Carrie Rengers

Do you know what Wichita chain used to be known as Coney Island?

There have been a variety of Coney Island restaurants nationally through the years, such as this one that was not in Wichita, including some in Wichita that eventually became Spangles.
There have been a variety of Coney Island restaurants nationally through the years, such as this one that was not in Wichita, including some in Wichita that eventually became Spangles. File photo

With the news that Coney Island Hot Weiners is opening in Wichita, several readers with good memories immediately noted that Spangles used to be called Coney Island.

Dale Steven says his brothers Tom and Craig each had Coney Island concepts separate from each other in the 1970s.

“Then they all closed at one point,” he says.

Dale Steven then approached Craig about another type of restaurant.

“I said, ‘Do you want to get into the fine-dining business?’ There weren’t very many restaurants in town.”

They toured the Midwest seeking ideas.

A friend then called about the Wiener King restaurant on South Seneca. The friend owned the building, and some investors in the restaurant were getting ready to pull out. Dale and Craig Steven took over the building and changed the name to Coney Island.

They went on to open six of the restaurants before deciding to change the name.

“We wanted to change the name because we were really concentrating on burgers and less on hot dogs,” Dale Steven says.

He says they decided that “we need a name that doesn’t really represent anything.”

They held a contest, and “Spangles” won.

Steven says despite rumors about legal issues, there were never threats of lawsuits from anyone else over Coney Island.

He says he’s never been nostalgic about the Coney Island name.

“There was nothing sentimental about it. It’s all business.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
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