History and Fun Facts


Coney Island Drive – Inn Brooksville, Fl history


July 7th 1960 – Darrell and Gertrude Todd and Family from Brooksville opened Coney Island Drive – Inn in an old boat manufacturing building.

1961 – Elvis Presley was in Inverness, Florida filming a movie and legend has it he ventured down to Brooksvegas for one of the Famous Footlongs.

1968 – Fred Rice was brought on board and was the master hot dog slinger until 1992 and legend has it that he still keeps an eye on the place.

1971 – Coney Island Drive Inn was purchased by Ralph and Gene Collins.

Mid Seventies – In the Mid 1970's, Walt Disney World was the only other institution that used more footlong Hotdog buns in the state than Coney Island Drive – Inn.
Mid Seventies - Diggity Dog was born into the Family and has been the Brooksville Icon since.

1972 – The movie Night Stalker was filmed in Coney Island for a day and was the highlight of the movie.

1985 – Tom Collins, son of Ralph and Gene Collins, purchased the family business with Daughter Daiquiri and keep the Brooksville Tradition going into the 21rst century.

2006 – The Hensley Family purchased the Drive – Inn and an old tradition was kept in place.

2014 – May 5th Sally Lee purchases Coney Island Drive-Inn with her son Carter Lee. They bring on Dad (John Lee) to help.

Hot Dogs Fun Facts and History

How did the hot dog get its name?

The term "hot dog" is credited to sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan. At a 1901 baseball game at the Polo Grounds in New York, vendors began selling hot dachshund sausages in rolls.

From the press box, Dorgan could hear the vendors yelling, "Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!" He sketched a cartoon depicting the scene but wasn't sure how to spell "dachshund" so he called them simply, "hot dogs." And the rest is history.

By Mike Morrison

Hot Dogs in Different Languages

Spanish Hot Dog - Perrito Caliente

Italian Hot Dog - Caldo cane

French Hot Dog - Chien chaud

German Hot Dog - Heisser Hund or Wurst

PortugeseHot Dog - Cachorro quente

Swedish Hot Dog - Korv or varmkorv

Norwegian/Danish Hot Dog - Grillpolser

Czech Hot Dog - Park v rohliku

Dutch Hot Dog - Worstjes

Finnish Hot Dog - Makkarat

Hot Dog Etiquette from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Councilwww.hot-dog.org

Dos and Don'ts: Everyday guidance for eating America's sacred food


put hot dog toppings between the hot dog and the bun. Always "dress the dog," not the bun.
Condiments should be applied in the following order: wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first, followed by chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, followed by shredded cheese, followed by spices, like celery salt or pepper.


serve sesame seed, poppy seed and plain buns with hot dogs. Sun-dried tomato buns or basil buns are considered gauche with franks.


use a cloth napkin to wipe your mouth when eating a hot dog. Paper is always preferable.


eat hot dogs on buns with your hands. Utensils should not touch hot dogs on buns.


use paper plates to serve hot dogs. Every day dishes are acceptable; china is a no-no.




take more than five bites to finish a hot dog. For foot-long wiener, seven bites are acceptable.


leave bits of bun on your plate. Eat it all.
Fresh herbs on the same plate with hot dogs are a major "Don't..." Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable.


use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18.


Condiments remaining on the fingers after eating a hot dog should be licked away, not washed.


use multi-colored toothpicks to serve cocktail wieners. Cocktail forks are in poor taste.


send a thank you note following a hot dog barbecue. It would not be in keeping with the unpretentious nature of hot dogs.


bring wine to a hot dog barbecue. Beer, soda, lemonade and iced tea are preferable.


ever think there is a wrong time to serve hot dogs.

9th Century B.C.

850 - Sausage is one of the oldest forms of processed food, having been mentioned in Homer's Odyssey (an ancient Greek tale of adventure and heroism). Following is the line from the book: "As when a man besides a great fire has filled a sausage with fat and blood and turns it this way and that and is very eager to get it quickly roasted. . ."

1st Century A.D.

