68. New York Red Hots Coney Island, Madison Heights

1235 W. Fourteen Mile Road
Madison Heights, MI 48071

248-589-1470

For two weeks, we’ll tale a look at coney islands known for their artwork. There are some great one. Does any art school offer a course in the coney masters?

No consideration of coney island art is complete without a peek at the menus.

Most are cheap and utilitarian, as befits the fare.

A few are works of art and cost the owners a lot of money, One such menu is at this restaurant. It features the State of Liberty holding a coney dog aloft The Liberty on the menu also holds a menu.

More than any other coney island in the Detroit area, this one plays the New York card.

There is a New York coney dog, a New York coney island deluxe, a New York kraut dog, a New York spicy red hot, a New York loose burger and a New York coney taco. All follow the standard style of local items, The deluxe is a coney dog with an additional loose beef topping. The coney taco is a hot dog bun with ground beef, coney topping, onions, mustard, cheese, lettuce, tomato and taco sauce.

The owner, Rob Quni, said he has been in this building since it was built in 1993 and that the place used to part of the now defunct Onassis Coney Island chain. Before it was at this location, the Onassis had been at Six Mile Road and Conner in Detroit.

Quni said his brother tried the coney business in Florida, but Floridians are not big on the concept and he now runs a Middle-eastern place called Honey Tree.

66. Walt’s Original Coney Island, Waterford

The interior of Walt's is an explosion of color. Photos copyright Ryan Southen for "Coney Detroit"

3425 Highland Road
Waterford, MI 48328

(248) 933-1411

For two weeks, we’ll tale a look at coney islands known for their artwork. There are some great one. Does any art school offer a course in the coney masters?

Once part of a cluster of three adjacent coney islands in downtown Pontiac, Walt’s Original has been just outside the city since 1954, when the trio was broken up to make room for developers.

Real estate broker Todd Irish, who was asked to handle the sale of the business in 1978, decided instead to run his favorite eatery. He added seating, a drive-through and packed it from floor to ceiling with Americana. Interviewed for “Coney Detroit,” the book, he estimated that half the decorations came from his customers.

He also estimated that he has eaten about 17,000 hot dogs.

Walt’s Original Coney Island is featured in the book “Coney Detroit,” published by Wayne State University Press. These photos, copyright Ryan Southen, are the 125 color photos in the book. All author and photographer royalties go to Gleaners.

Have you been to Walt’s Original Coney Island? Do you have a favorite place for coney island hot dogs you’d like us to visit? We love your comments.

64. Western Coney Island, Eastpointe

This is different: A mural by a coney island owner


21515 Gratiot Ave.
Eastpointe, MI 48021

586-773-2500

For two weeks, we’ll tale a look at coney islands known for their artwork. There are some great one. Does any art school offer a course in the coney masters?

The waitresses no longer wear cowboy hats and badges as they did when I first came across this place in 2009, but the menu, inside and outside are still covered with a western motif.

Credit the owners, Nikolih and Vongjel Shyti, who took over on March 1, 2004, and turned John’s Coney Island into something more distinctive.

Many coney islands have murals and some may have been painted by the owners, but this is the only one that has a western landscape and it was well done by Nikolih. He urges guests to touch it, just to show how he covered the painting with a sealer to protect it. Vongjel owns another place, Alpha Coney Island, in Dexter, Mich.

Cowboy hats, photos and western bric-a-brac put customers in the mood for a long little coney doggie. The furniture and waitresses polo shorts are in purple. It is a very clean restaurant.

Some distinctive Western items are a Western salad, a Texas burger, a Western burger, a Western salad, Texas French toast and the Yee-Ha! Special: two eggs, two pancakes, two sausages and two pieces of bacon.

Oddly, Western Coney & Grill does not list a Western omelet.

63: Franks-a-Lot Coney, Waterford

2380 Scott Lake Road
Waterford, MI 48328

248-674-3526

For two weeks, we’ll tale a look at coney islands known for their artwork. There are some great one. Does any art school offer a course in the coney masters?

A lot of coneys have been eaten where Scott Lake Road meets Dixie Highway in Waterford Township.

They have been served by a lot of owners running restaurants under a lot of different names.

In late 2010, though. the restaurant returned to its traditional name, “Franks-A-Lot.”

It’s a family friendly spot with a big mural on an inside wall, added under its latest incarnation.

The painting is a water scene with pleasure boats in the water and a diner at one end. That seems very appropriate for a spot in Waterford Township, which has a lot of lakes. The mountains in the mural tell you this is no Waterford setting, though.

The menu is big and the hot dog section is ambitious with a Detroit coney dog, a Dixie dog (usually called a coney special, with seasoned beef on top of a regular coney), as well as Chicago, Polish, New York and Atlanta dogs. There is also a coney taco.

62. National Coney Island at Metro Airport, Romulus

For two weeks, we’ll tale a look at coney islands known for their artwork. There are some great one. Does any art school offer a course in the coney masters?

In a factory town like Detroit, it is only natural that in illustrator Barney Judge’s mind there might exist a coney dog assembly line.

Here it is, in sketches displayed on the walls of the National Coney Island at Metro Airport.

54. Zeff’s Coney Island, Detroit

The breakfast crowd at Zeff's Coney Island in Detroit's Eastern Market

2469 Russell St.
Detroit, MI 48207

313-259-4705

This is a Detroit classic, located in a strip of storefronts that tack down the south end of Russell Street, the main drag in Detroit’s Eastern Market.

Joe Gohl with his painting of Zeff's/Copyright Bobby Alcott for Coney Detroit

It’s menu tends toward subs, sandwiches and wraps and it is a busy breakfast spot, but it knows how to put out a coney and its usual companions: the plain hot dog, the loose burger in a hot dog bun and a coney taco. Zeff’s builds its coney on a steamed hot dog bun, not taco chips or a tortilla, like some other places.

For the book Coney Detroit, we included Joe Gohl of Dearborn, a coney fan with a paintbrush, who was painting a scene at Zeff’s. He had done several other coneys and worked his way on toward Zeff’s.

Good choice. You can see more of his work in the book.

Zeff’s Coney Island is featured in the book “Coney Detroit,” published by Wayne State University Press. This photo is from one of the 125 color photos in the book. All author and photographer royalties go to Gleaners.

Have you been to Zeff’s Coney Island? Do you have a favorite place for coney island hot dogs you’d like us to visit? We love your comments.