Detroit can boast about a true original — an American Coney Island franchise passed down over generations with over 100 years of history.

Photos courtesy of American Coney Island

How could he know that when bringing his brother here from Greece, he was planting the seed for someone who would one day become his biggest competitor?

Constantine “Gust” Keros had opened his American Coney Island in 1910 on Lafayette, Detroit … and a few years later sent for and brought his brother Bill to Detroit in 1917 from Greece to work with him at American Coney Island … Bill learned enough evidently to open his own place next door in 1925 and named it Lafayette Coney Island … Today, it is not owned by a Keros, having been bought by Ali-Hami who is said to have swayed from many of Bill’s original and former ways as taught by his brother Gust …and has also never had American’s secret recipes.

American Coney Island brother and sister duo
Brother and sister Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros

But there is one person with the family name carrying on the wonderful tradition and name that have placed it among America’s greatest and longest standing true Coney Island operations … She is Grace Keros, granddaughter of Gust, who, with her brother Chris Sotiropoulos, are co-owners of the wonderful American Coney Island restaurants here and in Las Vegas … A present bearer of the Keros name still a co-owner with her brother of the prestigious American Coney Island is indeed a tribute to its eminent distinction.

American Coney Island has its own secret family recipes along with owning its own chili company … Even the hot dog is different from others … a proprietary hot dog made exclusively for American Coney Island … which also uses a secret family recipe for its gyro sauce.

American Coney Island gyro

American Coney Island

The fact that American Coney Island continues to be among Detroit’s tastiest dining spots is alone a tribute in itself … Even the beef used has its own distinction … It is gently stirred in a large pot with a hush-hush ancient Greek spice … not flopped on a greasy grill … And, in so many cases, also delicious by itself on the hot dog bun … The loose burgers are among its best sellers along with the Greek salad, chili fries, gyros, Coney Island hot dogs, etc. … And its own rice pudding is made by American Coney on its own premises plus the special tzatziki sauce for gyros.

Having an American Coney Island within its midst is indeed a priceless pride … Detroit is justly proud to call it its very own.

CONSIDERED AMONG the finer Italian dining restaurants in this region, Mario’s on Second Boulevard, Detroit, owned by Vince Passalaqua, continues to gain popularity as it celebrates its 71st anniversary … It has not only carried on the fine Italian eatery traditions of its original owner, Mario Lelli, who used the money he got after his partnership separation from his cousin Nerio Lelli at their wonderful Lelli’s on Woodward, Detroit, but also added a multitude of excellent dishes of his own … Thanks to Frank Passalaqua and son Vince, Mario’s fine reputation has gotten even finer.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … Three men arrive in New York from Europe and decide to meet again in 20 years to see how they all made out in America.

After 20 years, the first says, “When I came to this country, I didn’t know how to make a living and looked at my last name, Goldstein, so I went into the gold business and made a fortune.”

The next man said, “Well, I looked at my name, Silverman, so I went into silver and also made a fortune.”

They both turned to the third man and asked what happened to him.

“I didn’t know how to make a living either and saw that my last name was Taylor and said that’s no good. I will never make a living as a tailor. So I went to the synagogue and prayed. ‘God, if you make me a wealthy man, I promise to make you my partner.’”

Both men ask, “So what happened?

“What, you never heard of Lord and Taylor?”

CONGRATS … To Brenda Saperstein on her birthday.

Danny’s email address is dannyraskin2132@gmail.com.

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