100 coneys

Detroiters love their coney islands so much that we have surrounded ourselves with hundreds of coney island hot dog restaurants. Talk about comfort food! There can be two coney island restaurants right next to each other, two on the same block or a dozen on the same street. There are big chains, to be sure, but no single chain has probably even 10 percent of the area’s coneys. How many are there? We don’t really know. It is a coney free-for-all.

If you’re from out of town, you will be amazed at how many coney islands Detroit has. A Detroiter transplanted to another city can practically starve, looking for even one good coney restaurant. But at home, there always seems to be a coney nearby. They are so ever-present, we might even take them a little for granted. When you start investigating, the number of coneys astounds even us and we fine new ones to try.

Coney Detroit wants to show you what we mean.

For the next 100 weekdays, we are going to show you 100 Detroit-area coney island restaurants.

As we roll, please comment with what you think about the coneys we feature and tell us about the ones you would like us to visit. Make sure we include your favorite.

You can find the series by clicking on the 100 coneys link in the categories list on the home page or using the 100 coneys tag.

29 thoughts on “100 coneys

    • Thanks, Ron. One day, Katherine Yung and I drove all along Michigan Avenue, just counting coneys for a map in the book. We started at the epicenter — American and Lafayette — and went all the way to Mark’s in Saline. The Keros influence was at each end of that drive.

      Darn it, you’ve made me jungry!

      • I’ve lived in the Detroit Metro area for over 30 years, but am a native of Jackson County. I know many of the Coney Islands which you have reviewed, but have yet to find one which, in my opinion, beats the nearly 100 year old Virginia Coney Island on Michigan Avenue near the Jackson train depot. You really must include them in your upcoming tour and in future reviews…

        • Thanks! You will be happy to know that Katherine and I ate coneys at Jackson Coney Island a few times and that Jan and Eli Potter are in the Coney Detroit book a few times. Each is pictured in the book. They run a great coney island. We’re glad we went and plan to return!

    • Jewel! Thanks for stopping by. Katherine and I had lunch at that Leo’s on March 3. In fact, we signed a bunch of books there, but couldn’t let them out yet. Did you see that the Royal Oak Leo’s is experimenting with some new menu items?

      So, when are WE going to get a coney in Royal Oak? Bring Seth!

  1. In Jackson there’s Jackson Coney Island, Andy’s Pizza & Coney Island Hot Dogs and, Virginia Coney Island.

    Don’t forget Tony Packo Coneys in Toldeo

    • Thanks, Doug.

      (Have you tried Hot Doug’s in Chicago?)

      I visited Tony Packo’s a few times when we were doing Coney Detroit. (Did you try the M.O.D.? — Mother of all Dogs?)

      I didn’t think they were doing a coney dog, but asked a waitress, just to check:

      “Are these coney dogs?”

      She thought and said, “No, they’re TONY dogs.”

      ‘Nuff said.

      We have eaten at Jackson Coney Island and Virginia Coney Island in the Coney Detroit book. Great places! I have to try Andy’s.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Haha!

      I worked at the Free Press for 25 years. I have been to Coney King. Need to go back. When do the Post Office employees go there? That must be a scene.

  2. I think you should try Joe’s Coney Island in Westland. Its a small coney island on the corner of a strip mall. Its not the busiest coney island but i think that helps give it a nice homely feel. Joe has been in the business for as long as i can remember (been going since i was a kid) and his attitude towards coneys have never changed “he can eat them everyday”. Love going there hope others try it out too!

    • My friend, I will have to check that place out. And I suggest you take a look at Jerry’s Famous Dogs in Clawson. These sound ;like similar places.

      I get hungry just thinking about them.

    • We love their “koneys” and think the whole family is great. Kerby’s is created from “Kerby brothers” and, yes, they do take a familial pride in doing a great job.

      They are in the big and the cover was, in fact, shot at a Kerby’s. Delicious!

  3. My favorite coney was Pete’s in Pontiac. I think they are still around. Went there any time I was visiting my grandparents. While the dogs themselves are tasty in every way, I especially liked the traditional horseshoe arrangement of the counters and the stools of yesteryear.

    • Thanks, Larry. I used to eat there when I worked at The Oakland Press in the ’70s and ’80s. You will be happy to know that there is a photo of those horseshoe shaped counters in Coney Detroit — as well as several other photos from Pete’s. Pete’s II and Walt’s. We really loved Pontiac’s coney tradition and dedicated a section of Coney Detroit to it. Oh, my. I just made myself hungry.

  4. Just plugged your book on Facebook. So glad it’s out now. Have you mentioned Lipuma’s in Rochester in it. The line usually snakes around the building at lunch time.

    • Thanks, Heather.

      Lipuma’s is an experience and we are planning to come to Rochester later this year to talk coneys.

      Here is an item we have on the site, with a photo of Tony Lipuma in his beloved “little hot dog stand.”

      It serves coneys and a whole lot of other dogs. A Rochester tradition!

  5. I have to say Bob’s Super Chief in Pontiac, MI is highest in my esteem. They grill the buns and OH MAN it adds something special! Also my childhood favorite still puts a big smile on my face: Walt’s, in Waterford, MI.

  6. I think all you people should go try Aloha Coney on Gratiot Ave. Then tell me what’s up, no more comment lol.
    Thank You,

  7. Since 1971, I have satiated myself at Davison Coney Island in Oak Park. Left in 1972 but always return there during every visit back home. Usually twice. Here for our 40th HS reunion and we are excited to see old friends, but more excited to go to Davisons.

  8. I grew up a block from Duly’s Place on Vernor. My dad was their refrigeration man. I helped him put a swamper on their roof to cool the place, in the late ’50s. Yuly Duly was the boss then. I would eat over there at all hours, often at 3 AM. Absolutely classic dogs with loose chili & extra onions. They also did a loose hamburger. So does the Lafayette. Worth mentioning the loose with chili & extra onions.

  9. Pingback: Beyond the Five Boroughs: The Foods of Detroit | NY Food Journal

  10. Kalamazoo has the best Coney Island hot dogs. After I moved out of Michigan that is the first place I would go to when I went back to visit my kids. They always made fun of me because I went there before I even came to let them know I was in town.

  11. Lipuma’s is, hands down, the BEST Coney Island in metro Detroit. The rest are just meh in comparison. Next time you’re at Lipuma’s, try the tacos…omg they’re awesome.

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