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Posted on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:22 a.m.

What's the best coney island in Washtenaw County?

By Staff

As part of a Michigan Coney Dog Project to coincide with the release of the new book "Coney Detroit,"—'s partner Michigan news site—is looking at the best coney-serving restaurants across the state.

Although Detroit proper is known as the world's coney capital, Washtenaw County offers plenty of solid choices, and many have their devoted patrons. So let's find out—what's the best coney in our area? Vote in the poll below and/or leave a comment, especially if we left your favorite off the list.

Note: The authors of "Coney Detroit" will come to town for an appearance at Nicola's Books on May 2 at 7 p.m.



Sat, Apr 21, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

I got here too late to vote, but I would have cast mine for Bills.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 5:36 a.m.

There is not a great or even a good coney dog in Washtenaw county. They are all poor imitations of a Detroit Coney (wet sauce) Everyone should take a drive and have a Jackson Coney or better yet drop in Flint Mi and have a coney at Angelo's. Flint style is so much better! (a bit drier and alot like the Jackson style)


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 7:01 a.m.

Bill's is good, but it isn't a coney island by any definition. I like both Uptown and Mark's Midtown best. The corned beef and swiss omelette at Uptown is right tasty.


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Bill's is a Coney. Not sure how *you* define Coney, though.


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

There is Nothing like Bill's and a mug of root beer on a hot summer day! There is a good reason they have been an Ypsi landmark for 50+ years! They do dogs and beer and do them right!

Lynn Liston

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

I voted for Uptown- great coneys and so is the rest of their menu . But- I would have voted for Bill's except it's really a chili dog, not a coney. And as long as we're discussing chili dogs, remember Kluck's A&W on Michigan Ave in Ypsi.

Top Cat

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

I voted for Bills but was surprised that A & W in Dexter was not on the list.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

Bill's is by far the best. The one thing I find appealing in a good coney is a steamed bun. A&W and Uptown both neglect this step. To dry and crumbling for my taste.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

The debate between Todoroff's and Detroit restaurants has been going on for 70+ years, and I don't think Wikipedia has resolved it to anyone but the Todoroff's satisfaction. Their chili is good but the dog is too small for the bun, the bun isn't steamed, and the onions should be chopped finer. But they're not in Washtenaw County anyway. The only thing I remember about Mark's Midtown is that the chili tastes like Hormel's from a #10 can. The only unique, consistent hot dog (chili or Coney) on that list is Bill's. Their chili is great and the dogs are made to their specification, by the same supplier in Detroit that they've been using for many years.

John G

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

Bill's is great the dogs are real good and the root beer is fantastic


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

Lafayette is King, and always will be. When I bring some Lafayette Coney's home from Downtown Detroit they are by the best coney in Washtenaw County. One other thing, if you are putting chili dog places on the list might as well put DQ and A&W on the list.

Frank Grzybek

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

Golden Egg on Washtenaw between Golfside and Hewitt. Reminds me of the old Coney row in Southwest Detroit on Michigan Ave, Georges, Senates, Tiger Town and Michigan. Great dogs every one. Great breakfasts and lunches as well.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Charlie's Country Squire which used to occupy that space was the best breakfast place in all of Michigan.

Ron Granger

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

Best Coney, by far, is Mr. Hot Dog in Bay City. Also, they are Vienna dogs.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

I had almost forgotten until recently that I discovered coney island dogs after I moved to this area over 25 years ago. I was delighted to find this ethnic specialty being served near Eastern Market in Detroit. According to Wikipedia, it was invented in Jackson, Michigan and is typical of SE Michigan. What brought me up on this was a report on NPR about the variety of hot dogs now fashionable in Los Angeles. They have Chicago dogs, New York dogs, (LA dogs reportedly with bacon, cheese and jalapenos) - and Detroit dogs. When questioned, the reviewer said Detroit dogs had chili, onions and mustard. Yes! I grew up in footlong chili dog territory (Oklahoma). Those were entirely different. The dog and bun were spread out on a plate and fairly liquid chili poured over, sloppy joe style. No onions or mustard. Tex-Mex style chili.

