The Detroit Dog Debate

Ask a person on the streets of Detroit which Coney Island has the best hot dog and most likely 1 of 2 names will be mentioned – Lafayette or American Coney Island.

American Coney Island opened in 1917 by two brothers.  Soon after the restaurant opened, the brothers got into an argument and split the restaurant into two parts — Lafayette and American Coney Islands, which are next door to each other!

The traditional Coney Island hot dog contains, a hot dog with chili, diced yellow onion, and yellow mustard.

Lafayette Coney Island

First stop, Lafayette Coney Island.  LCI reminded me of one of those old school joints.  It was small and dingy but no-one cares because the food is THAT good.

I didn’t know what to do when I first walked into this place.  Was I supposed to wait to be seated, take a seat and be waited on, or place my order at the counter and than take a seat.  We decided to go with the third option which was the wrong option, go figure:/  We were promptly told that we should take a seat and be served.

Once I got over the confusion of ordering and I cleaned off the table I was ready to dig into my dog:)

I ordered a Coney Island Dog minus the onions:

Lafayette has one mighty tasty dog!  The chili had a really nice flavor and the mustard was a perfect accompaniment.  I also like the hot dog itself.  I don’t enjoy hot dogs with casing on it and if it does have casing I don’t want it to be hard to chew.  I had no problems finishing the dog at Lafayette:)

American Coney Island

Next up, American Coney Island.  I felt more at ease when entering American.  The place was clean and the servers were very nice and helpful.  With that said, I must also mention that this place felt more like a tourist attraction.  It didn’t have the authentic feel of the place next door.

This dog looked really good but the casing was a little too much for my liking.

American offered a lot of side options.  I couldn’t resist when I saw they had chili cheese fries.

They managed to coat every single fry with the toppings.  Delicious!

After eating 2 dogs topped with chili and mustard AND some chili and cheese covered french fries, I needed a beverage.

Enter a big glass of Root Beer:


American had the best service and the chili cheese fries were really good.  However, this comparison was based on one thing, the Coney Island Dog.  Judging purely on the dogs I would have to say Lafayette was superior.  The chili had more flavor and the casing (or lack thereof) made the hot dog better than American.

So there you have it, my opinion on the great Detroit Coney Island debate;)


Have you ever had a Coney Island dog?


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