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Good food, memories at popular lunch spot

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 11:20 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - During a trip to Grand Island, we found out where locals go to get a great Coney Island hot dog or homemade French fries.

George Katrouzos is the owner of the Coney Island Lunch Room. The business has been around since 1933.

“The people that keep coming back have been a part of our tradition,” Katrouzos said. “We’ve been here for 88 years, so you could say we are an institution here now. People love to come back and reminisce.”

Katrouzos’ grandfather started the business in 1933.

“My dad ran it for a long time,” Katrouzos said. “My dad just turned 97, my mom is 96. They’ve seen a lot come and go.”

Katrouzos is the third generation of what’s been a family affair. His dad even recently wrote a book about his experiences with the Coney Island Lunch Room. It’s called ‘What a Life.’

“He wrote this last December,” Katrouzos said. “Lots of Coney Island history, and fun stuff for people to read.”

Coney Island hot dogs are the famous item on the menu.

“People like the Coney sauce,” Katrouzos said. “They take it to football games in Lincoln, or to parties. We have homemade fries, malts and chilis. That’s been our main items. We have good quarter pound burgers, and daily specials. They also like the feel of the place, the old look. Out-of-towners come back and tell me to don’t change anything. We’ve changed carpet, paint and some equipment, but we try to keep it all the same.”

People like to look at the memorabilia on the wall, including the old menu from 1933 that hangs above the counter. The sign shows a Coney island hot dog would have cost 5 cents at that time.

“When my grandfather, my dad, my aunt and my uncle were running the place we had a basketball hoop in the back by the furnace. We’d go back and shoot baskets. Life was different back then. You just had a good time. They lived out of here. My dad said we never had a lot of money, but my grandfather always cooked well, so we always ate good!”

The Coney Island Lunch Room remains an important business for the Grand Island Railside district.

“I get thanked a lot for keeping this place going,” Katrouzos said. “People love the history, and the memories. You just have to leave it like it is, and keep doing what you are doing.”

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