Books

updated October 19, 2014

“Two to Go: A Short History of Flint’s Coney Island Restaurants”, 2007, Genesee County Historical Society
So far the only real definitive work on the subject, this pamphlet was published as simple stapled pages similar to a magazine and made available in the retail store at the Sloan Museum. In late October 2012, Genesee County Historical Society President David White told us the Society only had a few copies left. The book is full of anecdotes from the heyday of the Flint Coney, such as Albert Koegel having onion chopping challenges with coney shop employees, and how the 1947 flood in downtown Flint affected the coney shops. There are maps with ownership histories, and on the back page are two good sauce recipes, one with ground hot dogs, the other with beef heart and cumin.
“Remembering Flint, Michigan: Stories from the Vehicle City”, by Gary Flinn, 2010, American Chronicles (History Press)
The author spends a few pages covering the chronology of some of the early restaurants on the history of the Flint Coney. He’s also included a variation of the recipe that includes ground hot dogs. and a plug for Gracie’s Famous Original Coney Island Sauce.
“Coney Detroit”, by Katherine Yung & Joe Grimm, 2012, Painted Turtle
While focusing most of the book on the wetter Detroit-style coneys, the authors devote a chapter each to the Flint- and Jackson-style coneys. There is a very brief history included, along with where Flint’s coney culture is today, and look at the Dedivanaj family, owners of the rather popular Mega Coney Island at Owen Rd. and US-23 in Fenton. No recipes are included.
“Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good”, by Kathleen Flinn, 2014, Viking Adult
A strong and fun collection of food stories that shaped the life of this popular food writer and author, she also perpetuates the popular myth of “My uncle … wheedled this sauce recipe from a Flint’s Original employee in the 1950s …”, subsequently including a variation of the popular but inaccurate (i.e., not the “original”) Flint sauce recipe that includes ground hot dogs.
“Pure Michigan: Eating Fresh and Local in the Great Lakes State” by Midwest Living Magazine, 2010, Meredith Books
Angelo’s is given a couple passing mentions in this seeming collection of information culled from the pages of Midwest Living magazine. The implication is that Angelo’s is the home/origin of the Flint-style coney, which is incorrect. While recipes such as Chef Alan Merhar’s Grilled Lamb Chops (Evans Street Station, Tecumseh) are amazing and worth a try, the information in the book is dated and sometimes inaccurate. (i.e., “Eve” in Ann Arbor closed a few years before the book was published, replaced with “Frita Batidos”.)
“Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture in America (Studies in Food and Gastronomy)” by Bruce Kraig and Patty Carroll, 2012, AltaMira Press
The Flint Coney is given a passing mention on a number of pages in this book, but is generally lumped in with the Jackson and/or Detroit varieties. No recipes are included.
“Hot Dog: A Global History (Edible)” by Bruce Kraig, 2009, Reaktion Books
This is a good, quick treatise on the history of the hot dog itself from a global perspective. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Flint style Coney the book ends up being just a little off-base. While getting the history of the Flint version fairly correct, the sauce recipe on page 117 is, in fact, the one recipe people should be avoiding. This recipe is probably one of those that was posted to the internet before the person who posted it even tried it, and people simply assume it’s right. It’s about as far from the original as it gets, with absolutely horrible flavor and texture.