64 - Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar's (54-68) cook, Gaius, is often credited with discovering the first sausage.. It was the custom of the time to starve the pigs one week before cooking and eating them. According to legend, one pig was brought out well roasted, but it was noticed that somehow it had not been cleaned. Cook Gaius ran a knife into its belly to see if the pig was fit to eat. To his surprise, out popped the intestines and they were all puffed up and hollow. It was reported that he said, "I have discovered something of great importance." Gaius stuffed the intestines with ground venison and ground beef mixed with cooked ground wheat and spices. He tied them into sections and the wiener was born.

7th Century

Stephen C. Carlson, a Bible Scholar, from his Sketches in Biblical Studies web site, sent me the following on sausages. Stephen says, "One piece of trivia I came across is that apparently the first person to mention a string of sausages is Leontius of Neapolis, Cyprus, in the 7th century, in his book, The Life and Miracles of Symeon the Fool, English translation by Derek Krueger."

But he behaved otherwise before the crowd. For sometimes when Sunday came, he took a string of sausages and wore them as a (deacon's) stole. In his left hand he held a pot of mustard, and he dipped (the sausages in the mustard) and ate them from morning on. And he smeared mustard on the mouths of some of those who came to joke with him. Wherefore also a certain rustic, who had leucoma in his two eyes, came to make fun of him. Symeon anointed his eyes with mustard. The man was nearly burned to death, and Symeon said to him, "Go wash, idiot, with vinegar and garlic, and you will be healed immediately." As it seemed a better thing to do, he ran immediately to a doctor instead and was completely blinded. Finally, in a mad rage he swore in Syriac, "By the God of Heaven, even if my two eyes should suddenly leap (from their sockets), I will do whatever the Fool told me." And he washed himself as Symeon told him. Immediately his eyes were healed, clear as when he was born, so that he honored God. Then the Fool came upon him and said to him, "Behold, you are healed, idiot! Never again steal your neighbor's goats."

15th Century

1484 - It is said that the frankfurter was developed in Frankfurt, Germany (five years before Christopher Columbus set sail for the new world). In 1987, the city of Frankfurt celebrated the 500th birthday of the hot dog. In the 1850s, the Germans made thick, soft, and fatty sausages from which we get the name "franks."

17th Century

1690s - Another legend is that the popular sausage (known as "dachshund" or "little-dog" sausage) was created in the late 1600s by Johann Georghehner, a butcher living in Coburg, Germany. It is said that he later traveled to Frankfurt to promote his new product.

19th Century

1805 - The people of Vienna (Wien), Austria point to the term "wiener" to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog. It is said that the master sausage maker who made the first wiener got his early training in Frankfurt, Germany. He called his sausage the "wiener-frankfurter." But it was generally known as "wienerwurst." The wiener comes from Wien (the German name of Vienna) and wurst means sausage in German.

1852 - The butcher's guild in Frankfurt, Germany introduced a spiced and smoked sausage which was packed in a thin casing and they called it a "frankfurter" after their hometown. The sausage had a slightly curved shape supposedly due to the coaxing of a butcher who had a popular dachshund. The frankfurter was also known as a "dachshund sausage" and this name came with it to America.

1860 - In the United States, the wienerwurst became known as a "wienie" in the 1860s and as a "wiener" by the early 1990s.

Also in doubt is who first served the hot dog! Wieners and frankfurters don't become hot dogs until someone puts them in a roll or a bun. There are several stories or legends as to how this first happened. As the cuisine of Germany relies heavily upon sausages of all shapes and sizes, it stands to reason that the German people would bring these sausages with them to America.

German immigrants appear to have sold hot dogs, along with milk rolls and sauerkraut, from pushcarts in New York City's Bowery during the 1860s.

1867 - Charles Feltman (1841-1910), a German butcher, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand in Brooklyn, New York. According to the article Coney Island: Food & Dining by Jeffrey Stanton:

In 1867 Charles Feltman owned a pie-wagon that delivered his freshly baked pies to the inns and lager-beer saloons that lined Coney Island's beaches. His clients also wanted hot sandwiches to serve to their customers. But his wagon was small and he knew that it would be hard to manage making a variety of sandwiches in a confined space. He thought that perhaps something simple like a hot sausage served on a roll might be the solution. He presented his problem to Donovan, the wheelwright on East New York and Howard Street in Brooklyn, who had built his pie-wagon. The man saw no problem in building a tin-lined chest to keep the rolls fresh and rigging a small charcoal stove inside to boil sausages.

