An old Stillwater favorite is getting a new look. Coney Island on “The Strip” in Stillwater is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with some big changes.
For the past 5 decades the popular dive has looked pretty much the same. New owners bought the property in March with big plans for its future.
Right now “The Coney,” as many call it, is closed and gutted as construction crews work on renovations.
Renderings show an expanded dining area, an open kitchen, a front pick-up window for to-go orders and a large subway tile counter for customers to place their orders.
“We wanted to take it and improve it and it's gonna be a lot more of a historical restaurant-diner feel,” Coney Island co-owner Craig Bonham said.
The restaurant will soon have two larger restrooms, instead of one very small restroom - something patrons will appreciate on those busy game day stops.
The owners are also building a bar that will go in behind the restaurant.
“It's gonna be kind of an ice house concept, so like garage doors that are all on openers. They open up and we'll have a sun sail, which is a large, fabric, architectural pieces out here that'll be OSU orange,” said Bonham.
The owners are also plan on adding an outdoor kitchen and two outdoor patios; one will out back and one that will sit atop the current restaurant, overlooking Washington Street.
And whether outside or inside, the owners say Coney Island patrons can expect to find plenty of “America’s Brightest Orange.”
“So what we're gonna do, is I found the only orange manufactured stone left in the world -- and it's OSU orange,” Bonham said. “They discontinued it, I guess people weren't buying it, so there was 15 slabs and we had them brought in from Italy, that's where they were.”
The famous, colorful Coney Island sign that hung out front all those years is now sitting inside the restaurant.
The owners say new signage is coming, but they plan all the historic signs as decorations in the bar.
Timing for the updates couldn’t be better. Right now, Oklahoma State University is nearing completion of its new, multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art performing arts center.
The new facility sits directly behind the Coney Island property. The owner says they will put a pathway between the two to make it easier for visitors to get to the restaurant and bar before or after a show.
Also new this year, Bonham says Coney Island will have spots inside Boone Pickens Stadium and Gallagher-Iba Arena where they will serve coneys and burgers on game days.
He says they’re also working out a deal with the university so students can buy food using their bursar account.
The owners made it clear – even though the restaurant's look is changing – the food will stay the same, with one exception. They’re adding wings to the menu.
“To me it's just having a great team and executing the recipes that we've inherited,” Bonham said.
Bonham says he expects to have the restaurant up and running by August 15th when students go back to class.
The owners plan to host a big party in the fall to celebrate Coney Island’s 50th Anniversary.