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.