Mapping Detroit: Where do your Coney Island allegiances lie?

This is part of a series from the unofficial cartographer of Detroit, Alex B. Hill, a self-described “data nerd and anthropologist” who combines mapping, data, and analytics with storytelling and human experience. He is the founder of DETROITography and author of “Detroit in 50 Maps."
In 2009, I had lived in Detroit for all of six months when a visiting friend asked where I got my Coneys. I had no idea what he meant. Visiting from Boston, it turned out he knew more about Detroit tastes than I did. We ended up ordering at Nicky D’s on McNichols, but there was nowhere to sit, so it was a Coney to go.

The Coney Dog is a uniquely Detroit experience. The 2012 book "Coney Detroit" attributes the delicacy to Greek emigrants who likely passed through Ellis Island in New York (near the birthplace of the hot dog, Coney Island). 

In Detroit, there are so many opportunities to eat at a Coney Island restaurant or diner. There are large chains in the Southeast Michigan region, but the city is where to test your true Coney allegiance. There are some clusters, and notably Northwest Detroit is full of options. Detroit’s downtown is home to the Lafayette versus American rivalry, Northwest has Coney Islands right next to each other and includes Nicky D’s, while East of the State Fairgrounds sports a string of Coneys (mostly along Conant Street).

Like many Detroiters, as well as foodies like Anthony Bourdain, now I go to Duly’s over and over for their Detroit Coney Dog. I’ve never experienced the thrill that is Detroit One, and I pass by Grandy Coney Island on a near daily basis.

The vegan Coney was short-lived at Chili Mustard Onions in Brush Park and even Toney Island of Detroit rapper fame lasted less than two years. There is something about the classic coney that you just can’t mess with and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Where is your go-to?

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