A Michigan is a small, juicy frank bedded in a trough-shaped, cream-soft bun and topped with mustard, onions and a vivid fine-grind beef sauce. It’s a regional specialty you’ll find in upstate New York between the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain, primarily in Plattsburgh, as well as in Vermont and up into Quebec. It is a close cousin to the New York System wieners of Rhode Island and to Coney Island hot dogs throughout the heartland.
While many vacationers think of Michigans as summertime food, Gus’s serves them year around. Starting in 1951 as a simple hot dog stand, Gus’s has grown to a three-meal-a-day restaurant with a full menu that boasts, “The restaurant features just about everything [even Lake Champlain perch], including their famous ‘Michigan red hot,’ which they invite you to try while dining.” Each Michigan is presented in a cardboard boat. The heft of the sauce contrasts with the fluffy bun and fatty frank, and while each separate ingredient is inarguably ignominious, the combo is taste-buds magic – especially when topped with a line of yellow mustard and a scattering of crisp, chopped raw onions.
For dessert: fine rice pudding.