Friends, we need to have a little talk. Judging from some of your emails, many of you are Woefully Ignorant of one of the most important debates going on the world today. I refer to the fight between Flint-style coneys and Detroit-style coneys. Apparently there is a place claiming to be “Angelo’s” located in shiny Ann Arbor (a yuppie Detroit suburb with delusions of grandeur) selling some vile mockery of a coney dog. I’m here to tell you that this is WRONG. Coneys belong to Flint. Flint invented coneys. Specifically, coneys belong to a little place called Angelo’s.
CUE NOSTALGIC MUSIC
From the 1970’s on, Flint’s Angelo’s Coney Island restaurant was a meeting-place of cultures. On a given night you could see rich old women in furs, bikers, prostitutes, gang members, suburb punk rockers (the quasi-urban angst!), and the mayor eating side-by side in its red vinyl benches. The waitresses coughed a lot and if you were really nice, you might get a tobacco-stained smile. They were open 24 hours, every day except Christmas, until the health department made them close for an hour every night to clean. There were fights in the parking lot. You could get fries with gravy. The signs, menu and prices hadn’t changed for 30 years.
What was the attraction? The unchanging ambiance and the coneys. Ah, the coneys. A coney dog, dear reader who wasn’t fortunate enough to be born in Flint, is a Koegel’s hot dog (made with real innards!) with a dry spicy meat sauce, finely chopped raw onions, and mustard. Eat it. It’s good. Get two, you might as well.
There are two genres of Coney dogs: Flint-style and Detroit-style. Detroit-style is all runny and nasty, just a dog with chili on top. Flint-style on the other hand, is coney perfection. These days, the original ones can be found at Tom Z’s coney island downtown. Accept no substitutes.
When GM has a strike, Flint women cook up sauce in a crock pot, chop up onions, and deliver coneys to the picket line. Flint kids go to Angelo’s before prom, carefully lifting their ballgowns off the floor.
A few years ago, Angelo’s was sold. The new owners fired the coughing waitresses, dressed up the new ones in “Angelo’s” t-shirts, took down the old yellow menus, raised prices, franchised the place, changed the food, and generally fucked everything up.
Fortunately, the Angelo’s-shaped hole in the universe has ushered in a new era. During my last visit, I saw dozens of new coney places that had opened up. Flint coneys are everywhere now. I remain hopeful.
Thus endeth the tale of the Vastly Superior Flintstyle coney. Anybody has anything different to say about the quality of the Flinttown dog, then come on up here and say it. I’ll fight ya. Come on. You. Right now. Flint!
24 Replies to “Flintstyle”
I grew up on Yale St. in the southend, and I’d roam up to Gennesse Coney Island when the bars would close and shift change at the plants would happen. Their coneys were great also, as was Petko’s in what was the Yourkshire Plaza. Both places served fries and gravy also–the best “I’m shitfaced” food ever made! I moved up to Harbor Springs(land of the Stepford Wives!) in ’77, resigning myself to laife without Coneys, etc.
the ones sold here are’nt EVEN a pale imitation! But, the worstest “coney” I ever had was in Albany new York. this restaraunt called it “the Michigan Sandwich”. I asked the waitress what it was and she said a coney island. So, I ordeded it out of homesickness. Brace Yourselves: it was a “hot dog” w/1 slice of whitebread rolled around it and ketchup! it was almost as awful as the deep-fried hamburger I had in Scotland. never again will I order a “coney” anywhere else but Flint!————k.crane
When I was a young girl, I would walk several city blocks from Oklahoma Avenue down Franklin to Davison Road for one of those Angelo’s coneys (back in the 70s). I remember seeing the cook stirring the “sauce” when a large ash from his cigarette fell in! Oh, well…maybe that was part of the charm. Anyway, I moved away from Flint about a dozen years ago and have been back a few times (since the franchise bought Angelo’s out) and I haven’t had another Angelo’s coney since. Why do these idiots think that they could ever have improved upon perfection?
Recently visited Angelo’s-arranged 1 day layover on my return to Los Angeles from the East Coast.
The changes were noticeable and unfortunate. The place used to have an appealing filthiness to it. Now it’s just plain disgusting. And I visited at 7pm on a Saturday evening, and there was nary a car in the parking lot. Scary.
Most importantly, the food is worse. I contemplated whether I’ve changed, wondered whether my mid-40’s gullet may be outmatched by foods it used to easily destroy in my teens.
