We argue about the perfect toppings, and we can’t agree on whether or not it’s a sandwich, but there’s one thing we know for sure: Detroit prepares hot dogs like no other city in the world. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic hot dog or something unique, you know you’ll find the perfect meal when you plan a visit to one of these best hot dog places in the metro Detroit area.
American Coney Island opened in downtown Detroit in 1917, making it one of the oldest, if not the oldest, businesses in the city. Since its opening, this family-owned restaurant has been doing the one thing it knows best, serving up some of the best hot dogs in the area. While the menu at American Coney Island might be simple, the hot dogs are unforgettable. The restaurant serves its own version of the Detroit Coney dog. This includes specially seasoned casings for its natural hot dogs and a chili sauce made from a secret family recipe.
Of course, American Coney Island doesn’t just serve hot dogs. Other popular menu items are a gyro sandwich topped with a special tzatziki sauce, chili cheese fries, taco salad, wings, grilled chicken pita, and baklava for dessert. Best of all, it doesn’t matter what time of day you have a craving for a hot dog because American Coney Island is open 24 hours a day.
Housed in a former garage and displaying relics of classic car culture on the walls, Vinsetta Garage in Berkley has that classic diner feel. It also serves a delicious hot dog you’ll want to come back for again and again. The restaurant’s 3 A.M. Dog is a beef dog topped with house-made bacon jam, Sriracha mayo, spicy fried onions, chives, and a sunny-side-up cage-free fried egg. If you’re dining with kids, they can also order The Dog on the children’s menu. This meal has a traditional hot dog served with house-made chips.
If you managed to save room after enjoying your hot dog, top off your meal with a sweet treat. A few of the signature desserts at Vinsetta Garage are the Brownie Pot Pie, which is a bittersweet chocolate brownie and milk chocolate ganache in a cinnamon pie crust topped with a salted caramel drizzle and house-made vanilla ice cream, as well as the Black Forest Fried Pie, which is a made-from-scratch chocolate cheesecake stuffed with Michigan cherries and topped with chocolate sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If you’re in the mood to try something unique, head to Atomic Dawg, which is located just outside of Southfield in Berkley. This hot dog spot started as a food truck. Now it’s a retro-style counter-serve joint known for its delicious all-beef hot dogs with distinct toppings. One popular option is The “D,” which is topped with Al’s Famous Chili, chopped onion, and mustard. If you order the Chicago, you’ll get a hot dog topped with onions, mustard, peppers, relish, celery salt, and a pickle.
If you like your hot dogs to have a spicy kick, order the Swanky Franky. This grilled dog is wrapped in bourbon-smoked bacon and topped with jalapeno cheddar. Another great option is the Italian sausage, which comes with sweet onions and peppers. Or you can go for something savory and order the Hula, which includes teriyaki sauce, grilled onions, grilled pineapple, lettuce, and Japanese cherry mayonnaise.
Although many people go to Mercury Burger & Bar to enjoy its hand-pressed burgers, this upbeat grill in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit also serves some outstanding hot dogs. If you’re interested in having something simple, the Plain hot dog comes with your choice of an all-beef or natural casing dog with nothing on top. If you choose the N.Y., N.Y. dog, you’ll enjoy your choice of hot dog topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, and spicy mustard. The Chicago is an all-beef hot dog that comes with tomatoes, relish, peppers, onions, celery salt, and a pickle.
Another excellent option is the Murty-Bird, which is an Aidells chicken apple sausage topped with caramelized onions and Dijon mustard. Or you can go with the classic and get the Detroit with its quarter-pound natural casing hot dog topped with chili, cheese, and chopped onion. Plus, don’t forget to save room for one of the restaurant’s specialty shakes. The S’more is a decadent option that comes with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, and a scorched marshmallow on top. You can also make it an adult shake by ordering the Southern S’more, which includes Bulleit Bourbon.
Chili Mustard Onions proves that hot dogs aren’t just for meat-eaters anymore. This plant-based eatery near the heart of downtown Detroit serves what looks like your traditional Coney dog, but it isn’t. Founder Peter LaCombe grew up enjoying the traditional Detroit dog with its Coney chili. When he went vegan, he decided to recreate the taste from memory. Today, you can order the CMO Coney Dog and enjoy a Smart Dog topped with house-made vegetarian chili, onions, and mustard.
You can also add house-made vegan cheese sauce or get your dog served on a gluten-free bun. Each bite tastes exactly like a classic Coney, except without any meat! In addition to the CMO Coney Dog, Chili Mustard Onions also serves the Big Mock, which is a specially-seasoned Beyond patty topped with lettuce, onions, pickles, vegan cheese, and a house-made special sauce.
Other popular options are the gyro made with seasoned seitan and a house-made tzatziki sauce, the Beetball Sub made with beet-based meatballs, and a Chickun Parmesan Sub that has a deep-fried Quorn cutlet topped with house-made marinara sauce and vegan cheese.
When those of us at Goodman Acker are in the mood for a fantastic hot dog, these are the spots around Detroit where we like to go. What do you like to order when you visit these best hot dog places? Please be sure to contact us and let us know so we can try something new!
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