There is very little about this city that I can complain about. It has almost everything I could want. Except two things. Steve Yzerman and coney dogs. But finally, FINALLY, I can mark one off my list (and god knows Stevie’s not going anywhere). Leo’s Coney Island is opening their first location in Chicago to the awe and i-never-thought-it-would-happen happiness of Detroit transplants all over Chicago. To be found at the corner of Southport and Cornelia off the Southport brown line el stop. It was noted that this isn’t the most ideal location. They could sell pounds and pounds more chili fries if they were in Wrigleyville or somewhere equally full of drunk Oakland County natives. But after some consideration I realized that I would actually take the brown line past Belmont for the first time ever if it means there is a coney dog waiting for me at the finish. Chili and onions and mustard and a baby greek salad to wash it all down. Oh sweet Lafayette I can almost taste it.
I would love to give a history of the coney dog relationship that all Detroiters have, but I don’t know much more than what my parents have told me about the downtown rivalry of American and Lafayette Coney Islands. Next door to each other on Lafayette Blvd but one could never stray from their loyalty to one or the other. (It seems odd that I’m finding a complete history of Coney Islands in Detroit in the Chicago Tribune, but read on). I think personally I see the tradition of competition among Coney Islands in Detroit lives on with the Leo’s/National rivalry raging in Oakland County. I am partial to Athen’s, since I grew up hanging out there in middle school scoping the cute bus boys (who now happens to be my boyfriend. Go figure.)
So now it only seems natural that as hundreds of Detroit Gen Yers move to Chicago after graduation, they want the familiarity of home around the corner. I know I was shocked and unnerved when I moved here to discover that there was no place in the city to get a Coney. But finally, our Motor City prayers have been answered. Thank you Leo.