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Coney Feud–Part 1

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 08:03 PM

074Can you believe how warm it has been lately? I know the weather hasn’t been amazing for all of you, but if you live in the Midwest it has been downright awesome! We have had the mildest winter I can remember in a LONG time and now in the last two weeks it has been just like summer…, I mean 80 degrees in March…, it’s crazy!

One thing this weather is doing for our family (well Adam in particular) is helping to set the mood for the season…the baseball season that is. With the start of the season less than 2 weeks away, Adam is giddy with excitement, and it is taking me back to last summer when we shared a baseball themed trip to Detroit, which is where this week’s post is from.

To me, nothing is more synonymous with summer AND baseball than hotdogs. Well, if you’re from Detroit, those dogs come in the form of a Coney Dog. That’s right…these things are everywhere in the Detroit metro area and everyone has their favorite; and perhaps the most famous of them all are two that share everything in common from family to a location and have been in competition with one another for the best Coney for generations. I’m referring to Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island.

These 2 Coney Island landmarks got their start by the Keros brothers in the early 1900’s and officially began their rivalry when one brother decided he’d strike out on his own and open his very own Coney sport right next door to their current location….and I mean RIGHT NEXT DOOR! He named the new Coney spot Lafayette Coney Island.


Lafayette’s (or American for that matter) wasn’t really on our radar screen until we saw both the The Food Network and The Travel Channel visit them for their “Food Feuds” and “Food Wars” shows respectively; and since then they’ve also shown up on an episode of “Man vs. Food.” Needless to say, they’ve both gotten a lot of publicity through the years…major PCC cred; and while these 2 aren’t the only Coney restaurants in the D-Town area, they are the most famous and creators of the original “Coney Style Hotdog,” a hot dog with chili, diced yellow onion, and yellow mustard.







Others around the state and country have duplicated the un-trademarked dog, but none seem to be as popular or widely known. So on last summer’s “babymoon” weekend getaway to Detroit for a baseball game, I knew a Coney taste test was in our future.

Our first stop/taste test was at Lafayette’s (for no real reason other than it was the one to the left Smile). It is quite comical when you pull up and see these two restaurants literally smack dab right next to one another. When we walked in, one thing we immediately noticed was how nostalgically “old” it was. I don’t want to say dingy, but it was clear that not much had changed in the décor since 1917 (a vast difference from its counterpart, but we’ll get to that next week). It is very much a “no frills” kinda atmosphere. Since it was just the two of us and we knew this wasn’t going to be a lengthy meal, we thought it would be easy enough to just sit at the bar and see the process first hand, a very quick process I might add. The guy at the counter came and took our order, but it was pretty clear we should be ready when he came over and that he wasn’t up for a lot of conversation. It wasn’t that he was mean, just pretty no nonsense. The order was pretty simple…a couple of Coney’s the way Lafayette’s intended, diced onions & yellow mustard; and, no joke, they were in front of us within two minutes, and five minutes later our plates were empty!

I knew I wouldn’t dislike this dish, since I love Cincinnati style chili Coney dogs. But the big question would be which of these two famed Coney dogs I would like best; and although I don’t want to ruin the surprise, I will say I found the Lafayette’s Coney pretty tasty. Still, you will have to wait until next week for the comparison and big reveal on which is best. In the meantime I will give you a basic review below…

SIGNATURE DISH: Coney Dogs all day long…since 1917.

TASTE: While I won’t say if this was my favorite, I will tell you it was for sure tasty and definitely hit the spot. While different in flavor than Coney style dogs I have had in the past, if this is how Detroit does it, than they have found a fan in me!

AMBIANCE: I mentioned above that the feeling you get when you walk into Lafayette’s is pretty unique…, unique in the sense that it feels like you are stepping back in time a little bit. It is clear that not much has changed in the décor over the last 80 plus years and people like it that way. Hoping I’m not offending anyone, I’d say Lafayette’s very much reflects Detroit blue collar feel. It’s a no-frills no-fuss place…all about the Coney.

PRICE: While I can’t remember specifically, I know each of our dogs was not much more than a couple of dollars…, a deal any day in my book!

SERVICE: While I would not say we received bad service, I will definitely say they weren’t as welcoming or friendly as I would have hoped. This is not to say I didn’t expect it, especially with their D-Town demeanor. I’d almost say this is part of what makes Lafayette’s so popular…it’s Detroit to the core, like it or not.

…Stay tuned for my review of American Coney Island next week and I’ll fill you in on which was our favorite!

One Response to “Coney Feud–Part 1”

  1. […] bated breath, today is your day. However, if you are just joining us, two weeks ago we began with part one of a two part review of these famed D-Town dogs in competition where the focus was on one of the […]

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