American Coney Island

American Coney Island

It’s hard to think of a staple more renowned as a Detroit icon than American Coney Island. Having now been in operation since 1917, the restaurant has been in the same location on Lafayette for 92 of those 96 years. That isn’t to say, however, that the business hasn’t expanded in very big, exciting ways.

In addition to the Lafayette location, American Coney Island serves their delicious fare from Ford Field, the Detroit Zoo, a satellite location in Canton, and most recently, a new location within The D Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The decision to open the first American Coney Island outside of southeast Michigan actually took some convincing on the part of Derek Stevens, owner and founder of The D Hotel and Casino.

American Coney Island
Photo courtesy of Hayley Serr

After opening in October 2011, Stevens knew that the casino, a homage to his hometown, was missing the flavor of American Coney Island (which Stevens frequented during his years at Wayne State University). After sharing his vision, Stevens was able to show the great opportunity that a Las Vegas American Coney Island provided.

That’s not to say that tradition isn’t still an integral part of the American Coney Island business model. Constantine “Gust” Keros opened the restaurant just over a decade after immigrating to the United States from Greece and it has been owned and operated by members of the Keros family ever since. Now run by Grace Keros, Gust’s granddaughter, American Coney Island retains all of the same menu fan favorites from it’s inception.

Most notable of those items is, without a doubt, the American Coney Island hot dog. Start with a Dearborn Sausage natural skin casing hot dog (unique for it’s specially seasoned, high-quality flavor), add chili made using the secret recipe developed decades ago by the Keros’, slather on some mustard and chopped onions, all on a steamed bun fresh from Hamtramck’s Metropolitan Baking Co. and you’ve got the quintessential American Coney Island hot dog.

If you’re drooling on your keyboard and unable to make it to one of the American Coney Island locations, never fear (and also, mop up your keyboard). American Coney Island has made their delicious signature dogs available to all with their delivery Coney Kits. Each is packed in dry ice in a custom made insulated cooler, shipped on a very specific schedule to guarantee that coney lovers get the freshest, most authentic hot dog taste.

Photo courtesy of Hayley Serr
Photo courtesy of Hayley Serr

Or if, on the other hand, you can make it into the flagship location, consider stopping by on September 12th for the Annual Coney Dog Eating Challenge. The event supports the Keros Family Scholarship Fund with proceeds benefitting the culinary program at Golightly Career & Technical Center in Detroit.

Any occasion, though, is a great one to visit American Coney Island, day or night (did I mention it’s open twenty-four/seven?), and grab a bite of the Keros family signature hot dog.

Have you made it to American Coney Island? Are you a fan of the coney dog or do you prefer an alternative menu item?

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Hi, all! A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Awesome Mitten creator Alex Beaton at one of my favorite Michigan landmarks: Michigan State University. Aside from my indulging Spartan roots with trips to East Lansing, I spend most of my time watching movies, cooking, hanging out with my family, and counting down the days until summer, when I can spend a few more days on any of the beautiful lakes of Michigan. Email me at: hayley@awesomemitten.com