Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sig's Classic Coney Island

Flint expatriates seem determined to spread Coney Islands across the country, even Martinsburg, West Virginia:

"We grew up in Flint, Michigan (in what we believed was the center of the universe) during the 1950's and 60's. Scattered throughout our universe were a number of Greek restaurants (coney islands) serving a quality frankfurter, topped with a "special dry meat sauce" (brought to this country by Greek immigrants in the 1920's) and garnished with yellow mustard and sweet onions. We considered this the greatest hot dog known to man - the, so called, Flint Coney Island. Patrons from all spectrums of life sat side-by-side enjoying this delicious preparation, along with local soda "pops" such as Vernors and Squirt, and continue to do so in modern day Flint.

We both transferred to Martinsburg with our employer in 1969 and instantly fell in love with Martinsburg and it's people and now concede that center of the universe may not yet be decided. However, one fact remains constant in our memories. The Flint Coney Island is the best hot dog we've ever tasted. We have shared a common dream since 1969 . . . to bring the Flint Coney and some of our favorite soft drinks to our friends in the tri-state area to enjoy. And now, for your pleasure, we present SIG'S CLASSIC CONEY ISLAND LLC and in all its glory, our original FLINT CONEY ISLAND. In our common dream a voice reassures us to "serve them and . . . they come come".


  1. Old-time Flint punker Martha Manwaring owns Shorty's in Seattle. Pinball, beer, and for a short while Koegel's Coney Dogs. Yup. For a few years Martha offered both Flint and New York style coneys. Imagine a place thousands of miles from home where you could discuss both vienna casings and Dachau Club. Incredible. Unfortunately, lack of sales eventually forced her to offer Chicago style dogs instead of Flint coneys. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in Seattle go down to 2nd Avenue and take a look around. Shorty's rules.

    In other Flint Coney news, many of you may have heard the broadcast on NPR profiling our favorite local delicacy last year. Long story short, some lady in Wisconsin liked to cook assorted regional American cuisine. The recipe she chose for National Public Radio? You guessed it. Not only did listeners learn the intricacies of the recipe, she also provided some cultural context. Apparently the schism between the Flint and Detroit coney hinged on our cities unique ethnic landscape. Detroit's wet sauce was Greek in origin. Flint's dry sauce, Macedonian. Another interesting coney sauce fact: the sauce actually includes ground up Koegel. Does that make sense? Would you grind up pasta for your spaghetti sauce? Well anyhow, I was inspired. Altering the recipe, I may have created the first Flint-style vegan coney island. Scoff if you must you meat-eating creeps, but it was remarkably close to the original: tasty, soggy, AND cruelty free t'boot.

    P.S.- Oh yea, one more coney anecdote while I'm at it. Desperate for a job, I applied at Koegel sometime during 1994. The interview was dumbfounding. The secretary informed me the process would take 2 hours. First, I was grilled by an aggressive guy in a polyester suit sporting the sweetest comb over this side of Bristol Rd. Next, I filled out a VERY extensive series of forms, and finally was subjected to an incredibly intensive personality profile exam. All of this for a $4.75 meatpacking gig. Well, the personality profile was so over-the-top I quit halfway through… but not without pocketing the exam for further ridicule. Think about that next time you order "two up".

  2. Smurfs makes an important distinction: Detroit's wet sauce was Greek in origin. Flint's dry sauce, Macedonian.

    The Flint coney islands, starting with the Original, were (are) mostly owned by Macedonians, not Greeks.

  3. My father was one of the original owners of Angelo's Coney Island, corner of Franklin and Davison in Flint. He was Macedonian.

  4. my mother worked for phil kosman and i got to know most of the coney people when i was a kid.

  5. Hahaha, I love the anecdote about the guy in the polyester suit. I was born and raised in Flint, worked at a few coney islands and I am now in Seattle. I was recently informed of what I now know is "Shorty's" by a friend but I am bummed they aren't serving Flint coney's. My heart aches for a real koegel hot dog with dry sauce. AND dude, a vegan coney sounds absolutely disgusting, there's nothing wrong with eating your veggies but don't disgrace the legend with your tofulla-shit dog.

  6. I know this doesn't have anything to do with Coneys, really, but does anyone remember, back in the early to mid-70s, on N. Saginaw street, near the old Hamady store, then called "Foodtown", near Holbrook & N. Sag., there used to be a black lady who sold DELICIOUS tacos, at a small food stand, right on the street! They were SO Good! Think her name was "Aunt Susie". You would tell Aunt Susie what you wanted, how many, & she'd make them up, right on the spot for you!


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.