Andrew Jason Clock

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

I hate to point this out, since they are winning, but Bill's doesn't serve a coney dog, they serve a chili dog. Their chili, while utterly amazing, is nothing like coney sauce. You also left out Chicago Red's at Amer's on State Street. They also technically have a chili dog not a coney, but then so does their direct competition, Ray's Red Hots, who you included on the list. The former does serve Vienna Beef products, so at least I can get a "real" Chicago Dog, if not a "real" coney.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 5:40 a.m.

Mr, Needham...It is not a coney if they serve anything other than a Koegel vienna natural casing dog!


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

Andrew, head out to Hippo's in Troy at Rochester Road and Maple, they have the best Chicago Dogs in SE Michigan

Bob Needham

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Andrew, FWIW the "Coney Detroit" authors consider Bill's to be coneys: And although I've never had it, Ray's does call theirs a "coney dog"

Ron Granger

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4 p.m.

Ray's Red Hots no longer serves Vienna Beef Products. They're using something else. The man I spoke with cited unspecified problems with Vienna. But I continue to enjoy Vienna dogs elsewhere, so I'm not really sure what's up with that.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

This man knows his hot dogs! :)


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Haven't read the Coney dog book but according to Wikipedia, the Coney dog was invented by some guy in Jackson, Michigan named Todoroff. That's what I was told growing up on these hotdogs. My first memory of them as a little kid was as a Saturday night treat brought home in a re-used hotdog roll box containing a dozen Coneys. I still remember the aroma. If we want Coneys, we go to the Jackson Pizza Factory or to a place near the train station in Jackson, Michigan. Hard to pick a Washtenaw County favorite if we can skip to the next County over for a "heritage" Coney.( Might want to get a bottle of Ugly Dog in Chelsea on the return trip.) Thanks for the chance of a distracting trip down memory lane and my trite contribution in an otherwise weary A2.

Buck Wild

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

I, too, grew up on Jackson coneys, and don't care for the coney/chili dogs they serve around here. Although I haven't been there, I've heard good things about Tommy's Hot Dog Stand in Jackson, which is intermittently open in some dude's yard. I can't wait to try it out:


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

I wish I could eat coneys but that chili they put on there does not agree with me

Ron Granger

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

There are so many bad coneys in the area. So many made with canned chili. The traditional "Detroit recipe" is made with beef hearts and other fillers. Yum!


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

@a2citizen most traditional coney restaurants use "Coney Sauce" not chili. It's made with mainly beef hearts.


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 2:36 a.m.

Rod, what Detroit coney does not use canned chili?

Angry Sasquatch

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Mark's Midtown all the way! Specifically, I think their coney's are better than Detroit's supposed top two Coney Islands, American and National located downtown.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.


tastes like burning

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

I agree 100%


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.



Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

I can attest that I have eaten at all the places on the list and many many more Coney type places not on the list. (read breakfast places). Of all the places on the list Uptown is by far the best. Consistant service and food prep and dishes. They always have a good crowd, so I am not the only person that thinks as much. I eat there at least once a week. Many places mess up hashbrowns, I don't know how this is possible but Uptowns hashbrowns are consistantly made the same and the way I like them. Thier dinner dishes are also good and of course the coney dogs. They make good salads too. Their breakfasts are better than any of these (among others) Broken Egg, Village Kitchen, The Bomber. as for other places on the list: Abes -yuck Achilles- yuck Leos- passable not on list Cloverleaf: dreadful, avoid it, hair on my plate, dirty silverware and the place is in general dirty


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

Bunny & Adam, the article was about coneys. Not breakfast, not eggs, not bacon and not pancakes. A coney is a hot dog smothered in chili.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

I have eaten at Uptown on two occasions, and it was by far the worst breakfast I have ever had. The first time should have taught me a lesson, eggs were hardly cooked, same goes for the has browns. Bacon was soggy as can be. Second time, I tried to be safe and order pancakes.. Dry and horrible. I would vote for Marks as the best in the area.