When the wheelwright finished the installation they fired up the stove for a test run. Donovan thought that the sausage sandwich was a strange idea but he was willing to try it as Feltman boiled the succulent pork sausage and placed between a roll. The wheelwright tasted the it and liked it. Thus the hot-dog was born.

He sold 3,684 sausages in a roll during his first year in business. He is also credited with the idea of the warm bun. The hard-working Feltman built a mini-empire with a hotel, beer gardens, restaurants, food stands, and various rides to amuse his customers. The Depression in the 1930's began the decline of Feltman's business. Visitors to Coney Island could barely afford the subway ride yet alone a sit down meal at Feltman's. At his death in 1910, he left a business worth over one million dollars which all started with selling hot dogs.

1880 - A German peddler, Antonoine Feuchtwanger, sold hot sausages in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. He would supply white gloves with each purchase so that his customers would not burn their hands while eating the sausage. He saw his profits going down because the customers kept taking the gloves and walking off with them. His wife suggested that he put the sausages in a split bun instead. He reportedly asked his brother-in-law, a baker, for help. The baker improvised long soft rolls that fit the meat, thus inventing the hot dog bun. When he did that, the hot dog was born. He called them red hots.

1886 - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), newspaperman, book reviewer, and political commentator and writer, wrote:

"I devoured hot-dogs in Baltimore 'way back in 1886, and they were then very far from newfangled....The contained precisely the same rubber, indigestible pseudo-sausages that millions of Americans now eat, and they leaked the same flabby, puerile mustard. Their single point of difference lay in the fact that their covers were honest German Wecke made of wheat-flour baked to crispiness, and not the soggy rolls prevailing today, of ground acorns, plaster-of-Paris, flecks of bath-sponge, and atmospheric air all compact."

1893 - The 1893 Chicago World's Fair, also called the Columbian Exposition, brought thousands of visitors who consumed large quantities of sausage sold by vendors. People liked this food that was easy to eat, convenient, and inexpensive.

In the same year, sausages became the standard fare at baseball parks. This tradition was begun by a German immigrant, Chris Von de Ahe (1851-1913), known for his walrus mustache, checkered suits, and impulsive obnoxiousness. He owned a St. Louis Bar and the St. Louis Browns major league baseball team, now known as the St. Louis Cardinals. Chris Von de Ahe was "quite a showman" and introduced sausages to go with his already popular beer. Chris Von der Ahe was a colorful character himself. A large man who wore loud, checkered clothing, Chris sat in a special box behind third base with a whistle and binoculars. He used the whistle to get the attention of players, for someone to get him a beer, or for special cops he employed for personal use and to keep tabs on his players. He bought the Browns in order to put himself in the limelight and to advertise his saloon business.

1895 - Sausage vendors would sell their wares outside the student dorms at major eastern universities, and their carts became known as "dog wagons." The name was a sarcastic comment on the source and quality of the meat. The October 5, 1895 edition of the Yale Record included a poem about "The Kennel Club," a popular campus lunch wagon which sold sausages in buns:

"'Tis dogs' delight to bark and bite,"
Thus does the adage run.
But I delight to bite the dog
When placed inside a bun.

Two weeks later, the Yale Record printed a fanciful bit of fiction about the lunch wagon's being stolen, along with its owner, who awoke to find himself and his cart amidst a bunch of chapel attendees. The owner turned the circumstances to his advantage, doing a bustling business with those who "contentedly munched hot dogs during the whole service."

20th Century

1901 - Visitors to the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York could buy "Coney Island Hot Dogs" at the Indian Congress Restaurant.

