There Can Be Only One

Ok, the date was April 3rd, 2010. Two friends venture to Detroit, MI for one purpose – to settle the long-standing battle between two coney island greats: "Lafayette" and "American" coney islands. These restaurants are located on Lafayette right down town and stand LITERALLY right next to each other. In D-town, there are Lafayette fans, and American fans but no one can be both. So, we hoped into my truck and drove the two hours to finally make a ruling. This trip was inspired after seeing Adam Richmond on the Travel Channel stop here – and couldn't get a definitive answer. The rules: Get the exact same order at each place to make sure it was fair comparison. We agreed on one dog, with the works (mustard, onions) and small fries. So, we pulled up and parked. Walked across the street still trying to decide which one we were going to try first when the owner of Lafayette whistled at us and waved us in (telling us we had no business going next door as well!). He sat us right down and took the order. Lafayette isn't a place to come for nice fixings or shiny walls. This is a classic hot dog joint, no bones about it, just good/great food. Within seconds, we had our plates and drinks in front of us. The first thing I notices was the dark coney sauce was going to be a mess, but a fun mess! My first bite, I was shocked by the quality greek spices in the meat! It really gives it a good kick. Nothing terribly distinguishable about the mustard, the onions were fresh and chopped well. The bun seemed a bit frail to try to contain the goodness within.

After, we got up and walked next door. American goes the other way with decor. It's shiny, resembling a trendy 50's diner (which immediately turns me off, give me the blue-collar, real food fanatics). We are greeted by the nice staff and order the exact same thing. Just as quick, our meal appears in front of us. Notable stand outs: 1. The hot dog – I liked but Jim preferred the dog at Lafayette since American uses Kogal viennas and he doesn't like the crispness, I do  2. The bun – we both agreed the bun at American was superior, more sturdy than our buns next door. 3. The onions – both offered fresh onions, but the onions at American were chopped a bit less so you get that bigger bite from the onions. However, neither of us preferred the sauce over Lafayette, and the mustard was a stalemate.

So, if we have to choose a winner. We choose Lafayette. It's just a better overall taste. We asked ourselves if we'd drive down again for one of them, and honestly, I would for a Lafayette dog.

There you go. In the battle of the famous two coney dogs of detroit: The Winner if Lafayette!!!

Go try for yourseflf. You'll end up with great food and a small way to support our struggling city.


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