Detroit-Style Coney Dog Pizza - Gastro Obscura
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Prepared Foods

Detroit-Style Coney Dog Pizza

A greasy crossroads of history and culture.

Everything about Detroit-style pizza is bigger. The most obvious distinction is the crust, thicker and crispier than any to be found in New York or Chicago. Then there’s the colossal kitchenware: Detroit-style pizzas are often baked in industrial trays first used to hold parts in factories. They are truly a Motor City munchie.

Naturally, these pizzas had to be even further enhanced. So Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, stepped in and began selling Detroit-style “Coney” pizzas in 2017 to mixed reactions. The Coney retains all the normal jumbo-ness of the Detroit pizza and expands on it, stacking hot dog slices, raw onions, and bursts of yellow mustard (truly the wow factor) atop what was basically already the uberpizza. The hot dogs not only add heft, but another dose of Detroit pride: chili-topped “Coney dogs” are a local specialty.

It’s easy to underestimate the Coney pizza, but a deeper dive unveils an impressive variety of culinary heritages at work. The new dish employs Italian cuisine filtered through an American lens, the German sausage tradition and, most surprisingly, Greek cooking. Greek immigrants in early 20th-century Detroit found there was good business to be done in hot dogs (and in branding the dogs, as well as the diners they were served in, with a reference to New York’s hot dog haven, Coney Island), and the thin chili many of them used was in fact a variation on a traditional Greek sauce. Where better to serve this cultural medley than at the ballpark?

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