1902 - Another story is that the term "hog dog" was coined in 1902 during a Giants baseball game at the New York Polo grounds. On a cold April day, concessionaire Harry Mozley Stevens (1855-1934) was losing money trying to sell ice cream and ice-cold sodas. He sent his salesmen out to buy up all the dachshund sausages they could find, and an equal number of rolls. In less than an hour, his vendors were hawking hot dogs from portable hot water tanks while yelling, "They're red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!"

In the press box, sports cartoonist, T.A. "Tad" Dorgan (1877-1929), a newspaper cartoonist for the New York Evening Journal, was nearing his deadline and desperate for an idea. Hearing the vendors, he hastily drew a cartoon of a frankfurter with a tail, legs, and a head, so that it looked like a dachshund. Not sure how to spell the word "dachshund" he simply wrote "hot dog!" The cartoon was a sensation and the term hot dog was born. According to the 1996 Maine Antique Digest:

Famous cartoon artists' original drawings, many dedicated to the founding father Harry M. Stevens, or made especially for him, sold out. Leland's chairman Joshua Evans spent $1100 for a "frankfurter" courtroom scene cartoon by the famed cartoonist "Tad" Dorgan. Tad coined the immortal phrase "hot dog" when Stevens put the first ball game frank into a roll and rolled out a new tradition. The Stevens family kept the original Tad hot dog cartoon among a small group of memorabilia they hope will be part of their museum effort.

Dorgan is best remembered for the many expression he invented, such as the superlatives "the cat's meow" and "the cat's pajamas" and the exclamation "For crying out loud!" He also created several slang terms to the American lexicon, including "hot dog," "hard-boiled" (a tough guy), and "cheaters" (eyeglasses).

1903 - It is also said that on June 3, 1903, Adolf Gehring was selling food at a ball game in St. Louis, Missouri. On this particular day, Adolf had a good day and sold out all his food and drinks. He went to a baker to buy some bread, but they had nothing left but some long dinner rolls which he bought. He then went to a butcher shop and bought all the sausages and wieners that the butcher had. With a portable wood stove, he cooked up the pork sausages and wieners and placed them in the rolls he had split. He started walking through the crowd offering his meat sandwiches as he called them. One man hollered at him, "Give me one of those damn hot dogs." The phrase caught on and everyone in the crowd was soon hollering for hot dogs."

1916 - An employee of Charles Feltman, Nathan Handwerker (1892-1974), broke away from Feltman in 1916 and, with his wife Ida, started Nathan's Famous, Inc., which now calls itself the world's greatest hot dog purveyor. He opened his stand in Coney Island near the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues and called it Nathan's. Handwerker sold his hot dogs for five cents each. He used two spice suppliers to keep his hot dog recipe secret. To counteract the rumors of his cut-price hot dogs being less than palatable, he offered free hot dogs to the doctors and nurses at Coney Island Hospital. When questioned in later years about his love for his own food (hot dogs), Nathan bragged, "I'll gladly wrassle anyone who's been living on caviar and champagne for thirty-nine years."

It is said that a local singing waiter, Eddie Cantor (1892-1964), comic actor and singer, and his prominent piano accompanist, Jimmy Durante (1805-1980), comedian, piano player, and singer, resented the fact that the prospering Charles Feltman had raised the price on his "franks" to a dime. They suggested to Nathan Handwerker that instead of working for Feltman, that he go into competition with him, selling franks for half the price. Some historians suggest that Nathan Handwerker borrowed $320 from entertainers Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante to start the business.

To assist in serving his customers, Nathan hired a redheaded teenager, Clara Bowtiinelli (1905-1965), who later was discovered while working there and became the famous actress Clara Bow, the "It Girl" of the 1920's silent films.

The annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island has been held at the original Coney Island hot dog stand every Independence Day since 1916.

1939 - Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), thirty-second President of the United States, and his wife, Eleanor (1884-1962), wanting to introduce something truly American to the visiting King George VI (1895-1952) of England and his queen, served the royal guests Nathan's hot dogs at a picnic at their estate in Hyde Park, New York on June 11, 1939. The press made a great deal about the hotdogs, and the picnic menu made the front page of the New York Times:


Sunday, June 11, 1939

Virginia Ham
Hot Dogs (if weather permits)
Smoked Turkey
Cranberry Jelly
Green Salad
Strawberry Shortcake
Coffee, Beer, Soft Drinks

The King was so pleased with "this delightful hot-dog sandwich" that he asked Mrs. Roosevelt for another one.

