Book cover features two coney island hot dogs on one plate

Coney Detroit

Detroit is the world capital of the coney island hot dog—a natural-casing hot dog topped with an all-meat beanless chili, chopped white onions, and yellow mustard. In Coney Detroit, authors Katherine Yung and Joe Grimm investigate all aspects of the beloved regional delicacy, which was created by Greek immigrants in the early 1900s. Coney Detroit traces the history of the coney island restaurant, which existed in many cities but thrived nowhere as it did in Detroit, and surveys many of the hundreds of independent and chain restaurants in business today. In more than 125 mouth-watering photographs and informative, playful text, readers will learn about the traditions, rivalries, and differences between the restaurants, some even located right next door to each other.

Coney Detroit showcases such Metro Detroit favorites as American Coney Island, Lafayette Coney Island, Duly’s Coney Island, Kerby’s Coney Island, National Coney Island, and Leo’s Coney Island. As Yung and Grimm uncover the secret ingredients of an authentic Detroit coney, they introduce readers to the suppliers who produce the hot dogs, chili sauce, and buns, and also reveal the many variations of the coney—including coney tacos, coney pizzas, and coney omelets. While the coney legend is centered in Detroit, Yung and Grimm explore coney traditions in other Michigan cities, including Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Port Huron, Pontiac, and Traverse City, and even venture to some notable coney islands outside of Michigan, from the east coast to the west. Most importantly, the book introduces and celebrates the families and individuals that created and continue to proudly serve Detroit’s favorite food.

Not a book to be read on an empty stomach, Coney Detroit deserves a place in every Detroiter or Detroiter-at-heart’s collection.

Order from Wayne State University Press.

6 thoughts on “Book

  1. I’ve gotta ask, is Red Hots coney island in Highland Park in this book? It is supposedly the oldest coney, opened in 1921. They always seem to get passed over on coney lists.

    • Vincent’s, which is on my list for a serious sit-down visit, is a hidden gem.

      I think part of its visibility problem is that It does not call itself a coney island. Its name is Victor Red Hots. I think a lot of people, looking around, asking around or surfing, just don’t find it because it does not have coney island in its name.

      Its location, just off Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, takes it off the beaten path, too.

      But it sure seems to me to qualify as a coney island and I will get there.

      1921, if true, would make it one of the oldest around. Coney islands, like people, sometimes fib when they reach an advanced age, though the coneys usually make themselves sound older. What that means is that there are several places that date their origins as pre-1920, but the proof is scarce.

      We may never know which coney island is the oldest, and there is a big chance that the first coney island ever does not even exist.

      Watch us. We’ll get to Victor Red Hoits. (I am told that I should not even ask for the recipe!)

  2. out here in providence, ri, they (the stores) are called ‘new york system’. in fall river, they usually have the ‘coney island hotdogs’ as part of their store sign.


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