Cheap and delicious, Dad’s Coneys a reminder of yesteryear

GA Benton

With food prices soaring since the global pandemic caused crimps in the supply chain, I can barely afford to eat things that I don’t even pay for anymore. What I mean is that the budget of a restaurant reviewer who explores the menu and makes room for a good shake hasn’t gone that far lately. And don’t get me started on “is that really all that $ 150 buys these days?” »Grocery shopping experiences.

That’s almost enough to make a contemporary restaurant nostalgic for a time when many people only associated “organic” with one branch of chemistry. If such thoughts resonate with you, I can report that I recently ate at a retro place whose decor, food, and prices seem to have been mysteriously inspired by an earlier era. Welcome to Dad’s Coneys and Wraps in Graceland Mall.

Chicken and Cheese Burrito at Dad's Coneys and Wraps in Graceland Mall.

Being a blast from the past is not surprising from Dad if you know the history of Columbus restaurants and know that “dad” refers to Tony “Neno” Prince. In 1968, Prince and his wife Matilde “Talita” Arroyo founded what was probably the region’s first Tex-Mex restaurant: Talita’s long-standing Mexican Food in Clintonville. Several restaurants close to tradition will open their doors over the following decades.

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Although shiny and tidy and the newest member of this pack, “new” doesn’t come to mind when reviewing daddy. It’s basically an unassuming little cube with six utility tables and time warp adornments on white walls such as: photos of vintage pickup trucks; 1960s framed articles on Ohioians in space (John Glenn, Neil Armstrong’s moon landing); and covers of old records by Jerry Lee Lewis and Bobby Darin.

A menu featuring coney dogs and dishes reminiscent of Talita follows suit. Same goes for Daddy’s Old Fashioned Pricing – no item goes over $ 7.99. One more thing about Dad’s: Like Talita’s, many dishes are made up of a central group of rearranged ingredients.

Coney Spaghetti at Dad's Coneys and Wraps

One of those ingredients is daddy’s addictive coney sauce. Basically, a good Texan-style chili – abundant ground beef in a hot sauce, vegetarian and cooked – it’s deeply satisfying as a great side dish ($ 2.75). Add in seasoned fries or crispy potato chips (both $ 2.75) plus daddy’s chili queso sauce ($ 2.75), and you’ve got an unprecedented fast-food style meal.

Order this thin sauce over a beef sausage (or a convincing enough vegetarian dog) with onions, mustard, and grated cheese, and you’ve got an irresistible combo (cheese cone, $ 3.55). Also irresistible: Daddy’s Salad Dog ($ 3.55) – the same combo, but with a nice creamy and sweet coleslaw replacing the cheese.

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Much like this latest treat is associated with West Virginia, Daddy’s Tall Cone Spaghetti with Cheese and Onions ($ 7.25) is a spicy take on a “four way” Cincinnati classic. And Dad’s Loose Beef Sandwich ($ 3.45) – a decent bun cheerfully topped with loose ground beef lightly flavored with “taco seasoning” and topped with mustard, pickles and onions – echoes to Maid-Rite sandwiches popular in Greenville, about 100 miles north of Cincinnati.

Loose beef sandwich with queso fries and tater tots at Dad's Coneys and Wraps in Graceland Mall.  (Photo by Tim Johnson)

While visually unappealing, this sandwich caused food cravings later. The large but weirdly chilled pulled chicken sandwich ($ 3.45) with pre-sliced ​​unmelted cheese and commercial barbecue sauce didn’t.

When generous amounts of the same chicken – only hot – have joined cheese and jalapenos inside a thoughtfully ordered “smothered” rounded flour tortilla (drenched in spicy enchilada sauce topped with melted cheese), the chicken wrap and the resulting smothered cheese ($ 5.99) was a win.

Daddy’s Beef and Cheese Wrap ($ 3.79) with jalapenos (extra 50 cents) was another enjoyable Talita-style burrito. Conversely, my Bean and Cheese Wrap ($ 3.79) was skinny and forgettable.

Whether dining in or taking out, expect friendly and conscientious service. And don’t leave Daddy without saying “hello” to “Mom” by ordering buttery, chewy and chewy chocolate chip cookies from a small local business called Mom’s Kitchen. Typically for this restaurant, a bag containing three of the large treats costs $ 2.50.

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Daddy’s cones and wraps

Or: 128 Graceland Blvd, Clintonville

Contact: 614-396-7141

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; close on Sunday

Price range: $ 2.65 to $ 7.99

Atmosphere: simple, small and bright space with conscientious counter service, six utility tables and a few wall decorations from the past

Children’s menu: the menu is suitable for children

Reservations: no

Accessible: Yes

Alcohol license: no

Quick click: The newest member of the Talita restaurant family is an old-fashioned fast-food-style operation whose good coney dogs, irresistible loose meat sandwiches and ‘smothered’ enchilada-like wraps are sold to retailers. old fashioned prices.

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