The Coney Island is arguably the one food that defines Michigan’s regional cuisine. Arguably, because we’re a huge state and depending on where you live, the Coney is either the ultimate in comfort food, or it’s just a chili dog.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the loyalty for the Michigan Coney runs deep. In fact, there are very strict guidelines over what defines a legitimate Coney. Most would say the dog must come in natural casing, giving the eater a pronounced snap when they bite into it, though we’ve found that some spots don’t do casing. If you’re in Detroit, the bean-less beef chili that tops the dog is on the runnier and more tomato side, like a sauce. Elsewhere in Flint or Jackson, you’ll find that the chili is much drier, resembling ground beef. Diced onions and yellow mustard are the gold standards for a classic Coney topping.

But travel to the west side of the state, in cities like Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon, and you’re bound to find some variations like shredded cheddar cheese, or toppings traditional to Chicago dogs, given their close proximity to the Windy City. Up North, well, we’ve heard from plenty of folks in the UP who say they just don’t do Coneys. Here, we introduce you to some classics, as well as some of those hybrids we mentioned. See for yourself.

One thing’s for certain: we’ll never look at the classic Coney the same again. It’s amazing to see how each differs from city to city. Tell us though, where’s your go-to Coney? Did it make the list? Or are there still some hidden gems out there that we need to investigate pronto?

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