Beach eats: The best food spots in Coney Island

Frankly fantastic: Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters has served its delicious hot dogs on Coney Island for 103 years.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Call it the Snack-bar by the Sea!

No trip to Coney Island is complete without a little nosh. Whether you want a quick bite before hopping on the Cyclone, or you are looking for a quiet dinner date, the People’s Playground has it all, from your classic corn dog to prosciutto-watermelon appetizers. Here are a couple of spots you should be sure to stop by on your next visit!

Al Cavallino

This pizza shop by the B&B carousel opened just two months ago, and it is already drawing praise from locals. The restaurant serves high-end personal pizzas as well as “panni-pizzas,” sandwiches made from oven-baked pizza dough stuffed with cheese, veggies, and more. The shop is dedicated to keeping all the details just right, said the restaurant’s manager and ‘za rockstar.

“We use top notch mozzarella cheese,” said Jimmy Hendricks. “Our oven is straight from Italy.”

Get a pizza this: Jimmy Hendricks, manager of Coney’s new pizza spot Al Cavallino, invented the “panni-pizza,” a panini sandwich made with pizza dough.
Rose Adams

Al Cavallino (on the Boardwalk at 16th Street, www.lunaparknyc.com/dining/al-cavallino].

Kitchen 21

Kitchen 21 is the restaurant equivalent of a triple treat: it’s authentic, delicious, and ’gram-worthy. The spot opened in 2017 after a painstaking restoration of the former Childs Restaurant, a castle-like structure from 1923 that was covered with nautical mosaics. Like any classic Coney Island joint, Kitchen 21 serves burgers and seafood, but it all comes with a modern twist — its lobster roll, for example, includes vanilla aioli and black caviar. And do not miss the rooftop wine bar, which has amazing views and cooling breezes.

Kitchen 21 [3052 W. 21st St. at the Boardwalk, (718) 996–0502, www.kitchen-21.com]. Open Wed–Fri, 2–8 p.m.; Sat, noon–10 p.m.; Sun, noon–7 p.m.

Boardwalk classic: Since 1934, Ruby’s has been the spot for beer and beach food, including corn dogs, mozzarella sticks, and waffle fries.
Rose Adams

Nathan’s Famous

Nathan’s Famous is famous for a reason: it’s the home of the finest hot dog in the land. The frankfurter stand started in 1916, and Nathan’s popularity has remained constant, even as it expanded its menu to include chicken and shrimp. Stop by anytime for a walking-around snack, or gather with the crowds outside for Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 — last year’s champion wolfed down 74 hotdogs in 10 minutes!

Nathan’s Famous [1310 Surf Ave. between Stillwell Avenue and Schweikerts Walk, (718) 333–2202, nathansfamous.com]. Open Mon–Thu; 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri, Sat; 10 a.m.–midnight

Ruby’s Bar and Grill

Ruby’s is your beer-and-a-snack go-to while on the beach. Since 1972, the spot has been churning out hot dogs, mozzarella sticks, and waffle fries like nobody’s business. Its central location and full bar (named “one of the top 21 sexiest beach bars,” its poster alleges) also make it a popular destination, as do the reasonable prices.

Since 1972, Ruby’s has been churning out hotdogs, mozzarella sticks, and waffle fries.
Rose Adams

Ruby’s Bar and Grill [1213 Riegelmann Boardwalk between W. 12 and the Coney Island Boardwalk Garden, (718) 975–7829, www.rubysbar.com]. Open daily, 10 a.m.–2 a.m.

William’s Candy Shop

This old-fashioned candy store is a treat. One peek in the window reveals rows of marshmallows and candy apples, as well as cotton candy dangling from a clothes line. If you crave a little sweetness at the end of the day, pop by for a cone, candy, or a shake.

William’s Candy Shop [1318 Surf Ave. between W. 15th Street and Stillwell Avenue, (718) 372-0302, www.candytreats.com]. Open Mon–Thu, 9 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri, Sat, 9 a.m.–midnight.

One peek in William’s Candy Store’s window, and you’ll see rows of marshmallows and candy apples, as well as cotton candy dangling from a clothes line
Rose Adams

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306.

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