Coney Island Drive-Inn opened July 7th, 1960 in an old boat manufacturing facility in Brooksville, Florida. Since opening, the place has become a legend.
Why, you ask?
Elvis Ate Here!
Not long after opening, in 1961, Elvis Presley ate at the little hot dog stand while taking a break from filming a movie, “Follow That Dream,” just up the road in Yankeetown (Levy County). Hence, the Coney Island Drive-Inn slogan, “Eat Where Elvis Ate!” —- which you’ll find on the Coney Island Drive-Inn super stretch limousine sitting out in front of the restaurant on most days.
Today, you can sit in the Elvis corner — with a life size Elvis Presley standing next to you. You’ll also see some pictures from his stop in 1961 visiting the nearby World Famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids, along with other memorabilia.
My son Jacob (along with his younger brother Gabriel) and I were driving by the legendary hot dog stand the other day when I suggested we stop and grab a dog. Jacob wasn’t much interested in stopping until I told him, “It’s where Elvis ate.” Jacob’s eye’s lit up and he responded, “Really? He really ate there? Let’s go.”
It just goes to show, that after nearly 60 years, the power and allure of Elvis is still going strong.
In the mid-1970’s, the only other business selling more foot-long hot dog buns in Florida than Coney Island Drive-Inn was Walt Disney World. Go there any day of the week and you’ll find the place bustling with activity.
Visit Coney Island Drive-Inn and you’ll find more than just Elvis memorabilia. They’ve got a section featuring racing legends Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty (funny they’ve got two King’s featured in the same establishment).
Vintage signs adorn the place. Including the one out front with a curved arrow pointing to the marquee sign with a picture of a hot dog on it.
If you look closer, you might even find some other cool stuff. Like the “Big Boy” mounted on top of the building. This cool dude is associated with Big Boy Restaurants international, founded in 1936 in Glendale, CA. — How he ended up here is anybody’s guess.
And inside, you’ll find another cool life size figure from the 1930’s, Betty Boop.
But if you go there, you absolutely must try the Gator Dog with Swamp relish, as advertised for $3.99.
That my friends, will be the highlight of your day.