Coney Island Dogs in Detroit

Somehow Coney Island Dogs have nothing to with actual Coney Island in New York City. How strange is that?

But they’re an institution in Detroit so I felt I should give them a chance because I love local fast food whether it’s a banh mi in Saigon


or a garbage plate in Rochester, NY


And clearly, the Coney Island Dog falls much closer to one end of that spectrum than the other…


Tah-dah! It’s a chili dog with mustard and onions. Super exciting, yes? So exciting, in fact, that I had two, although that was more for story than the actual dog.

It seems that in 1917 two Greek brothers opened a Coney Island hot dog stand and then decided they couldn’t work together but neither one wanted to get out of the Coney Island Dog business. So they parted ways and one bought the next storefront over and opened his own store, resulting in two Coney Island Dog restaurants next door to each other.


Such is the Detroit desire for Coney Island Dogs that these two places are both open and thriving almost 100 years later, run by descendants of the warring brothers and serving identical product.


This is Lafayette’s Coney Island Dog and the one above is the American Coney Island Dog, a fact I only know because I captured the American Coney Island logo in the picture… I had to try them both to see if there was any difference and (sorry Detroit!) I can’t tell the difference.

But I will say that American Coney Island has a clean, up-beat sparkly tourist vibe and Lafayette has more of a dive diner for locals-only “no soup for you!” sort of situation going on.

Either way, rock on Detroit! I saw more people in these two restaurants than I saw on the streets the whole week I was in town so they’re doing something right.

4 thoughts on “Coney Island Dogs in Detroit

  1. 1. So is a “garbage plate” macaroni salad, a slice of cheese, taco mean, home fries and ketchup?

    2. So did “Coney Island” dogs start in Detroit? Or were those brothers just transplanting an East Coast tradition?

    3. Are the cheap-looking smooshed buns part of the charm? I do miss me some hot dogs. Sigh.

    • Garbage plate is half french fries and half macaroni salad on the bottom, cheeseburgers or hot dogs on top, onions and chili on top of that, ketchup on everything and a smooshed white dinner roll on the side, preferably served on a plastic or paper plate with a coke.

      Coney Island dogs apparently originated in Michigan but a restaurant on the actual Coney Island in NYC claims that they invented the hot dog.

      Smooshed white buns are part of any good fast food and I love that of all the meat products out there you would miss hot dogs :)

  2. Coneys are a Detroit invention; they made their way east from Detroit. Lafayette was the Original Coney Island; American was started by the splitters-off from the family. And it’s still to this day a hefty point of debate in downtown DTW, whether Lafayettes are better or Americans. (I prefer Lafayettes when downtown, and Hefty’s when out near the Western ‘Burbs. Leo’s and Kerby’s are beneath contempt.)

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