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Yearning for diner’s Coneys

Reader Jim Christiansen sent a note about a diner in downtown Spokane during the 1950s.

Christiansen says his dad would take him to Stan’s Coneys, in the 400 block of West Main Avenue for coneys and he was hoping to find the recipe. “Dad said Stan’s had the best Coneys in town and he should know, as he was the dispatcher for Yellow Cab Co. at the time, so he knew all the best places. My whole family loved ’em, and we would buy them by the dozens,” Christiansen wrote in his email message.

Despite my search through the archive files at The Spokesman-Review and books listing businesses at the time, I couldn’t find a mention of Stan’s Coneys. Even if I had unearthed details about the diner, it’s pretty unlikely that they would have shared their recipe.

However, I found a few different recipes for Coney Island sauce that claim to be authentic, including one in our Dorothy Dean files. Perhaps one of these will help bring back memories of Stan’s Coneys.

Coney Island Sauce

From the Dorothy Dean Homemaker’s Service

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

Pinch cumin, optional

Brown ground beef slowly, but thoroughly, breaking with a fork until crumbly. Add remaining ingredients; simmer uncovered about 20 minutes, until thick. Serve on heated wieners in split toasted buns. Garnish with chopped onion, if desired.

Yield: 2 cups sauce, enough for 4 to 6 Coneys.

Grandpa’s Classic Coney Sauce

From This recipe was shared by someone who says their grandfather owned a drive-in restaurant in the 1950s. “This is his exact recipe for Coney Dogs from back in the day.”

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon salt

Place the ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring to crumble, until beef is browned. Drain.

Transfer the beef and onion to a slow cooker and stir in the ketchup, sugar, vinegar and mustard. Season with celery seed, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt. Cover and simmer on low setting for a few hours before serving.

Yield: 12 servings

Looking for a recipe? Have a food question? Lorie Hutson would like to hear from you. Write to Cook’s Notebook, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210, or e-mail to cooksnotebook@ As many letters as possible will be answered in this column; sorry, no individual replies.

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