Does a Hot Dog by Any Other Name Taste as Good? James Coney Island Is Now JCI Grill
Every restaurant goes through changes at one point or another, and it seems it's James Coney Island's turn to do so.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt The Texas dogs topped with chili, cheese and minced onions are classics at James Coney Island.
The famous Houston-based hot dog chain will no longer be known as James Coney Island. The restaurant has decided to change its name to JCI Grill in an attempt to re-brand itself. With 21 locations in Houston, this 90-year-old-establishment will have a new look starting today.
JCI Grill will feature made-to-order salads, burgers and sandwiches on its menu, as well as the staple hot dogs, fries, chili dogs and corn dogs.
"The term JCI has been a nickname for years," Darrin Straughan, president of JCI Grill, says. "We added the word 'grill' because of all of our new menu items we are offering."
Straughan says the new menu features three made-to-order salads, a roast beef dip that comes with a side salad, an Asian sandwich, more chicken sandwiches and gourmet hot dogs, similar to the ones in the Chefs and Show Dogs series.
"We have a build-your-own section and we are going to eliminate that and instead offer more dogs like we did with the Chefs and Show Dogs," Straughan says. "With that said, we are also going to do a main emphasis that we are going to divide our menu up and show our legacy items. In other words, there is going to be a section that highlights what brought us here -- our coneys, our chili, our frito pies and our Delaware punch. It's all going to be highlighted there -- these are our fan favorites, but then the other section of the menu is going to show, but if you don't want that, we have all of these grill offers for you."
While this is exciting news for the hot dog company, fans and customers have shown disdain for the name and brand change.
One commenter on the James Coney Island Facebook page says:
"Don't change the name! Whatever idiot told you that it would be a good idea is completely wrong!"
"Oh no! Please don't change the name. I have such fond memories of the Walker St. location and am a James Coney Island fan from way back. I wish you the best."
Many Houstonians grew up with James Coney Island and don't agree that a hot dog by any other name will taste as good.