Demand for sauce finds company willing to bring it back.


Sometimes an outcry from consumers does result in a happy ending.

For more than a year, Helen Woods of Springfield has been phoning Faribault Foods, asking the company to bring back the discontinued Chilli Man Coney Island Hot Dog Sauce.

 I would call whenever I thought of it, and I had everybody else calling, said the retired bookkeeper for the Springfield Mass Transit District.

When her children were teenagers, they liked to go to Steak n Shake and order the chili mac.

 "That' s expensive when you have kids, so we found if you add a little ketchup to the coney island sauce and put it on spaghetti, it tastes about the same and it's s cheaper" Woods said.

I've tried other brands, but they' re not as thick or as greasy,"  she added.
Kent Brunsman is another fan of the coney sauce from Chilli Man.

"You get some Cheez Whiz, salsa and a little can of Coney Island and it makes the best chili-cheese dip ever,"  said the retired Springfield police officer.

He's been e-mailing the company for more than a year, always asking the same three questions.

"I ask why they stopped making it, will they bring it back and would they give me the recipe," he said.

Brunsman recently got one of his questions answered. Faribault, indeed, is bringing back Chilli Man Coney Island Hot Dog Sauce.

"They called and told me they are going to start making it again and it should be on store shelves by the end of the month," Brunsman said in May.

Consumer representatives for Faribault, based in Faribault, Minn., confirmed that the sauce is in production. Instead of the little cans it used to come in, however, it's in 15-ounce cans, with a suggested retail price of between $2.39 and $2.59 when not on sale. It was supposed to be shipped to distributors at the end of May, the company reps said, but it's been difficult to find in Springfield.

Woods found some in two Shop'n Saves: on Wabash Avenue and on North Grand Avenue.

"I've been trying all the Shop 'n Saves,"  she said. "They got it on and off. I bought three and sent some to my daughter in North Carolina. Then I bought some more at the other store, but they keep running out."

I bought a can last week at the Shop 'n Save on North Grand Avenue for $1.89.

It's near the canned chili.

'Gerry Kettler, consumer affairs director for Niemann Foods, said Cub Foods and County Market are supposed to receive the sauce July 2 and predicted it will be in those Springfield stores a week or so after that.

'Coney Island sauce is a mildly spiced brew studded with ground beef. Traditionally, it's put on hot dogs to make coney dogs. The late Joe DeFrates started Chilli Man Chili in the early 1950s in Springfield. It' s now manufactured by Faribault Foods and is sold by the can in grocery stores, wrapped in its iconic black label.

Woods is afraid she won' t be able to find enough of the Chilli Man coney sauce to use for her chili mac.

"There's none other like it,"  she said. "I used to buy it by the case"

Food editor Kathryn Rem can be reached at 788-1520 or