Jim Economou

The Coney Island Story

Ask anyone in the Coney business what’s the most important part of making a great coney, and the answer is always the same—it’s the chili. In the 1920’s, when the popularity of Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand in Coney island, N.Y., began to spread, a smattering of hot dog restaurants popped up in other cities around the United States. Greek Immigrant Christ Economou opened his first Coney Island restaurant in 1919 in McKeesport, Pa. Economous’s hot dogs were smaller than normal, served on a steamed bun and topped with Greek-style chili and chopped onions. In 1926, Economou came to Tulsa and opened the Coney Island 5 Cent Hot Wiener Shop in the heart of downtown Tulsa. His son, Jim believes the restaurant survived the Depression and other economic struggles because of the affordability of the product. The 5-cent coney became the most popular lunchtime option in town. Since then, a meal at a Coney restaurant has become a family tradition for many Tulsans, passed down through the generations. Coneys have become so much a part of the fabric of Tulsa that former Tulsans can’t make a trip to the city without stopping off for a little taste of home.

Jim Economou tells the story of Coney Island on Voices of Oklahoma.com

Interview about Jim Economou

Program Credits:
Jim Economou — Interviewee
John Erling — Interviewer
Mel Myers — Announcer

Honest Media
Mel Myers — Audio Editor

Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Douglas Miller — Art Director
Mark DeMoss — Webmaster
Genny Pankey — Upload Coordinator

Date Created: March 07, 2011

Date Published: October 20, 2014

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.

Tags: Bill Skelly, President Bush, Barbara Bush, Tulsa World, Greece, Coney Island, Depression, Dust Bowl, Price Controls, Tulsa Symphony, Viola, Ellis Island, Army Orchestra, Hot dogs