Coney Island Restaurant owner: historic griddle may not be repairable

coney island griddle
FILE PHOTO | News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 07:55 PM.

CRESTVIEW — The community's most famous griddle might have one last chance before it's consigned to the realms of local history.

For more than two years, Baker School CHOICE welding instructor Bill Nester and his students pondered how to repair the grilling surface that Coney Island owner Julia Phillips credits for her burgers' special taste.

The secret behind those famous burgers, Phillips said, is the “seasoning” in the grill they’re cooked on.

Since the establishment’s second owners, Mabel and Phillip Edge, installed the grill in 1970, the Vulkan-Hart slab of cast iron has hosted countless sizzling burgers.

Somewhere along the way, cracks developed in the surface. They were repaired, but not too tidily. In January 2012, the cracks grew worse, leaving Phillips, who bought Coney Island from the Edges in 1989, in a quandary.

A temporary stainless steel griddle has been grilling Coney Island's burgers ever since, but stainless steel just doesn't season like cast iron.

Now, local welder Jeremy Atkinson has offered to have a look at the griddle. But all the metal workers who've examined it unanimously say that welding cast iron is trickier than welding steel.

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