises me the most is that NO ONE has mentioned eating the greatest hot dog of all time and that is at Katz Deli, you may never eat pastrami again, well almost.

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