People are generally aware that Coney Island restaurants are mostly Greek in nature. But in Flint and Jackson they began with Macedonian immigrants, which partly explains the unique differences in styles. But at the same time, Coney Island restaurants share a food culture of large menus serving similarly-named and prepared dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s almost a stock menu between all of them, with minor variations due to family and cook preferences. There are omelets and skillets for breakfast, Greek salads and pitas, tuna salad sandwiches, spinach pie, hot ham, turkey or beef sandwiches, fish & chips, diner-style chef’s salads, and pies and cakes for dessert. But it’s certainly the coney dogs that make Michigan Coney Island restaurants unique. The Greeks developed a wet sauce made with beef heart and Hungarian spices in Detroit. Macedonian Simion P. Brayan developed his drier beef heart-based sauce in Flint a couple years later, and it’s a popular fixture at many restaurants. But before any of those, George Todoroff developed his own coney in Jackson, which then evolved into the Michigan Dog in upstate New York. Other authentic Michigan sauces are made and distributed throughout the state, and competition between fans of each can be fierce.
updated April 25, 2016