Six days in the kitchen, one day’s rest
Tulsa’s hidden Jim
Two rusted signs hang over Harvard, one with the familiar “coney island” in neon, another promising “Greek Food and Music.” Painted on the windows are dancing hotdogs and “SHISH-KA-BOBS” and “YEROS SANDWICH.”
As the name suggests, at Jim’s Coney Island & Never on Sunday you get two restaurants in one. Where other Coney Islands end, Jim’s offers Greek dishes and daily specials.
The establishment’s history spans 60 years, and today, it’s reun by third-generation owner, Billy Pagonis. I’ve been eating a Jim’s since I was a kid, but surprisingly, many Tulsans have never heard of this classic.
“A hidden hole-in-the-wall pretty much,” Pagonis laughed. “Still down-to-earth, small mom and pop shop. Everything’s still made from scratch. I let the food explain everything.”
The interior is split between two rooms, an open kitchen where you order at the counter, and another room with tables. Paintings and drawings of mythical Grecian figures and architecture adorn the walls, all by local Greek artist George Grecco, made before Pagonis was born. Four Greek statuettes seem to be holding up the ceiling.
My go-to dish at Jim’s is souvlaki—four pieces of 24-hour marinated pork on a kebab that’s grilled upon ordering. But, their yeros are also hard to beat.
Dishes are principally served as dinner plates, Pagonis explained.
“The dinner plate you get rice, salad, green beans, choice of meat—either the pork shish-ka-bob, the sliced yeros meat, or you can do steaks Monday/Wednesday night, kind of a hidden item.”
The green beans are cooked in a perfectly stewed and seasoned tomato sauce. And tabouli fans— be aware: Jim’s serves some of Tulsa’s best.
Last time I was there I tried the Monday and Wednesday special, giovetsi—sirloin tips and shell macaroni, served with salad and green beans. I agreed to “all the way” option with onions and cheese on top. The steak was tender and the dish had a pleasant spice without being overwhelming.
On Tuesdays, the coneys (which stand up to any in town) are $1.20 each; on Thursdays, they offer stuffed tomatoes—another favorite; and on Fridays, it’s Greek meatballs.
Specials available every day include chicken oreganato, the vegetarian plate (a dinner plate including spinach pie, Greek cheese, olives, and bread), and a $5.50 combo with two coneys, chips, and a drink.
Pro tip: Get there early in the week. Every Monday baklava comes out of the oven and always goes quick.
Jim’s Coney Island & Never on Sunday
923 S. Harvard Ave. | Monday–Saturday 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.