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Let's talk MI (or other) Coney's

When I was a teenager in a Motor City suburb, we used to go to National Coney Island. This was the best. I've had coney's in many other states as I've aged and I wish we had them in the Twin CIties' like they do in and around Detroit.

Now, there's also Cincinnatti ( sp); their's are good too.

But I also like the little red dye colored dogs they use in Oklahoma, where there's a couple local chains for coney's - but I haven't had them since the early 90's - these didn't use skin-on franks, but they were still awesome! Very tasty, and a good cheap meal.

There's also a small chain in Houston, and I forget the name but they were good coney's using skin-on franks.

I also know now that a couple of the bigger chains in the Detroit area offer Coney Kits by mail order. So I am tempted to order. If there's any of you hankering for a coney, you might want to test 'em out, and let me know if it's as much fun as I hope it is!

I am also curious as to fellow Chowhounds' memories, or present experiences, with any and all renditions of one of my favorites: CONEY's!

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  1. Despite my nom de chowhound, I'm only an occasional indulger. When you get to be a certain age, you just can't handle them as a staple in the diet! I'm also a fan of National--there's nothing like that "snap" when you bite into a dog! I like their coney chili the best; spicy without being overpowering. Kerby's is my next favorite of the suburban coney chains.

    My mom grew up in Saginaw and has fond memories of A&W there--the A&W's in other states aren't the same! Whenever my folks get to Michigan (they live out west now), we have to visit the A&W in my town (an actual drive-in) for a coney or two with frosty mugs of root beer.

    1. I haven't heard of Kirby's, bit I am not surprised, as I know there are probably too many to mention in and around southern MI. I am thinking of planning a trip there just to scout out the various restaurants. I would normally leave out an A and W, but on your advice, will include it now, as long as it's in MI. Thanks!

      1. Been eating at Lipuma's Coney Island in downtown Rochester for nearly 30 years. Real family run place with many different styles of dogs, coneys, Chicago, brats, Italian, etc. Also serves good chili fries and a Rochester specialty, seasoned fries. Has great home made soups too. Dad Bill Lipuma started the place and is still sometimes on the premises. His son Tony has taken over most of the day to day business. Only place in Michigan I truly miss when I go to Florida for the winter.

        1. Every 4th of July, Public Television (Here it's PBS channel 13) runs a delightful special on the different types of hot dogs to be found all across the country and some of the places that are still serving these regional dogs. I don't know if you can find it online, but if you can, you will enjoy it. They have done them for burgers, sandwiches, and ice cream. They are so much fun to watch. If you happen to live near some of the locales, even bettter!

          1. I can remember my mom telling me about the coneys at the Red Lion in Bay City, MI and how their sauce was "dry" as opposed to the "wet" sauce in Detroit. Has anyone else heard of this bifurcation in coney sauces?

            6 Replies
            1. re: charlesbois

              Bifurcation is right! The sauces in Detroit, Jackson and Flint are all different from each other -- and none of those is like Cincinnati's.

              I think it adds to the color and certanly to the flavor. Someone mentioned National, a great Detroit-area chain, but that chain is intertwined, at least geographically, with Kerby's and Leo's and dozens of smaller operations from mom-and-pops to little Coney empires of just a few places.

              The Detroit areas has literally hundreds of Coney Island restaurants, most seemingly run by Greeks and Albanians. You can check some out on www.coneydetroit.com, a fun place.

              1. re: charlesbois

                Flint Coney Island sauce is dry compared to the wet Detroit sauce. Koegel's, a Flint sausage company, makes a Detroit coney sauce that they sell to most of the coney restaurants around Detroit that don't make their own sauce. Gracies' makes a frozen coney sauce in Flint that is sold in most supermarkets in the area. I think it is a Flint style sauce.
                dave

                1. re: davebough

                  Jackson's are also dry . . . are theirs really different from the Flint sauce, or is it just a case of different recipes being used by different restaurants?

                  Dogs at Todoroff's, and then down to the Cascades on a summer night--the perfect cheap date in Jackson! Dinner for two, entertainment, and change back from fifteen dollars.

                  1. re: Jim M

                    I've never had a Jackson coney...lookin' forward to it.

                    I should make sure that people reading this don't think that when I'm talking about a dry coney sauce that I mean dry like a rub. The Flint sauce is dry enough so that if they are a little stingy with it you could pick up the bun and eat it like a hot dog. The Detroit sauce is wet and applied thick enough that there is little doubt that if you tried picking up the coney the bun would disintegrate and you would have most of the coney in your lap.
                    dave

                  2. re: davebough

                    I just checked Koegel's website and discovered they also make a Flint style sauce. You can buy either the Detroit or Flint style sauces with 10 lbs of Koegel Viennas (great!) from here:
                    http://www.koegelmeats.com/store.htm

                  3. re: charlesbois

                    In northern New York state, Clinton County to be exact they have a coney that is referred to as a Michigan. The sauce is the dry type. They are served on a split top New England roll. We used to bring back rolls with us when we went home for a visit since they were unavailable in Indiana. Happily I spotted them as a new item in Kroger on Sunday. I made Michigan sauce that night and we kind of pigged out.

                  4. If you are in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul. You gotta try Uncle Franky's. It's the real deal. He does use Vienna Beef hot dogs which is more of a Chicago thing but the chili on top is the real deal. I've also heard the Gopher Bar in St. Paul does a good Coney, but I've never been. There is no way to recreate the experience of having an authentic Coney in the place you grew up with but Uncle Franky's is better than going without.
                    http://www.unclefrankys.com/

                    -----
                    Uncle Franky's
                    728 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                    uncle franky's plymouth
                    10160 6th Avenue North, plymouth, mn 55441

                    1. There's really nothing better, though, than Lafayette. Atmosphere, food, history, snapping dogs, flavorful not-sweet chili, tasty loose burgers like nowhere else. Oh, now I'm making myself homesick...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Woodside Al

                        I cannot go to Detroit without going to LaFayette. American, next door, may have coney's just as good but I've never been in there. You look in the windows and it looks like a restaurant. LaFayette looks like a coney place. I love it.
                        dave

                        1. re: davebough

                          As a kid it was always Lafayette for us. Just a loose burger plain when I was little, but a loose with coney sauce as I got older.