Jim's Coney Island at 3700 S.E. Ninth lays claim to the chili recipe of the original downtown Coney Island restaurant, which survived urban renewal in the early 1980s to resurface as a smoker-friendly Skywalk-level restaurant until it finally closed in 2008, a victim in part of the indoor smoking ban law enacted that year.
The concoction is almost a mirror image in consistency and content to the chili served by the more famous Ted's Coney Island on Ingersoll Avenue [see blog post], but sports a completely different flavor profile. Tasting more akin to a mild Tex-Mex than Greek-American Midwest style, it still boasts a nice black pepper bite.
Jim's Coney is a pretty standard chili dog for these parts, with chopped onion, pickle sliver, and a slather of mustard. Easily the most kid-friendly Coney in town, apart from fast-food chain Sonic's footlong chili dogs. Getting a cold bottle of beer to wash down your Coney is an extra bonus for those of us with more mature tastes.
Like Ted's, Jim's offers basket combos featuring onion rings, fries, and Cole slaw. Crunchy onion rings, right smack in-between thick cut and thin strands, are not too greasy; a little salt helps counterbalance their sweetness. Jim's slaw is far creamier than Ted's, with an overt amount of sweet dressing holding it together, yet still retains some crunch.
Thick crinkle cut fries are a treat to eat. Golden, crisp exterior; fluffy inside larger pieces and crunchy on the smaller bits. Lightly salted from the fryer, they're just right. Also like Ted's, Jim's makes a decent loose-meat beefburger, served in a hot dog bun. Though not as spicy as Ted's, it's still a fine sandwich and head-over-heels better than Maid-Rite [see blog post].