Top Dog: Detroit Michigan’s Coney Island Hot Dog

On Any Given Night Lafayette Coney Island

On Any Given Night, photo by Derek Farr

When mLive writer Emily Bingham realized that Michigan didn’t have an official state food, she set out to determine what their readers thought. The winner was the coney island hot dog which squeaked by my personal favorite, the pasty. Share what you think Michigan’s signature food is in the comments!

The Encyclopedia of Detroit entry for the Coney Dog says:

Many people think that the Coney dog, also called the Coney Island hot dog, got its start on Coney Island, NY where the hot dog was created. In actuality, this popular food got its start in Michigan, although the exact location is still disputed. Three locations in Michigan all claim to be the birthplace of Coney dogs: American Coney Island in Detroit, Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit and Todoroff’s Original Coney Island in Jackson.

In 1917, Gust Keros opened American Coney Island. A few years later Keros’s brother opened Lafayette Coney Island next door. Both of these Detroit Coney Islands are incredibly popular to this day, where there is an on-going argument over which establishment serves the best Coney dog. The dispute has been featured on several food television shows, including Food Wars and Man v. Food.

A Coney dog is a beef hotdog, topped with an all meat, beanless chili, diced white onions, and yellow mustard. A true Coney dog uses made-in-Michigan products.

Lots more about the coney dog on Absolute Michigan.

View Derek’s photo bigger where you can also read about the history of friendly competitors Lafayette Coney Island & American Coney Island. See more in his massive Signs & Billboards slideshow.

Michigan food on Michigan in Pictures!

8 thoughts on “Top Dog: Detroit Michigan’s Coney Island Hot Dog

  1. What I really think is Michigan’s signature food is Buddy’s pizza. But since Buddy’s has limited distribution, I have to vote for the wonderful Red Haven peach.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Coney. The choice should be something original and ubiquitous in Michigan. I love Pasties, but they are imported from Cornwall and Wales in the UK. The black sweet cherry would be my second choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, Linda. I will also see your whitefish and raise you lake trout! Pink flesh & seriously delicious now that gobies have become a big part of their diet. I get mine at Carlson’s in Leland or Port City Smokehouse in Frankfort.


      1. I get mine at The Fishmonger’s Wife in Muskegon. Yum-o! And whitefish livers too–to die for!


  3. Having grown up around my Finish friends from the U.P. I was introduced to the pasty early on and have always felt it can be considered very representative of Michigan’s state food.However Michigan’s Whitefish are right in there as the #1 comparatively.


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