The History of
Coney Island Lunch
Our Grandfather, Steve Karampilas.
Back before the World War 1 broke out, our grandfather Steve arrived in New York City from Greece. He learn his trade while there and developed his own style and taste. When he came to Scranton he tried several small businesses before finally getting a foothold at 100 Cedar Avenue. From 1923 till 1972, the year of his death, he never missed a day. He fed generations with his wieners and hamburgers. Always wearing a button down shirt, with his tie and smoking a House of Windsor cigar. He kept the menu simple and the people loved it. Now in our 89th year, the tradition goes on!
The oldest picture of our Grandfather at work! This was taken in the 30's.
Grandpa Steve and long time waitress Irene Ferrett in the late 60s.
There's our father, Jack, at the grill back in 1979.
Hey, Pete really did have hair at one time. That's him at the grill in 1975.
Pete continues the tradition 10 years later.
This is a view of our first location, off Lackawanna Avenue in 1975. From 1923 till 1988 it served as the home of the best Texas Wiener around. In all those years we paid rent, never owning the building. In 1987, after deciding that the landlord is never going to put a dime back into the building, we began to look for a new location. If you go by there today, there's actually somebody still using our old place. In the phone book they call themselves "Coney Island of Scranton', but they won't paint that on the side of the building. They left the same name we left on there. What a scam. The owner says he pumped gas for a living before he took up the restaurant business. He should have stayed with the gas. They tried three locations outside the city under the name 'Coney Island of Scranton' and all three went out of business. Nuff said!
Click this thumbnail and you will see that we are the undisputed 'Original' Coney Island Lunch. Back in 1940 we gave away these calendar notepads. Our phone number back then was 3-9004. As more numbers were added to the Scranton area, our last four numbers remain the same. In the Fifties it went to 343-9004 and in the Seventies to 961-9004. Go to the Scranton Public Library and check the Scranton City Directory any year back to 1923 and you will see that number never changed for us. The so called 'Original' in our old place got their number in when they opened in 1988. Thank you Ma Bell! This and the Hobart Buffalo Chopper seen in the old photos below shows who the real 'Original' is!
Pete and Bob, in our first restaurant, back in 1975. That's right, Pete once had a full head of hair! Your eyes aren't deceiving you either, the front counter area is about nine feet wide! Also note the multi-layers of high gloss white paint.
That's Pete and Bob back in September of 1975.
That's Pete and Bob with a couple customers in this shot looking towards the kitchen.
That's our dad starting another batch of chili sauce back in '75. The kitchen in our first restaurant was held together by about twenty layers of high gloss oil based paint!
In this photo, our dad just finished a batch of our deep fried hamburgers. You can see them on the counter between the old stove and our Hobart Buffalo Chopper under the box of Wise potato chips. That curtain led into an area we called 'The Dungeon'. The old place was in the basement of 534 Lackawanna Avenue. It faced the 100 block of Cedar, but inside some of it was under the sidewalk of the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue. That's where 'The Dungeon' was located.
Bob, chopping onions, in the old days.
Clowning around in the old kitchen is Pete, our sister Margie and Bob back in 1985.
Pete, at the grill on one of the last days before the big move!
Last view of the "booths".
In this shot in the upper right is the picture of our Grandfather, it is now hung by our grill. The glass ball container in the window is now on our counter holding crackers . In fact everything in this picture is in our place, except the coffee urn, because it finally wore out!
This was our old sign that greeted customers when they entered the old joint. It was cracked when some burglar kicked the old exhaust fan in and cracked it!
No it's not your eyes, just about everything in that place was crooked. It took us about a year in the new joint to be able to stand straight!
Aaahh! The old urn. Note the small angle bracket screwed to the counter to keep it from sliding off its crooked shelf!
A pile of buns awaits consumption. Do you think the wiring was up to code? ;-)
There is our old stove. We couldn't take it with us because it was holding up a wall. So, we took all the burners, so nobody else could use it!
The 'dungeon', need I say more. This was located under the sidewalk on Lackawanna Ave. When it rained outside, it rained in there.
In the winter of '87 work progresses on our 515 Lackawanna Avenue site. The double doors show that there was once two businesses in this building.
Pete looks in on the renovations.
Twenty years later.........................
We're running out of wall space. Pete just can't stop putting up donated items, as well as items he has collected over the years.
More baseball stuff.
Pete's son, John, made the bat rack. Topped with a couple bobble-head dolls, it holds all our latest game used cracked bats.
To be continued..........
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