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To Know Your Coney Dog is To Love Detroit

Posted on Wednesday, May 16 2012 in Dining

American Coney Dog Detroit

Few American cuisines are as celebrated or as disputed as the Detroit Coney Dog. The Detroit mainstay is a must-try for any visitor and a mandatory meal for anyone who considers themselves to be a true Michigander. Almost equally mandatory is to having a favorite — nay, a borderline religious affiliation to — a specific Detroit Coney Dog. Lafayette or American?

The Coney Dog traces its history to early 20th Century Greek immigrants, and features a natural-casing hot dog topped with all-meat chili (or "secret" sauce), chopped onions and mustard. If we can at least agree on that much, the rest is up for debate. According to hot dog lore, the Coney Island was created by either Todoroff’s Original Coney Island in Jackson or American and Lafayette Coney Islands in downtown Detroit, who split themselves into two restaurants in 1917 after a bitter family dispute — Detroiters have been taking sides ever since.

Fortunately, the truth is finally coming to light in a new book, Coney Detroit, by Katherine Yung and Joe Grimm, a comprehensive guide to Michigan’s favorite hot dog. Yung and Grimm also blog about this delicacy at Check out the trailer for their new book.

If you’re less interested in history and facts, there’s no reason you can’t still join the debate. MLive’s John Gonzalez recently rated the top 10 Coney Dogs in Michigan. What do you think, Detroit? Who makes the best Coney Dog in the Motor City?