How Did the Coney Dog Originally Get From New York to Michigan?
All throughout the United States you'll find dozens of variations on how different states and regions like to make their hot dogs.
But let's be honest, none of them hit quite like Michigan's own Coneys do.
As you may be aware, the coney-style hot dog didn't come from Michigan first. (Although, you'll have a hard time telling some people that hard truth.) But, our own version is just as beloved as the original which came from New York's own Coney Island back during the turn of the century.
So, how exactly did this New York boardwalk favorite become such a big Michigan staple?
The story is actually pretty interesting... When the Keros brothers first came to America from Greece, they immigrated through Ellis Island in New York City, just like thousands of others.
During their short stay in New York after their arrival, they came to love the coney dogs they were trying at New York's Coney Island. They loved them so much in fact, they packed up the idea and took it along with them to their next stop: Michigan!
That's when William "Bill" Keros and his brother Constantine "Gust" Keros, took their new favorite food to their new home.
That's when they opened up American Coney Island in 1919, in Detroit.
(I'm sure you've heard of it.)
Their change on the original coney was a bean-less Greek chili recipe of their own, giving their version of the Coney Dog a unique twist.
While business was good, over time the brothers started to argue more and more. So, they eventually decided to split their business. Literally, down the middle.
That's when Lafayette Coney Island opened directly next door, which still remains in (mostly) friendly competition today.
So while the Coney didn't originate in Michigan, I'd argue our version is the "new and improved" version. (After all, our only competition is that weird cinnamon version from Ohio.)
If you're more of a visual learner, here's a video that has all of the details (as well as the history of hot dogs across America.)