The thing about the Coney dog is that it’s probably the best-loved food in all of Detroit. Yeah, we have square pizza, pierogies, fried chicken, and barbecue that could put up a good fight, but when it comes to something uniquely Detroit, the Coney stands alone. What would Detroit be without the Coney dog? Oh, son, we’d be hot messes.
We’re not gonna tell the history of the Coney (its immigrant story and the faux rivalry between the brothers behind Lafayette and American is well-known at this point); instead, we’ve assembled a panel of experts on the subject to tell us exactly what it is that is required to make a proper Coney.
"A Detroit Coney is mustard, chili, and onions layered on top of a grilled hotdog in a steamed bun," says Richard Harlan, who co-owns Red Hots Coney Island in Highland Park, has been working in the business since he was 13 years old. "Mustard should always go under the chili. You want to taste the chili with the onions and mustard should only enhance the flavors." Clearly, the proper layering is not something to be taken lightly or altered. Banish all ye who put the mustard on top of the chili.