Iconic Houston hot dog restaurant's last Inner Loop location quietly closes

ByEric Sandler CultureMap logo
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
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HOUSTON, Texas -- A Houston dining institution has closed its last Inner Loop location. The James Coney Island at the corner of Shepherd Drive and Richmond Avenue closed quietly last week.

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Signs posted in front of the restaurant read as follows:

Dear JCI Customer, We made the difficult decision to permanently close this location. We are tremendously grateful for your patronage at Shepherd for many years. We are a small, local business and we hope you will continue to support us at our other Houston-area locations. In fact, our 99-year Houston tradition depends on your support. Please know that all employees from the location have been offered employment within the company.

Founded in 1923, James Coney Island is known primarily for its hot dogs, which are traditionally served with mustard, onions, cheese, and the restaurant's signature chili sauce. In recent years, the company has tried to rebrand itself as a fast-casual concept called JCI Grill; in 2015, it recruited Houston chef Matt Marcus (8th Wonder Brewery, the Eatsie Boys) to update some of the non-hot dog dishes on its menu. Still, president Darrin Straughan tells CultureMap that the business isn't what it used to be.

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