My coney has a first name …
I like a place like Mike’s where, when you walk in the door, the actual Mike is hard at work at the grill
Mike Chaalan runs this place up Russell Street from Zeff’s Coney Island in Eastern Market and seems not to be the least bit concerned that he is not on the busier end of the strip. Few coney island owners act like the competition bothers them. That’s because every coney island owner you ask tells you that their coneys are the best.
Chaalan says that his 10 stools and four tables fill up with white collars from downtown and blue collars from around the market district.
The look, once you find the place, will make you smile. It has a bright, sunshine-yellow exterior and what some have described as a robin’s egg blue interior. The décor is diner.
In December, 2011, Chaalan, who is Lebanese, said he had owned the place for 13 years, changing its name from Joseph’s Coney Island to his own name.
Several of the entrees are named after Mike or Big Mike and he has an unusual dish in the “Mike’s chili fries special, which is fries topped with chili and cheese – that’s normal – but then he adds two chopped hot dogs.
It is nice to visit a place where, if you have a complaint or a compliment, you can deliver it right across the counter to the CEO.