Much fuss had been made in advance of this picnic. Almost a month before the King and Queen of England ate their first hot dogs, Eleanor Roosevelt expressed concern about the upcoming event in her newspaper column called "My Day," dated May 25, 1939 (a syndicated newspaper column published from 1935 to 1962):

Oh dear, oh dear, so many people are worried that the 'dignity of our country will be imperiled by inviting Royalty to a picnic, particularly a hot dog picnic! My mother-in-law has sent me a letter which begs that she control me in some way. In order to spare my feelings, she has written on the back a little message: "Only one of many such." She did not know, poor darling, that I have "many such" right here in Washington. Let me assure you, dear readers, that if it is hot there will be no hot dogs, and even if it is cool there will be plenty of other food, and the elder members of the family and the more important guests will be served with due formality.

1942 - Corn dogs, hot dogs in a fried cornmeal batter, were introduced at the Texas State Fair, created by Texan Neil Fletcher.

1960 – Coney Island Drive – Inn was opened by the Todd Family in Brooksville Florida and started a tradition of families in central Florida stopping in for their world famous hot dogs during journeys through the state.


A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole Random House, 1995.

Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices, by George Leonard Herter & Berthe E. Herter, Herter's Inc., 1967.

Feltman's & the Hot Dog, Coney Island - Food & Dining, by Jeffrey Stanton, http://naid.sppsr.ucla.edu/coneyisland/articles/food.htm, an internet web site.

Foods and Drinks at the Pan-American Exposition, Food Firsts and Technological Marvels, The Libraries, University at Buffalo,http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/exhibits/panam/food/marvels.html, an internet web site.

Hamburger Hot Dog Names, The AFU & Urban Legend Archive,http://www.urbanlegends.com/language/etymology/hambuger_hot_dog_names.html, an internet web site.

History Of The Hot Dog, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council,http://www.hot-dog.org/hd_history.htm, an internet web site.

History of Hot Dogs,http://www.col.k12.me.us/mam/libary/literacy/student/history/history.html, an internet web site.

Hot Dog, by Robert Fischer, published by Jullan Messner, 1980.

Hot Dogs - Who Cooked That Up, by J. J. Schnebel,http://membershome.net/jjschnebel/Cookup9.htm, an internet web site.


Hot Dog! Harry M. Stevens Sports Memorabilia Sold at Leland's, by Dorothy S. Gelatt , Maine Antique Digest, 1996,http://www.maineantiquedigest.com/articles/spor0796.htm, an internet web site.

Hypotyposeis, Sketches in Biblical Studies, Did the Church Ban Sausages? @ Baraita, by Stephen C. Carlson,http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/2004/09/did-church-ban-sausages-baraita.html, an internet web site.

National Hotdog & Sausage Council, http://www.hot-dog.org/hd_fact.htm, an internet web site.

Panati's Extraordinary Origins Of Everyday Things, by Charles Panati, Harper & Row, 1987.

The Hot Dog Companion, by David Graulich, Lebhar-Friedman Books, 1999.

The Life of Symeon the Fool, Leontius' Life and the Late Antique City, by Leontius of Neapolis, translated by Derek Kreuger, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1995,http://texts.cdlib.org/dynaxml/servlet/dynaXML?docId=ft6k4007sx&chunk.id=a1, an internet web site.

The Night 2000 Men Came To Dinner, by Douglas G. Meldrum, Charles Schribner's Sons, 1994.

The Royal Visit: June 7-12th, 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/royalv.html, an internet web site.

Urban Legends Reference Pages, by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson,http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/hotdog.htm, an internet web

Coney Island Drive Inn

1112 E. Jefferson St.,,

Brooksville, FL 34601

Phone. (352) 796-9141

Email. coneyisland@gotfootlongs.com

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