The weiners and champion

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.

Coney-eating contest at American on Wednesday

How fast and how many? That is the question.

Katherine Yung and Joe Grimm, co-authors of “Coney Detroit” plan to be at American Coney island at Michigan Avenue and Lafayette in downtown Detroit for its coney dog-eating contest 5-7 p.m. Sept. 5.

All registration fees and $1 from each coney sold will go to the Keros Family Scholarship Fund for culinary students at the Golightly Career and Technical Center in Detroit. There’s a suggested $5 donation for admission. registration for individual competitors is $10 in advance, $15 the day of the event. To register, call 313-219-0995 or visit

Sales of “Coney Detroit” always benefit the Gleaners Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

American, Spike, a helicopter and a lot of coneys

Tune in to Fox 2 TV around 8:20 Sunday morning to see American Coney Island’s Grace Keros talk about the family restaurant’s 95-year celebration. Something wild is in the works. She’ll be joined by Mojo in the Morning‘s Spike. Some of the photos in the “Coney Detroit” book are by the multi-talented Spike. Of course, American Coney Island is featured prominently in the book, too.

Hear more about American, its 95th anniversary and the coincidentally named 95.5 radio station here.

Keros and Spike are working up the wildest coney promotion ever. It includes a helicopter and 950 coney dogs. Stay tuned.

Congrats to Coney Detroit photog Ted Fines

Waiter in apron holds five plates with coney dogs and chili fries

"Hard to Handle" at Lafayette Coney Island © Ted Fines

We couldn’t be prouder of Ted Fines, Coney Detroit photographer — and photo wrangler — for this shot, published in the Detroit Free Press on Mach 11 and chosen as a Detroit self portrait.

Ted has more outstanding work in Coney Detroit. Some carries his credit and he consulted on a number of other shoots.

A coney island Valentine

The Detroit News reports that coney island lovers who love each other can dine by candlelight at American Coney Island 6-10 p.m. Tuesday night. American has posted a link to the article on its Facebook page, so it looks like solid.

Beside the candles, expect roses, cupcakes and coneys, of course.

Will that be heavy onions or light, Romeo? And what about the chili?

American is at 114 W. Lafayette Blvd. in Detroit.

American Coney gets Canadian love

Canada’s National Post has an article about Detroit’s coney dogs and an interview with American Coney Island’s Grace Keros. Check it out.

The article, by Jessica Pollack, includes a graphic that deconstructs the coney. Pollack describes her entry into Detroit from the Windsor side of the river in an unflattering way, but soon settles down to some coneys. They saved her day.

Jerry Abu El Hawa to deliver four, five, six, or more plates of coneys and fries—and to still have one hand free for talking.

Jerry Abu El Hawa delivers coneys at American Coney. © Keith Burgess in Coney Detroit

I enjoyed reading her confirmation that coney-like creations are known, in some places outside of the Great Lakes State, as “Michigans.” That took some work to figure out as Katherine Yung and I wrote “Coney Detroit,” due out from Wayne State University Press in April.

Pollack analyzes both American and Lafayette dogs and concludes:

“In Motown, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and after eating both and taking in their kennels, I have to conclude that American Coney Island is lapping up the competition.”

Read her full article and check out that graphic.