November 8, 2015: The Coney Island Boardwalk Hot Dog restaurant in Bailey, Colorado, is up for sale again! The asking price is triple what it was in 2011. Scroll down for update…
Hey, wanna buy the Coney Island Boardwalk? The historic hot-dog shaped “Coney Island Boardwalk” diner, in Bailey, Colorado, is being offered for sale by its owner. It’s all yours, including stucco bun and mustard and relish toppings, for just $499K. According to the listing, the bun is 35 feet long and the hot dog 42 feet. Made of concrete-and-steel, this fine example of novelty architecture weighs a hefty 18 tons. But the buyer will have to move the 1960’s eatery from its current location on the South Platte River about 30 miles southwest of Denver.
“Truly my dream was to have a beautiful location,” said Ron Aigner, the diner’s owner, in a phone interview with ATZ. “Now I can’t even walk the dog.” Left disabled with a broken back after an altercation with local authorities, Aigner closed the diner and advertised it for sale. Aigner told ATZ he wouldn’t mind if somebody bought the diner and moved it from Colorado to the original Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York! Now that would be an unusual move: New York City has been losing its historic diners since the Moondance was sold to new owners in Wyoming and the Cheyenne went to Alabama.
Once Coloradans find out about the listing, we think they’ll rally to save their Coney Island, which was built in Denver in 1966. Its designer Marcus Shannon of Lakewood, Colorado, planned a chain of hot dog diners and filed a patent for the design in 1965. The eatery was originally located on West Colfax in Denver. Since 1970, the Coney Island Boardwalk has been on scenic US Highway 285, first in Aspen Park and then in Bailey.
The building has been hailed as “the best example of roadside architecture in the state” by Thomas J. Noel, a Professor of History and Director of Public History, Preservation & Colorado Studies at the University of Colorado. In reply to ATZ’s email, Noel (aka “Dr. Colorado”) wrote: “We Coloradans should rally to save one of our greatest culinary landmarks, a most delicious morsel of pop roadside art. Hot Dog! Don’t let the Coney Island die.”
The delightful interior of the hot dog, which was lovingly restored, includes two booths and a diminutive counter with a few stools. “I moved it and renovated it. It does a huge business,” says Aigner, who offered to provide sales figures to prospective buyers. “I put out about 20 to 30 tables for people to sit by the river.” Indeed, restaurant reviewers mention an hour-long wait for a wiener during the busy summer season, though they say it was worth it for the Chicago-style dog. But Aigner says the location was not suited for year-round business: “We’re on the road to Breckinridge. It’s the second busiest highway, but not the ski traffic highway.”
The first photo in this post was taken by our friend RoadsideNut, a New Yorker who has extensively documented America’s roadside architecture on her website. Check out the Burgers and Hot Dogs page, where the Coney Island in Colorado appears along with Top Dog, Giant Burger and other architectural wonders.
UPDATE November 8, 2015:
The Coney Island Boardwalk Hot Dog restaurant in Bailey, Colorado, is up for sale again! According to a local news report, owner Ron Aigner is retiring and has listed the property for $1,495,000. Broker Jim Urban has posted a video tour on YouTube:
UPDATE August 14, 2011:
ATZ is happy to report that the diner reopened for the summer. The person whom we spoke with on the phone was unable to confirm fall/winter hours. Call in advance. A Yelper reports that the elk dogs are terrific. The diner’s address is 10 Old Stagecoach Rd, Bailey, CO 80421. Phone (303) 838-4210.
Related posts on ATZ…
December 4, 2010: Artifact of the Day: Vintage Coffee Cup from Childs Restaurant
November 21, 2010: Goodbye (Or Maybe Not?) to My Coney Island Equivalent of Proust’s Madeleine
October 17, 2010: Coney Island to Get Flying Coaster from Denver’s Elitch Gardens
January 19, 2010: Nathan Slept Here! Coney Island’s Feltman’s Kitchen Set for Demolition