But no, it’s the food. The famous Angelo’s Coney is no more. The bun was stale, the coney sauce was oily, and the Koegels, well there was something ‘funny’ about them-cannot tell what, just a sort of mushiness that I didn’t remember.
I also noted that there are now several ‘franchise’ Angelo’s. Not sure about those locations, but my experience the original Angelo’s on Davison tells me that this institution has fundamentally changed for the worse.
I am sad.
I’m glad to find Fred’s post that the Amgeleo’s Conery Island on Bristol Road is closed.
I found that location listed on Angelo’s official website, but no phone number. When I called the Corporate office number listed, the woman said she didn’t have the phone number. But she wasn’t kind enough to just tell me it was closed.
When I search Google farther, I found this thread. Thanks Fred!
And Angelo’s can be sure that I will never visit any of their locatins.
After Angelo, and Tommy B sold Angelo’s the quality of eveything went down hill but there is a saving grace… Starlite Diner has “Original” Flint-style coneys. The same family recipe as Angelo’s once had. I encourage anyone who has not been to Starlite in the past 2 years to go. Best food in Flint!
As a former Burtonite, I can attest to the Flint coney. It kills Detroit’s- and the Ann Arbor one made me sick!!- and I’d dare say NY’s. I grew up in FL and when I visit Flint, the first and last thing I eat is a coney. I don’t have a favorite place, but they are all comparable. People in FL have no idea. I wish we had Flint coneys here.
ANGELO’S IS NOT GONE!!!! i was just there about 6 months ago, and the original one on Bristol Rd. is still there, still serving those great coney dogs. i live in Greenville,Mi, which is around the Grand Rapids area, but grew up in Flint, and still have to make the trip back there 3 or 4 times a year to get my coney “fix”. so don’t mourn people, Angelo’s is alive and well. and still yummy.
You have it dead on – from the perfect Flint-style coney to the sad demise of Angelos since it was sold. I am still looking for the perfect coney sauce recipie, one that will match their old sauce.
Wikipedia has fascinating entries on both ‘Coney Island restaurants’ and ‘coney dog.’ Flint content is included.
So, as the librarian says, look ’em up.
Hey, there is a place across the street form Angelos’s, called Capitol Coney Island and a place on Corunna Road by I-75 called Atlas Coney Island. Both seem like good places to get a Flint Coney.
I am a Flint native and have long espoused the tastiness of the local dry coney dog. I remember the “real” Angelo’s fondly, along with Halo Burgers and Vernor’s in their original incarnations. A plug as well for A2’s Fleetwood Diner — an equally ineffable eating experience.
Flint Coney’s are simply the best!!
I was saddened to hear that they sold and franchised out and now you can get an alleged “Angelo’s Coney” anywhere in Flint. It’s not just the coney but the atmosphere!!! It didn’t matter if it lunchtime or bar closing time. The coney’s were fresh and you had to plan to wait a minute or two to get into the door to get your order placed. As any Flint native I will always remember the original. Although for all of you Northern Michigan people go to Boyne City, MI there is a small greek restraunt called the Thick & Juicy(Waters St) It is the closest piece of home I can find anywhere in northern MI. The are true FLINT coney’s not the nasty chili dogs most ry to pass off as coney’s up here.
Flint coneys are simply the BEST!!! My wife & I lived on Arlington Ave. and would stop at Angelos after an evening motorcycle ride, this was in the early 80’s and Buick City (along with AC or Delphi or whatever they were calling it) was alive and well. There were nights you could hardly get in the door for all the runners from the shops picking up orders by the boxfull. I still remember the smell wafting thru the warm summer air at the corner of Davison & Franklin calling for you to stop in and have “two up and a fry”, the chocolate shakes weren’t too bad either.
For all that’s been said about Flint and the eastside I say it wasn’t as bad living there as it was to read about it.
Hello L A:
I really enjoyed your peice on Angelo’s. I ate there to day for the first time in about six years, and while still excellent, it is a shadow of its former self. First off, I was able to park close to the door at 11:35 AM, and there were only four tables occupied. The coney’s were still superb, but the hum and din and vibe of the 1979-1982 Angelo’s I ate at as a Buick employee were gone for parts unknown. I rememeber walking the few blocks from my flat on Franklin (downright scarey now, not simply time worn as back then) and eating breakfast the first week I moved in. Two eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast, and coffee were $2.39! On the third day the waitress saw me sit down and asked “The usual, Hon?” Then there was the time one of the waitresses was showing off her rock, given to her by one of her customers. Eating at the counter at least two of her pregnancies were observed. A chance circumstance resulted in an opportunity for lunch at Angelo’s in 2000, and there was the same waitress with the same big rock. It was really great to realise her oldest would be graduating high school, and happy endings do occur in this world, in the Rust Belt, and at Angelo’s.
