Lafayette or American? This is a question that has sparked debates for decades.
In Detroit, there are a number of options to get a Coney Dog, that plump, juicy hot dog smothered in chili, topped with onions and mustardâ€”and ketchup if youâ€™re one of those people (itâ€™s okay; Iâ€™m one of those people). But the only real choice Coney fans have to make when deciding where to get their fix is between Lafayette or American Coney Islandâ€”two Coney Islands right next to each other on Lafayette Boulevard.
Letâ€™s set the record straight right now. Iâ€™m an American girl. Iâ€™ve never even been to Lafayetteâ€”so maybe thatâ€™s the only reason why Iâ€™m still on Team Americaâ€”but the allure of American Coney Island was too strong in comparison to Lafayette. Walking down the street, itâ€™s easy to see why.
American Coney Island is a sprawling, gaudy establishment. It dons a gigantic â€śAmerican Coney Islandâ€ť sign complete with a Coney dog bursting with red, white, and blue starry American pride (cue fireworks in the background). American is right on the corner, so itâ€™s got plenty of windows lining the wallsâ€”perfect for people-watching. Itâ€™s hard to even notice Lafayette if youâ€™re not looking for the narrow, no-nonsense building, whose gray exterior seems to say, â€śWeâ€™ve already given up; just go to American.â€ť
Of course, thatâ€™s probably not true at all. Lafayette fans will defend their restaurant till the day they die, arguing that Lafayette Coney Island doesnâ€™t need the garish displays of patriotism and fast foodâ€”the dogs are simply more delicious at Lafayette, and thatâ€™s all that matters. Of course, this is all hearsay. Itâ€™s also hearsay that the cooks arenâ€™t as polite at Lafayette, and that the menu is somewhat limited. But then again, if youâ€™re going to a Coney Island, how much do you need than Coney dog?
The funny thing is, both restaurants use the same type of hot dog. But the brothers (the restaurants were started by two different brothersâ€”can you believe it?) disagreed on the recipe for the chili, and thus, the Lafayette/American rivalry was born.
Like I said, Iâ€™ve only ever been to American, so I canâ€™t really say much on Lafayette other than itâ€™s almost deliberately uninviting. But really, just try a dog at both of them, and decide for yourselfâ€”Lafayette or American.