Category: Beachhouse

An Unintentional Break


A more recent pic of the Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread, an image that’s also a little more appetizing than the other one. Someone’s said all that’s missing in this photo is topping the ground bologna with a fried egg. I’m thinking that’s good thinking.

I know. It’s been three months. Three entire months since that last post way back on June 13th.

It’s been a busy time, what with a new infant granddaughter in the house, all the city events here in Luna Pier over the summer, and cooking the Snack Shack line at the waterpark in Dundee. Over weekends and on some holidays there are a lot of orders to cook, a lot of food to put out the serving window, a lot of party pizzas, chicken tenders with beer-battered French fries, mozzarella sticks … all the good stuff to provide energy for people playing in the water for hours on end.


Detroiter Thornetta Davis performs as headliner of the day-long and first annual Luna Pier Bootleggers & Blues Festival, July 23, 2011. Next year the festival will be two days with more than the five acts that entertained the crowd of 2,000 this year.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that it’s once again very difficult to be creative for the blog after cooking at work all day.

There have been some starts in that time and certainly some advances. I’ve found creating pasta sauces is actually a whole lot easier than I thought, so a couple of those are in the works. And I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out how we might serve at the beach again next summer with the new beachhouse that’s going in not having a rentable kitchen space.

Had an interesting dream about that first image in this post. It seemed I was adding Panko breadcrumbs to the Ground Bologna Sandwich Spread, heating up some olive oil, and frying patties of the stuff in a pan like I would a good crab cake. I woke up fairly startled. I’ve had really good Fried Bologna Sandwiches before, not only in various homes but also in a barbecue joint called Baldy-Q’s in Swanton, Ohio, where the bologna was cut a good 1/2″ thick and fried in the pan slowly to heat it through. A Fried Ground Bologna Sandwich? On a grilled bun with provolone, with maybe lettuce and thick-sliced tomato? Yeah, that’s how these things get started sometimes …

So I’ll get working on some things. I really feel a need now to be creative in the kitchen again, especially with the food variety at work being now more-or-less a constant. I just need to go shopping and get some decent ingredients. Let’s see, would that be an onion roll or a kaiser roll …

Finally, here’s a pic of our beautiful granddaughter Allie, photographed by Ashlea Phenicie at Sundance Photography. Yeah, I’m a proud grandpa. ūüôā

The Haunting of the Beachhouse

The harrassment seems to be building. The thing is haunting me.

I was in the library. Off-handedly to someone else, but intentionally loud enough so I could hear it, the Luna Pier Librarian laughingly said, “Yeah I went down to the beachhouse to get one of those great Flint hot dogs the other day … and they were CLOSED.” [emphasis hers]

Of course it was CLOSED … Labor Day was months ago and since it’s a beachhouse it’s on the beach and on Labor Day the beaches in Michigan are¬†CLOSED for the season till next year.

Sheesh …

Lately a week doesn’t go by that someone doesn’t ask me if I’m going to run the beachhouse again for the summer of 2009. Frankly, that was my full-rime job from June 1 till Labor Day. I was there almost every day, and as I’ve mentioned before, the math indicates we made 72 five-quart batches, 90 gallons,¬†of¬†my version of¬†the Flint-style coney sauce. (That link takes you to the recipe. Go for it.)

People liked the darn things. One day a car pulled up in the parking lot and some hairy twenty-somethings got out. The one guy looked at our signs, threw his hands in the air and yelled, “I thought we were getting away from Flint!” They then bought some of our coneys. They’d had some originals at Angelo’s in Flint a couple days before, but told me mine were actually better.

That’s cool. They may have been drunk when they were at Angelo’s, but still, that’s cool.

So people ask, “Are you going to run the beachhouse again this summer?”

It’s haunting me, the ghosts inhabiting real people, all asking the same question, time and time again.

Ok, here’s the thing; I have a full-time day-job now. At the time Caleb and I ran the beachhouse last summer, I was unemployed. That place is a lot of work. I just won’t have time this year. It’s that simple.

Here are some other numbers people don’t know.

Rent for the beachhouse was $600 for each of the three months, with one month deposit. Health inspections were $95 every two weeks. Insurance was $140 up-front. Start-up costs for food were about $200 for ice creams, and $225 each for Sam’s and GFS.

There it is. Just to get started is about $2,100. Then there are the things needed on a regular basis. We spent between $400 and $600 each week on supplies.

It’s more expensive than it looks.

