WEST MONROE, La (KNOE) “Bell ringing. Order up”
The "original" West Monroe Coney Island on Natchitoches Street just off Antique Alley.
At first glance you might not think this is a place that takes reservations.
But for brothers Roy and Frank Scalia and this group, the reserved sign is put on this table every Monday.
“Mr. Roy you want your hotdog with chili and fries. The same.”
The Scalias have been eating here for 50 plus years. But every Monday, at this table for at least the last 12.
“Just the friendliest place you want to be. It is. The food is good. The people that work in here are extra nice,” said Roy Scalia.
“I’ve been buying hot dogs in here since they were 15 cents a piece. A lot of people come here,” said Frank Scalia.
Since 1962 this little diner has been serving up hot dogs and hamburgers and whole lot of personality. Personality in the way of license plates from every state and then some.
“Every day I hear I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. My grandparents brought me here. I hear stories like that every day,” said Shannon Harper, owner of the Original Coney Island in West Monroe.
Shannon Harper is a relatively new owner. Having just bought it in 2017. Harry Auttonberry owned it for 21 years.
Harry says the now-famous collection of plates, relics, and reminders of the past started with this little motorcycle.
“A little kid left a little motorcycle in there and I put it up on the wall and next thing I know people would say put this on the wall,” said Auttonberry.
The place is wallpapered with spunky junk and broken tokens from days gone by. The not so frilly décor is a draw for some but many come for the chili, their own secret recipe.
“Harry gave that to me and he and I are the only ones that know it and we keep it close to the vest,” said Harper.
“That chili is amazing. There is a secret ingredient in there. It’s the taste of my childhood,” said Tammi Arender.
They don’t serve breakfast but they do open at 9:30. And shortly thereafter customers craving that chili cheese coney come through the door. Some have even asked if Harper will open a second location.
“I didn’t buy this to try to build this into ten restaurants. I want to do our best with what we’ve got right here and keep on,” said Harper.