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Coney Island hot dog (also Coney dog, or Coney) refers to two different kinds of hot dogs.

In some areas, it is a hot dog made from beef with casing, topped with an all meat chili, diced yellow onion and yellow mustard. This type of dog was primarily developed in Michigan, and served there and in the "heartland" states; that is, the non-coastal states of the U.S.marker

In other areas, most notably central and western New Yorkmarker, a Coney is a white hot dog, a stronger and more spicy variety of the traditional pork hot dog. These are sometimes also referred to as "white hots." Coney dogs of this variety are usually served bare or with mustard.


"One to Go"
Ironically, "Coney Island hot dog" describes a product that is unknown in its namesake, Coney Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker, where hot dogs (usually called "franks" from frankfurter) are traditionally made only from beef and served plain or with sauerkraut on a bun without other adornment except the availability of mustard, which at Nathan's was applied by the customer. The only reason for the name is the generic hot dog's origins in Coney Island, where it said to have been invented by Charles Feltman in 1867, who put a Vienna sausage in a roll and called it "Coney Island Red Hots." Some people, unsure of its ingredients, called it a hot dog. Different references claim that the locals thought the sandwiches reminded them of Feltman's ever-present companion, a dachshund, called a wiener dog even back then,and the term hot dog became a popular term.


"Coney Island" as type of hot dog

A Flint style Coney Island with dry coney sauce.
(Rio's Coney Island in Flint, Michigan)
The first coney island in Michigan was Lafayette Coney Island followed 2 years later by American Coney Island next door in Downtown Detroit. In many locations, a "Coney Island hot dog" includes "coney sauce," which is generally a beanless chili made with beef hearts. This variation of the "Coney Island hot dog" was invented in Detroit, Michiganmarker but by various claimants (including Walt's Coney, founded in 1936 in Waterford, Michigan Todoroff's in Jackson, Michiganmarker or American Coney Island in Detroitmarker).In Cincinnatimarker, Ohio, the "Cheese Coney", is a variation of the Coney Island hot dog with chili, onions and shredded cheese which nearly hides the wiener, which is smaller in size than the typical Detroit-style coney dog. Its popularity nearly makes Cincinnati synonymous with cheese coneys. Outside Cincinnati it is frequently referred to as Cincinnati style chili whereas within the city it is referred to as Greek Chili because of the many restaurants including three large chains that are owned and operated by Greek families who brought the chili sauce recipe from their home country.

"Coney Island" as type of food outlet

The term "Coney Island" is also a type of restaurant in southeastern Michiganmarker. They typically serve diner-like food as well as breakfast any time, and many are open 24 hours. A lot of Coney Island restaurants in the city of Detroit also have drive-through windows. They are independently owned and often the name reflects such, for instance "George's Coney Island." The most popular local chain is Leo's Coney Island which is popular in the nearby suburban areas, and has over 37 locations.A distinction is made between inner city Coney Island restaurants and those in the surrounding areas. While inner city locations only provide a fast food menu and service, restaurants in the suburban areas are geared towards dining in and provide a larger menu selection. These additional menu selections usually include Greek and Mediterranean style foods, such as saganaki and gyro sandwiches.In addition, inner city coney islands such as Lafayette Coney Island have a carnival-like atmosphere with waiters calling out orders and the ever popular "Coney Island Tricks" made famous by former Lafayette employee of 43 years, Demos Lembesis. Flint, Michiganmarker is known to have many Coney Island restaurants, both in the urban and surrounding areas. Their distinctive sauce is a dry chili as opposed to the wet chili popular in Detroit.

See also


  1. "Red or White," The Washington Post, May 24, 2006,
  2. Hot Dogs, History and Legends of Hot Dogs
  3. Ingredient list for various Koegel Foods products

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