Detroit, MI

American Coney Dog vs. Lafayette Coney Dog

Becca Ballard

If you are from Detroit, it's an age old question; who has the best coney dog?

American Coney Island or Lafayette Coney Island

But to each his own, right?

If you’re a native of Detroit, the debate isn’t about whether or not you know about coney dogs, it’s about which coney dogs you support. Two hot dog joints sit side by side on Lafayette Boulevard in downtown Detroit. They are the oldest and most famous places in the city to grab a Coney. American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island are two hot dog institutions that have been competing against each other for over 100 years now. Gust Keros opened American Coney Island in 1917 after he immigrated to Detroit from Greece. Very soon after starting his business, Gust's brother William immigrated shortly after and decided to open his own restaurant right next door, Lafayette Coney Island. Now, the rest is history and Detroiters pledge allegiance to one or the other but never both.

What is a coney dog, you ask? A coney dog is an all-beef hot dog served on a steamed bun and topped with chili, chopped raw onion and yellow mustard. Each unique blend of chili is what makes every coney dog so unique.

When in Detroit, it is an absolute must to try both American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island. Regulars at each have sworn to their allegiance to their preferred coney dog. This rivalry is so intense that once some Detroiters find their favorite, they won't even step foot into the other restaurant.

American Coney Island has has nostalgic, red, white and blue diner interior and has since expanded to other locations in the city and even in a casino in Las Vegas. Lafayette, meanwhile, is often seen as the more no-fuss and very authentic place.

Although the family rivalry is over due to the family selling Lafayette to its employees almost 30 years ago, food networks, however, have continued to push the competitiveness. Man vs. Food and Food Wars both have had taste tests between the two, featuring loyal customers defending their choice.

With that in mind, it seems that the true rivalry is actually between loyal Detroiters who have chosen their favorite based on their own nostalgia, experiences, and attitude, and refused to change ever since. That is purely subjective, but for a true Detroit experience, once you’ve picked one, be sure to stick with it.

So, what team are you, team American Coney Island or team Lafayette Coney Island?

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Welcome to a glimpse into the latest local stories, travel, restaurants and more! Most topics you'll find around here are local to Michigan, but I might just surprise you! Grab a coffee and stay for awhile. I hope to leave you restless with the urge to explore somewhere new whether that be a new city or restaurant.

Birmingham, MI
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