I grew up on Illinois Ave. in Flint and my mom, dad and I would walk over to Angelo’s on Davison and Franklin on Saturday night and get Coneys. I was going to Homedale School and felt very grown up.My Dad loved the way the waitresses called out the orders to the kitchen and the cook hollered back. I am sad to hear that Angelo’s and Flint are not the same. It was a wonderful place to grow up in the thirties and forties. Keep fighting for a new Flint. Pat McFarlane Young.
Flint coneys are the ONLY coneys…there are no other coneys as far as I’m concerned! As a former Flintoid, I moved farther north, and when I go home to Flint for a visit I bring as many coneys back as I can. People are truly amazed and delighted when they bite into one for the first time. What passes for coneys around here (northern Michigan) is just plain nasty…they use canned bean sauce.
Now that Angelo’s on Bristol Road is gone, you can go over to Burger Street on Hill Road, and their coneys are just as good as Angelo’s…and make sure you order a Boston Cooler to go with it!
Hi Erica … I don’t know what to say! Back in 1986 my first wife and I lived on Franklin, so Angelo’s was close by. Now in Ann Arbor, no, the Angelo’s here is nothing like what I liked in Flint. I’m now developing a Michigan Cuisine web site at http://frogleg.mvps.org and went looking for Angelo’s page to link from the ‘Eateries Of Interest’ page. I found your sad news instead, meaning my wife of just over a year will never experience eating at that counter. However, on the Recipes page on the site I’m developing I’ve posted a recipe for an ‘Almost Flint-Style Coney Sauce’, which my lady really likes on grilled Koegel Viennas and restaurant-quality buns from GFS Marketplace. If I also make up a batch of the beer-batter onion rings from the same Recipes page, it’s quite a happy little meal.
forgot to mention … my mom has since moved to AA, aka the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor, which is a fabulous town all derision of loopy council members aside, and the Fleetwood is a must for us, raised as we were on the grunge and grease-slease of Angelo’s.
I’m tearing up just thinking about it. I will argue that the South cannot match the Midwest in terms of peasant food. Fried chicken and cathead biscuits with sausage gravy aficionados will hate me for this statement, but they can go order a coney and subside. And if that doesn’t work: PASTITIO, the meeting of the Mediterranean and the Midwest, via Texas spices.
You are awesome. But no one can eat 50 eggs; the television show “Jackass” has conclusively proven it.
Your entry led me to rhapsodize on the decline of Angelo’s in my own blog, conveniently located on that most crazed and plebian of blog sites: live journal.
Please, please, please tell me you remember Nancy, with the pictures of her pitbulls embalmed in pin-form on her blouse. She was the best Angelo’s waitress EVAR!
–lambiepod, located for your viewing pleasure at http://www.livejournal.come/users/lambiepod
PS. Check out the “You grew up in Flint when…” type link I have a few entries back. Gravy fries are mentioned. General Motors? Rust belt? Urban decay? Civic mismanagement? No to all –gravy fries are the essence of Flint.
The Angelo’s in Ann Arbor bears no relation to the Flint one—ours is a yuppy breakfast joint with lines halfway down the block during the school year.
Your Angelo’s sounds kinda like our Fleetwood Diner (see fleetwood-diner.com or the listings at Lunarama.). Well, culturally, anyway—you can get some damn good chili cheese fries, but no coney dogs I’m aware of.
Fleetwood don’t close to clean, they just ask you to move to the counter so they can mop under your table (or, if they don’t like you, they just mop around you).
Fleetwood’s up for sale currently, but the current owner says he’s looking specifically for a buyer who’s not going to change the place. . . .
Oh great Librarian Avenger how can something named after a part of New York City have its true home in Flint MI?
If you are ever in Rhode Island, go to Wein-o-rama in Cranston for “New York System” hot weiners. They sound like a very close cousin to the Flint coney, except we eat ’em with french fries (with vinegar on the fries, of course!). One simple rule: The cleaner, more upscale the joint, the worse the weiner.
It is with much sadness that I write to inform you that the Angelo’s Coney Island at, 2027 W Bristol Rd. has closed up shop. Many hams in the area at currently in morning in till we can find a new place to call our home.
Hey, I agree wholeheartedly…Flint coneys rule!!
(And the fries and gravy were absolutely divine…!)
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