St. Pete Gems Revisited: Coney Island Grill and Skyway Jacks

Exterior of Skyway Jacks

This is the third installment in our series looking at the restaurants that help give St. Pete its culinary character.

This elite group of local establishments have long set the atmospheric and foodie standard in the B’urg.

From hearty Coney Island hot dogs to pork and brains, these are the original entrepreneurs and culinary behemoths that made St. Pete the place it is today.

*Photo via Sean D on Yelp

The Coney Island Grill

The Coney Island Grill began slinging some of the best chili dogs in the Burg in 1926. The restaurant was opened by Greek immigrant Peter Barlas. Coney Island Grill moved to its current location on MLK Street in 1950. Today, it is run by Peter’s son Hank Barlas.

The interior provides that old school diner feel. The Northeastern inspired restaurant is constantly populated with regulars who have been visiting since they were children — back when these iconic dogs cost just a nickel. Their famous chili recipe remains a family secret. Between their savory hot dogs and burgers, Coney Island Grill is designed to satisfy the profound appetites in the Burg. One item you won’t find at the restaurant are fries. A few near fires in the restaurant halted any further attempts to serve the starchy side.

*Photo by Montana L on Yelp

Beyond hot dogs and burgers, Coney Island is famous for its milkshakes and root beer floats. Even when it’s a bit cold outside in the ‘Burg, we crave that old school treat.

Most employees at the restaurant have served the community for decades. Their dedication to their customers, to the business and to the city of St. Pete is what makes Coney Island a staple and a must-visit for new and longstanding residents in the Burg, even after 90 years of operation.

Coney Island Grill, 250 Doctor M.L.K. Jr Street North.

 

Skyway Jacks

“People come dressed up. People come in their bare feet. It’s that kind of place. It’s homey. It’s part of the charm.”

That’s how Skyway Jacks owner and founder, Jack Thomas, describes the restaurant. Since 1976, the restaurant has served the most all-American breakfast recipes in St. Pete. It’s a no frills kind of place that is on the bucket list of every Eckerd College student.

*Photo via Joshua B on Yelp

They received a bit of national attention when the Food Network featured Jacks’ Scrapple dish — a mix of pork hearts, liver and… BRAINS — as the best breakfast dish in the Sunshine State. The menu also includes indulgences for your sweet tooth. We’re partial to a tall stack of banana chocolate chip pancakes with a large chocolate shake.

For those looking for a true southern breakfast, we recommend the catfish with the country scramble and grits with cheese. Click HERE for a full look at their menu.

Skyway Jacks, 2795 34th Street South.

 

Which restaurants should we feature next? Let us know in a comment!

Hungry for more St. Pete gems? Read Part I, Part II, Part IVPart V and Part VI for more classic foodie inspiration. 

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of ilovetheburg.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@ilovetheburg.com.