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Detroit Coney Islands: Wars & Feuds

The Detroit Coney Island wars are heating up and it seems everyone wants in on the action. In the last two weeks two networks have been in town filming at Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island.

I was already bummed I missed the taping for the Travel Channel's “Food Wars.” Then I got a message about another filming for “Food Feud,” which will air on Food Network, starring Iron Chef and Roast proprietor Michael Symon. Sadly, I was busy on Friday and wasn’t going to be able to make that taping either. Double bummer.

And then fate stepped in. On Thursday my husband and I went to Roast for their amazing Cocktail Hour menu. Michael Symon was there doing a photo shoot and some video. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

Symon got behind the bar and asked if anyone in the crowd didn’t want to be filmed. He then told us that in about 15 minutes coney dogs from American and Lafayette Coney Islands would be delivered and we were all going to do a blind taste test. On film.

We had just cashed out after stuffing our faces with Roasts’ awesome burger, mac n’ cheese, fries, and stuffed peppers. But who can say no to free coney’s? We ordered another beer and made ourselves comfortable.

Once the dogs arrived, one of each was given to everyone. The dogs simply had a red or blue toothpick stuck on them to denote which establishment they came from. Symon went around with the camera crew and filmed each patron eating his or her coney. He asked if you were loyal to either American or Lafayette and then you blindly picked the better coney.

Unfortunately, when it was our turn to be filmed a few hipsters slid in front of us and took away our limelight. The husband & I both choose blue. The blue dogs were from Lafayette Coney Island. As an avid supporter of Lafayette I would have been beyond embarrassed if I picked the wrong dog.

At the end Symon declared that only two people (that were filmed) choose the coney establishment that they are loyal to and maybe we should all think twice about blindly or emotionally following either brand.

Michael Symon was charming and engaging. After meeting him, I’m now an even bigger fan of Roast, if that’s possible. I can’t wait to tune into “Food Feud” and see the Detroit Coney Island Wars when it airs.

By the way, there is a Roast Coney Dog on the bar menu with pulled pork, jalapeños, and cheddar. At $9, it’s a bit more expensive than American or Lafayette. I haven’t tried it yet but will do so on my next visit.

Here’s a sneak peek of some footage I shot on my iPhone. Strangely, I had my fancy camera that shoots great video and my flip with me but the iPhone wasn’t as obtrusive.

Yep, that was my husbands voice with the British accent asking Michael Symon about his version of the coney dog.

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Reader Comments (10)

Thought I heard that Man V Food was there recently too?

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkensingt0n

Yes, Man v Food was there back in the fall. I talked about it here.

March 20, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Well-done, Becks.

I bow in respect to a true multimedia reporter who evidently never leaves home without "my fancy camera that shoots great video and my flip." Can't foretell when fate steps in, right?

Also suggest you consider making this a signature line, suitable for a walk-on cameo in other posts:
We ordered another beer and made ourselves comfortable.

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Stamm

Thanks Alan!
Yep, at any given time I have 3 ways to shoot video & 2 ways to shoot pictures! Just wish I didn't use the iPhone on this occasion.

I'll see what I can do about making that my tag line. I think I could fit it in on many of my posts. Hmm, is that a good thing or a bad thing? ;-)

March 20, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I had fond memories of Layafette & American coney islands. My husband and I met at ADT in the late 70's who's accounting office was across the street. We would often pick up some dogs and head to Kennedy Square and eat them among the pigeons! Romantic, yes?

As a side note, here's a question I have for you: How do you stay so slim??!!

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Hey Becks! As a new guy in town, and completely unfamiliar with the whole Coney Island phenom (previously only an amusement park in my mind), I had to go to both establishments myself. Not only am I firmly an American Coney man - I have become a convert to the Coney craving.

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterselfmademax

That IS romantic!

As far as your question goes I don't really have an answer. Beer, maybe? Yeah, I think it's the beer. ;-)

Self Made Max,
I think it's awesome that you tried both! I may be a Lafayette gal but I encourage people to make up their own minds on the subject. I love that you are exploring all the great things Detroit has to offer, thanks for stopping by.

March 20, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

That is totally awesome! I didn't have time to watch the video, will have to check it out later. I love Roast,Chris and I had a great anniversary dinner there two years ago.

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSchmee

Thanks! Come back and watch the video, it's the best part. ;-)

Two years ago? You must get back again soon! I highly recommend their Cocktail Hour menu for a cheap date. Roast is also participating in Detroit Restaurant Week which is April 16-25th.

March 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I miss coneys sooooo much! I love Detroit so much, even though I no longer live there, Detroit goes with me wherever I roam!

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarry

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