If I were to ever do it again, there’d have to be some drastic changes so I could actually make money. I’ll lay a few things out for you:

  • Prices: They’d have to be higher. The bottom line is that our bottom line was too low. We didn’t even make minimum wage ourselves. And while the teens might complain about higher prices, it’s an honest fact that I’m still hearing from adults involved in business that we were too inexpensive. A good $3 coney isn’t all that far-fetched.
  • Coneys: This is where I’ll bite a big bullet and say, I’d go with the Detroit-style coneys this summer. This Flintoid understands some things a little better now and knows that buying a pre-made Detroit coney sauce, which is available commercially, would be less expensive that our making the Flint sauce from scratch as we did last year. The Flint sauce is only made in Flint and isn’t sold anywhere, so that’s an issue.
  • Nachos: These wouldn’t change much, except for pricing.
  • Sandwiches: This would be an addition to the coneys and nachos we served last year.¬†I now find it odd we had all those side dishes and drinks and only two main items. These new sandwiches are¬†items people actually asked for after looking at our menu, starting their request with, “Don’t you have … ?” Panini sandwiches, like a good roast beef & cheddar, a toasted club, and maybe even a panini Reuben, would probably sell well and be worth the price of a small press.
  • Ice Creams & Pop: These wouldn’t change much either except, again, for pricing.
  • Live Bait: No change at all. This one went pretty well and Mike Kahman of Northland’s Pride bait up in Lapeer, Michigan, took good care of us.
  • Swim and beach novelties & supplies: We never really did get a good handle on this last year. We never found¬†a decent supplier, but then again I’m not sure we looked hard enough. This could be lucrative, especially if we were to get tanning lotions and that good Panama Jack sunburn gel in pouches.
  • Suppliers: Most of this went well but there would be two major changes. We would arrange for truck delivery from Independent Dairy for the ice creams (they come to town for two other locations anyway) and, believe it or not, the Koegel truck from Flint. The Koegel truck goes to GFS in Monroe and Toledo anyway so it’s in the area, and John Koegel made this suggestion to me last year when I asked him for our window sign. So Dave, that’s a D’oh! on your part. Besides the Koegel hot dog, this truck could also bring us most of the new¬†sandwich meats, and Koegel’s does make a Detroit chili sauce for sale to restaurants only.

Pretty simple really. There are a few other things but this is the meat of it. I do have everything needed except for the panini press.

What I don’t have … is the necessary start-up money and, much more importantly, the necessary time to run the beachhouse right.

That’s all there is to it.

‘The Coney Nazi’

I could easily become … ‘The Coney Nazi’.

Ali “Al” Yeganeh’s inspiration for¬†Larry Thomas’s¬†‘Soup Nazi’ on the 116th episode of Seinfeld was brutal. Ask the character for bread, and either pay for it, or …

… “No soup for you!!!” … and out you go.

I could easily do that with the Flint coneys I make each and every day for dozens of customers.

See, I make the sauce almost every morning, from scratch. I make sure they’re served on good buns … not expensive buns, just buns that won’t separate at the seam, won’t flake apart, and won’t collapse under a pile of warm sauce. I make sure the sauce is made from the right ingredients every time … and that the hot dogs underneath are indeed Koegel’s.

So it makes me kinda nuts when someone comes up to the window and starts with, “I’ll take a chili dog …”

Ummm … excuse me … but …

What did you say???

No. It’s¬†NOT a chili dog. A chili dog has flippin’ chili on it. This ain’t no chili. No, it’s not “beanless chili” either. Yeah, there’s chili powder in there, but it ain’t no chili. Does my menu say “Chili Dog”? What about the big sign out front on the lawn? Is “chili” spelled anywhere on it??

It says “Flint Coney“. So …

No dog for you!!!

How ’bout some mustard on that? Ketch-… what? Ketchup?? You wanna put ketchup on that? And relish … and … no onion???

Listen bub, a real Flint coney has mustard on it and chopped onion. No ketchup and certainly no relish! What’s that? Jalape√Īos? And nacho cheese?? On a Flint coney??

No dog for you!!!

I blame Packo’s. I like Packo’s, and eat there cuz their food is cool. I still blame them though.

I can do that … because … I am become …¬†The Coney Nazi.

Order it right. Otherwise, ya’ better watch yer buns.

Apologies to Seinfeld. Yeah, like he needs apologies or sumthin’ …

Eat This Blog: Luna Pier Dog House Nachos

Holy Flurking Schlidt. I haven’t posted in a week. I’m appalled.

I’ve had every intention of posting before this, but the Dog House down at the beach is taking up more time than I thought it would. We’re getting quite a decent amount of business It’s like making a film … lots of waiting, with bursts (sometimes constant bursts) of high energy when customers show up. On weekends when the weather is good it can be downright crazy there. Which is, of course, a good thing …

Above is the current version of our Dog House Nachos. The meat you see there is what is now the ubiquitous Flint-style Coney Sauce. I’m now making six pounds of the sauce every two days (tomorrow morning I’ll make another batch, having made a batch yesterday morning.) I seem to be getting darn good at it the more I “practice”. And¬†the sauce¬†gets great comments.

BTW, we went to the Monroe Street Grill in Monroe, Michigan for dinner this evening. Yes, there are photos! I’ll try to post them tomorrow. Oh right, our ice cream order¬†will be¬†ready at Independent Dairy. Let’s see, how’s that gonna work …