Restaurant writer Sylvia Rector reports that the Coney Dog’s celebrity owners lost “a lot” of money with their Detroit-themed restaurant, which opened in 2011. Investor Mike Binder is quoted as saying that the restaurant was popular with Detroit ex-pats and generated buzz, but couldn’t generate enough money. It featured coney ingredients and a bun steamer from Detroit as well as Faygo, Stroh’s and Better Made chips.
Rector quoted Binder as saying, ““In fairness to them, you can only eat like that so much. … And the people in L.A. said, ‘It’s just a chili dog.’ … It quickly became obvious that there weren’t enough people who wanted that kind of food in Los Angeles.””
I had a great time talking coneys — and eating them — with Jonathon Pinto, Canadian journalist for CBC Radio.
One of our great disappointments in researching the book “Coney Detroit” was that although we included coney islands near and far, we couldn’t find any such restaurants in Windsor. Fortunately, Detroit has a couple great ones close to the tunnel — and others near the bridge.
Detroit chefs and foodies are turning the city’s signature food inside out in the $10,000 Top Chef Coney Detroit Challenge sponsored by Detroit Harmonie.
The group’s third International Experience challenged competitors to reimagine the coney dog with an international twist. The finals will be at 8 p.m. March 23 at the Carr Center, 311 E. Grand River Ave., and tickets are available online for $20.
Local 4 television viewers have voted in a best-of-Detroit coney contest which has some astounding results.
One of the winning coneys is also featured in our “100 coneys in 100 days” series.
The usual suspects are not on this list — anywhere. Although we have been to or heard most of what we estimate to be about 500 coney islands in the Detroit in the course of writing and promoting “Coney Detroit,” several were new us.
I stopped in last week at Big Bite Coney & Grill in Canton.
It is a big place just across Ford Road from Plato’s Coney Island.
Few people welcome rivals who move in right across the street, but coney competition has proven to be a recipe for success in plenty of places, starting with the neighboring coneys in downtown Detroit and Jackson.
Big Bite offers a big menu and a $1.99 coney island.
Big Bite Coney & Grill
42400 Ford Road
Canton, MI 48187
It is in good company. It joins:
* Motor City Coney Island in Henderson, Nev. (profiled in “Coney Detroit)
* Coney Dog in Los Angeles
* Bobby’s Detroit Coney Island in La Quinta, Calif.
* Motor City Coney Island ATL in Stone Mountain, Ga.
* Detroit Coney Island, Kentucky
DeShawn “Whip Dog” Whipple, the 2012 American Coney Island champion, with Grace Keros, former Detroit Piston Rick Mahorn, Danny Keros and “Coney Detroit” co-author Katherine Yung.
The winner in American Coney Island’s coney eating contest on Sept. 5 was a 32-year-old from Detroit.
The American Coney crew gets the dogs ready for the big chowdown.
He gobbled up a little more than 10 coneys in 10 minutes.
Whipple entered last year’s contest, but this was his first win.
He won a year’s worth of free coneys from American, dinner at the downtown restaurant Roast and a gift certificate at the Detroit Shoppes at the Somerset Collection.
Do you want fries with those?
His technique, he said he tried not to eat too fast and to pace himself.
“Coney Detroit” co-author Katherine Yung was a celebrity judge and helped make sure that everything was honest and fair.
The contest was a benefit for the Keros Family Scholarship Fund for culinary students at the Golightly Career and Technical Center in Detroit. Several students helped with the contest and some alums came out to show support.
Which city has the most? The best? The biggest? The oldest?
Staging area for cheese coneys at a Skyline Chili in Cincinnati. They are known for their four-ways: chili, cheese, red beans and onions on spaghetti. Photo by Joe Grimm
Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the data miners at Food Genius have come up with a list of the top 50 cities for the greatest percentage of restaurants that have hot dogs on the menu.
Chicago, home to Vienna Sausage, Portillo’s and a strong hot dog tradition, would logically be expected to show up near the top of that list. But Food Genius says no. The U.S. city with the highest proportion of restaurants serving hot dogs is Cincinnati. Chicago is 28th. Cincinnati is way in front of anyone.
Detroit, indisputable king for coneys, is second on the Food Genius list. St. Louis is a clear third. The next 38 cities all fall between 1 percent and 2 percent.
These are the top 10 cities on the list Crain’s published, with the percentages of menus bearing hot dogs. Crain’s full list runs to 50 cities.