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Nicks Famous Coneys is reborn with a twist from Lake Oswego

Acting on a life-long plan,Tyler Rogoway now runs the restaurant
by: SUBMITTED PHOTOS, 
Photos from Nick’s Famous Coney at 3746 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., show the old-fashioned counter Tyler Rogoway, who grew up in Lake Oswego and graduated in 2000 from Lake Oswego High School, recently bought and upgraded the well-known Portland eatery.

A restaurant that brings one of the all-time favorite foods of the East Coast to the West now has a Lake Oswego connection.

Nick's Famous Coney Island in Southeast Portland, has a new owner in Tyler Rogoway. He has been a fan of the place since he was a little tyke and told previous owner Frank Nudo that if he was ever going to sell the restuarant, he would be willing to take it over.

'The best times with my family and dad were at Nick's,' Rogoway said.

The place has a unique character about it and when thinking of remodeling the place Rogoway kept that in mind.

'There's so much heart and soul, so when I remodeled, I kept some of the old and added some new,' Rogoway said. 'The changes are subtle.'

Even though he is not getting any input on changes from Nudo, there is one thing that Rogoway never thought to have messed with: The Coney dog sauce.

'The proof is in the pudding,' Rogoway said. 'The Coney sauce is exactly the same.'

Growing up in Lake Oswego and being a graduate of Lake Oswego High School in 2000, Rogoway has been involved in the retail business since birth. His involvement in the family's business, LaRog Jewelers, got him hooked.

He graduated from University of Oregon and said he is drawn to the restaurant and bar business and the interaction with the people on the floor.

Rogoway's goal for all patrons of Nick's Coney Island is for them to have a total escape and a positive environment in the 'legendary landmark.'

Rogoway is No. 3 in the line of owners of the restaurant since its opening in 1935.

With today's economy, taking over a business is something that would scare an amateur businessman, but Rogoway said his projections for the business have been surpassed.

With the people of the metro area's acceptance and support, Rogoway has seen nothing but good business and returning patrons, he said. He understands the passion his customers have for the place.

'The business is beating my projections and it's a big challenge,' Rogoway said. 'There is a heavy emotional tie to this place.'

Not only have the owners changed, but the cooks have changed as well.

Chris Martin is the new chef at the Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard restaurant. He has experience from fine dining to burgers and beer. Specializing in classic American dining, Martin uses all fresh meat, which means no frozen ham burger patties, Rogoway said.

Some hot menu items in-clude dinner burgers, such as the Herby Burger and big salads. They even have the classic macaroni and cheese.

'This is not normal mac and cheese,' Rogoway added.

Not to mention the one and only famous Coney Island dogs. Customers have the choice of a single or double.

'We have the best damn Coney Islands you can find!' Rogoway said.

The restaurant also offers ice-cold beer.

Even though Nick's may be in new hands, it's being taken care of by an all time fan of the place. The experiences of each visit to the restaurant will stay with the building. The kind of experiences that combine to create memories to last a lifetime or make a great business investment down the road, Rogoway said.

Nick's Famous Coney Island is located at 3746 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland. Hours: Everyday 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Phone: 503-235-3008.