Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coney Island (Detroit, MI)

Lafayette Coney Island, 118 W. Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48226, T: 313-964-8198
American Coney Island, 114 W. Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48226, T: 586-219-0995

One of the most famous pig out spot rivalries is between two hot dog places in Detroit, Michigan. I heard about it on my favorite pig out show, Man v Food, presented by Adam Richman. The American Coney Island was founded in 1929 by a Greek immigrant, while Lafayette Coney Island was founded a couple of years later by a relative. For decades the two shops have divided Detroit over who has the best coney island hot dog. Where Adam didn't dare to proclaim a winner, my friend A. and me are less diplomatic.

We first went to Lafayette, which was quite small and very crowded. The crowd was fairly mixed although predominantly white (and that in downtown Detroit!). Clearly Lafayette is a favorite pre-game stop for Red Wings fans, as there were many in the shop. The menu is very limited: hot dogs, fries, and only a couple of other things.

We went for a Coney Island ($2.35) each and shared a fries ($1.90). The fresh sausage came on a fresh steamed bun and with a very tasty chili, hot mustard, and fresh onions. As good as chili dogs come. The fries, on the other hand, were unremarkable.

We paid and went next door, to American Coney Island, which was much larger, but almost completely empty. Maybe as a consequence of that, the staff was much more relaxed. Unlike Lafayette, American has a much larger menu, including Greek specialties and donuts.

We went for exactly the same, but this time we were given two Coney Islands each (the prices per hot dog were exactly the same). The bun and sausage were less fresh and the chili had much less taste. On top of that, the mustard was almost tasteless. The fries, on the other hand, were crispier.

VERDICTS: 89/100 and 80/100
A. and I had no doubt on who served the better Coney Island: Lafayette! Everything about the hot dog was better and we both wish we would have had two there, instead of at American. That said, any real fast foodie would check it out for her/himself.

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