Where Are America’s Best Coney Dogs And How Many Are in Michigan?
With warmer weather finally spreading across Michigan, there’s likely to be plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers thrown onto the grill over the next several months. And there is one item that is just as hot as the Michigan sports betting action that has been going for the past few years.
One local favorite some might take a crack at making at home is the Coney dog. For the uninitiated, a Coney Island hot dog is a frankfurter on a steamed bun topped with meat sauce, chopped onions and mustard.
And contrary to popular belief, the Coney Island hot dog wasn’t invented on Coney Island, New York. It was invented in Michigan.
To celebrate one of the most famed food items to come out of the Great Lakes State, BetMichigan.com is taking a break from rating Michigan sports betting apps to try finding the best Coney dog in America. To do so, we’ve turned to TasteAtlas.com and its rankings of the best spots in the nation to try a Coney Island style hot dog.
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TasteAtlas.com’s Best Coney Island Style Hot Dogs
Michigan Dominates List, But Not At No. 1
What blasphemy is this? According to TasteAtlas.com the best place to get a world-renowned Michigan Coney Dog is in … Indiana?
Famous Coney Island is a hole-in-the-wall diner on West Main Street in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Open for business since 1914, it claims to be the oldest Coney stand in America. Whether that’s true is surely a matter of conjecture, but either way everything about this place seems like a delightful throwback to a bygone era.
Before customers enter, they can see the dogs grilling through the small diner’s front window. Inside, the walls are lined with black-and-white photos featuring the former staff of this century-old family business. At the back hangs a neon sign proudly proclaiming: “The buns are steamed.” But perhaps most charming of all, there isn’t a single menu item with a price tag above $5.
Sadly, if you’re looking to try out a Coney at the No. 2 spot on the list, you’re out of luck. After nearly 70 years in business, Angelo’s Coney Island closed its doors after the TasteAtlas list came out.
Still, Michigan restaurants take six of the top 10 spots on the website’s list.
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Best of the Rest
And fear not, because Duly’s Place, the No. 3 Coney joint comes with a stamp of approval from one of America’s most celebrated foodies. Anthony Bourdain – the late, great bad boy of the culinary world – featured Duly’s on Season 2 of his beloved CNN series, “Parts Unknown.”
Located on Verner Highway in Detroit, Duly’s has been around for more than 90 years. Its humble location is barely wider than a hallway inside, the place doesn’t have a website, and like many Coney shops, it stays open all hours to cater to the drunken late night crowd. Sound perfect to me.
There are two more Detroit Coney spots on the list. Not only are they directly beside each other downtown on Michigan Avenue, they also happen to be engaged in a decades-long family feud.
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A Detroit Coney Rivalry For the Ages
Lafayette Coney Island (No. 5 on the list) and American Coney Island (No. 7) were both opened in the early 20th century by a pair of Greek immigrant brothers. The origin story is something of a Detroit urban legend – apparently, Gust Keros opened American in 1917 and brought over his brother Bill from Greece to help him run the place. But Bill became disgruntled working for his brother, so he opened a rival Coney shop next door in 1924.
They’ve been competing for business ever since.
Locals love to debate who has the better dog. While Lafayette is higher on the list (and boasts a better rating on Google reviews), American is widely considered to be the cleanlier establishment.
Other highly ranked Michigan-based purveyors of the Coney dog include: National Coney Island, a chain with more than 15 locations spread across the Detroit metro area; Virginia Coney Island, a greasy spoon diner in Jackson; and Six Star Family Restaurant in Southgate.
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