The dog-eat-dog turf of Detroit’s classic coneys
World-renowned chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Detroit, Michigan in the episode of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” which aired, Sunday, November 10, at 9 p.m. ET. with a live broadcast from Las Vegas immediately after.
Man cannot live on hot dogs alone – and in Detroit, he doesn’t have to. There’s always chili, onions and a few key elements that meld together to form the city’s signature coney: a specially selected hot dog that is grilled, put into a steamed bun, then covered by an all-meat beanless chili, two strips of yellow mustard and chopped sweet onions.
During Anthony Bourdain’s recent trip to Detroit for Parts Unknown, he sought the counsel of locals to find the whys and whereabouts of the best chili-topped tube steak, amidst hundreds of choices.
Bourdain tried his luck at Duly’s Place (a.k.a. Duly’s Coney Island, located at 5458 West Vernor Highway), which has been serving up coneys around the clock – to people in varying states of sobriety – since it opened in 1921.
“You tell people you’re going to Detroit, and chances are somebody from the home team is gonna say, ‘Be sure to get a Coney.’ I never really understood that, I mean I’m like 30 minutes from a place called Coney Island where presumably, they know something about freakin’ hot dogs, right? Maybe the early Greeks or Macedonians who first experienced that golden land by the shore then took what they saw with them to Florida, Michigan and beyond. Maybe they knew something.
They’ve been doing Coneys at Duly’s for over 90 years. That’s almost as long as the hot dog’s been around. And I can’t tell you how deep this creation runs here. Deep dish in Chicago, cheesesteak in Philadelphia, you’ll find some ambivalence. Not here.
It seems like a simple thing. Hot dog, chili, raw onion, mustard, steamed bun. But the delicate interplay between these ingredients when done right is symphonic.”
He ordered up a second dog and deemed this the best of his three coney experiences – but he didn’t stop there.
Bourdain also visited a pop-up barbecue joint called “Greedy Greg’s.”