Lafayette Coney Island Hot Dogs | Where’s Detroit’s Best?

Review by: Michael Stern

Detroit Is a Great Hot Dog Town

No place shows more passionate for Coney Island hot dogs than Detroit. Coneys and the shops that serve them dominate the Roadfood landscape.

What Exactly Is A Coney?

The snappy, firm-fleshed hot dogs that form a Coney’s foundation will not wow you all by itself. A naked one would be a bore. But nobody eats a Coney undressed. It comes perforce as a package. The packaging creates diabolical harmony. Spicy dog, soft white bun, smooth chili, bright yellow mustard and crisp onions (and maybe shredded cheese, too) all come together in a form of hash-house alchemy. When the craving for one (or more likely, four) of them strikes, the primest filet mignon could not scratch that itch. It is possible to order one with “heavy chili,” but we believe the extra measure throws the precious balance off. Better to have your additional chili blanketing French fries or cheese fries. Or if you really like the chili, you do like they do in Appalachian Kentucky: can get a dogless bun filled with it. Kentuckians call it a chili bun.

Coney Island Loyalty

The most conspicuous evidence of the Motor City’s obsession with Coneys is a pair of rival restaurants that are right next to each other: American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island. To the casual observer, the two stores’ Coneys don’t differ all that much. But each has fanatical devotees.

Cliff Strutz (buffetbuster) recently observed a scene outside the two rival stores that showed the faithfulness Detroiters demonstrate towards Coney Island hot dogs. Cliff wrote, “After finishing a couple of Coneys, I was standing in the middle of the street taking photos of Lafayette and American Coney Islands. A car pulled up with two guys dressed in Red Wings clothing, obviously going to the game. One headed for the door at Lafayette and one for American. Both were ribbing each other for their poor taste in hot dogs. I find it very amusing that one just didn’t say ‘whatever,’ and eat with his friend. But Coney loyalty is apparently more important.” Cliff’s accompanying photograph shows the two dog hounds each going to his favorite place.

Lafayette is open until 4am Sunday through Thursday, 5am Friday and Saturday nights, making it a choice destination after a long night of revelry. It opens at 7:30am (9:30 on Sunday) for gastronomic maniacs who need a brace of Coneys to start the day.

What To Eat

Chili Dog

Chili Cheese Fries

Vernor’s Ginger Ale


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