One of Colorado's favorite roadside attractions, the giant hot dog-shaped eatery known as Coney Island in Bailey, went up for sale last fall — and it now has a new owner who plans to restore it to its former glory. A Kickstarter campaign was started by John D. Wallace last week to raise $10,000 for contingency funds for the restoration and reopening of the iconic eatery.
According to the campaign, Wallace and his family are longtime restaurant people; Wallace was the original owner of William's Tavern at 421 East 17th Avenue, and his father built a Lum's Restaurant at East Evans Avenue and South Monaco Parkway in 1969. The purchase of Coney Island is already complete, so the online fundraiser is only intended to cover issues with refrigeration and well water that could add expenses to the project.
The history of Coney Island is as long as the giant wiener itself, dating back to 1966 when the original structure was built on West Colfax Avenue. In 1970 it was moved to Aspen Park and then in 2006 it was again relocated to its current home. The previous owner, Ron Aigner, had tried to sell the building itself in 2011 before putting the whole parcel up for sale last year. Wallace's family will keep Coney Island in Bailey.
They also intend to modernize the menu, with hot dogs and other links from Denver's Continental Sausage and Colorado products like Elevation ketchup, Merf's mustard and beverages from Rocky Mountain Soda. Locally grown potatoes will be used to make hand-cut, Belgian-style fries.
The Kickstarter campaign has already raised more than $3,200 with 26 days remaining, so you still have plenty of time to purchase a little piece of Coney Island. Rewards for donations run from free chili-cheese fries at the $10 level up to the "Jet Setter" package at $1,000, which will get you a gold card redeemable for a year's worth of hot dogs and a two-day, one-night stay in the "luxury" Coney Island Hunting Lodge, complete with dinner, breakfast in bed, lunch and a hot tub.