Detroit at 300: Birth
of an institution
August 21, 2000
Rare is the Detroiter
who hasn't heard the accented order yelled from waiter to a
cook 5 feet away: "Two-to-go-no-onions."
with coney dogs began with Gust Keros, who came to Detroit from
Greece in 1910. He swept floors at Kelsey-Hayes Co., pushed
a popcorn concession wagon around Belle Isle and ran a hat-cleaning
and shoe shine shop at the corner of Lafayette and Griswold
before opening the American Coney Island there in 1917.
Nickel coneys proved
popular and profitable, so Keros brought brother William over
from Greece. William Keros learned the business at the American
and, when the storefront next door became available, started
the Lafayette Coney Island.
In Quebec, a coney
island is called a hot dog Michigan, or simply a Michigan.