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October 29, 1993 - Image 82

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4

The Greasy-Spoon Image
Has Been Buried By National

One of metropolitan Detroit's Most
Beautiful and Exciting Restaurants

Wonderfully Prepared Catering
in Your Home, Office or at Our Restaurant

28875 Franklin Rd. at Northwestern & 12 mile
Southfield
358-3355

a

Plan The Perfect
Party!

* All-you-can-eat pizza and salad packages for

groups of 15-100
* In Buddy's party room.
* Carry-out service for your office party.

* Call for reservations today!

FARMINGTON HILLS • 554604
Northwestern Hwy. (W. of Middlebelt)

WATERFORD • 683-3636
Highland Road (M-59) at Pontiac Lake Rd.

ROYAL OAK • 549-8000
Woodward, 6 blocks N. 13 Mile Rd.

of

BIRMINGHAM • 645-0300
Maple Rd. & LaMar

, Is --------- _ ---------------------------------------------------------
00 Off' Any Large Pizza

or Antipasto Salad
Dine In or Carry-Out
l Expires U-4-93
, JI, --------------------------------------------------------------------
'

$LNG KO K

HUNG CAFE Of
SZECHUAN GARDEN

Northwest Detroit's Newest Tai Restaurant
Served As You Like It!

■ Mild

ME NM

CARRY-OUT and
CATERING AVAILABLE

■ Medium

■ Spicy

5% OFF

ANY DINNER AFTER 3 p.m.

With Coupon
• Only 1 Coupon Necessary Per Table
• Exp. 10-31-93
IN

Mon.-Thur. 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 3:30-10p.m.

29528 NORTHWESTERN HWY., IN SUNSET STRIP
Just N. of 12 Mile

356-0032

istemog Poi

DANNY DAMN LOCAL COLUMNIST

W

holesome, honest-to-
small $1.95, large $3.60) came
goodness coney island
about when one of the cooks
operations with men-
made himself the sandwich
us that could be the
. . . In no time, so many cus-
envy of many other type dining
tomers were asking for the
spots are very much in the mi-
Hani Special that on to the bill
nority.
of fare it went . . . In the restau-
Too many of them never
rant business this is called tak-
seem to progress any further af-
ing advantage of progressive
ter starting with the basic hot
awareness, to say nothing of
dog, chili, hamburger and a few
customer request fulfillment.
other items . . . remaining just
All the National Coney Is-
another coney island in a sea of
land operations have colorful in-
multitudinous.
terior neon tubing, a lot of
This might have been okay
windows, open kitchens and im-
years back when a really good
maculate appearances . . .
coney island didn't need any-
Health departments of the
thing else, but such restaurants
varous counties which contain
set food foundations . . . How-
National Coney Islands give
ever, times have changed .. .
them scores in the 90s.
and so have the diversified
Jim's father, Tom Giftos, is
tastes of people who now de-
101 years old ... The native of
mand more from
these types of
spots.
National
Coney Island, for
example, has be-
come much more
full-service ori-
ented . . . with a
menu that is var-
ied enough to in-
clude the entire
family without
restricting their
taste selections.
When Jim
Giftos opened the
first location in
1965, at the Ma-
comb Mall in Ro-
seville, the only
things served Jim Giftos, Tom G iftos and Tom Giftos Jr.
were coneys, chili, hamburgers,
Greece served in the U.S. Army
potato chips and pop.
during World War One . . . He
It was a little place, too, with
used to work at the original
about 50 seats that also in-
Lafayette Coney Island on
cluded a 15-stool counter.
Lafayette in downtown Detroit
Today, National Coney Is-
. . . and was regarded at that
land has 11 units and the
time as one of the finest grill
biggest, on Van Dyke in War-
men around . . . On Friday
ren, seats over 300, has an out-
nights at Lafayette, which is
door patio, and a 99-seat tavern
still in existence, Tom ran the
serving liquor, beer and wine.
grill by himself, and those who
Here is a full-service coney
remember can attest that this
island operation ... and a good
was no small chore keeping up
one, too ... with a menu that in-
with the rapid order-bellowing
cludes cheese sticks, three
of waiters.
homemade soups, nine salads,
Lafayette was one of our
almost every kind of coney is-
city's busiest and tastiest din-
land hot dog you can imagine
ing spots . . . a gleaming stain-
(even a coney taco!), seven en-
less-steel-and-tile restaurant
trees, 22 sandwiches, Mexican
with the improbable dimensions
dishes, 14 desserts, 14 bever-
of approximately 20 by 30 feet
ages and all sorts of breakfasts
and a seating capacity around
served at any time.
24.
One of its big sandwich fa-
Although its menu was very
vorites, the Hani Special (chick-
short, Lafayette had a national
en tenderloins topped with
reputation . . . customers rub-
Swiss and American cheese and
bing elbows with the likes of
served on grilled pita, with let-
Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr.,
tuce, tomato and mayonnaise,
show biz people and assorted

athletes, millionaires, paupers,
etc.
The bill of fare listed ham-
burgers, hot dogs, chili as en-
trees and pie and beverages
. . . It was in combining the
coney ingredients as entrees
that the gourmet or gourmand
got his or her greatest thrill.
The hamburgers at Lafayette
were not hammered into a patty
and flopped on a greasy grill
... Ground beef was gently
stirred by Tom and others in
loose form in a great pot with
secret Grecian spices until
cooked into thousands of
crumbly little pieces of deli-
ciousness.
This was spooned out with a
wooden spoon onto a hot dog
bun and served to a drooling
customer . . .
The same
process was
followed when
dealing with
hot dogs . . .
Like at Na-
tional, they
were grilled
until golden
and succulent,
topped with
the chili and
served to the
customer as
tasty little dev-
ils.
Every time
another Na-
tional Coney
Island restau-
rant is opened,
Tom comes in and makes the
first coney like he used to at
Lafayette Coney Island . .
From this wonderful experience
has grown a very fine chain.
It is a three-generation-in-
volved operation . . . Tom Giftos,
son Jim Giftos, and grandson
Tom Giftos Jr.
All National Coney Islands
are family-owned . . . there are
no franchises . . . And every one
has a counter so they won't ever
forget the former days ... Most
have 15 stools . . . The one on
Van Dyke has 10 . . . Some are
also 24-hour operations like
Lafayette used to be for people
from varied walks of life to come
at all hours six days a week
(Lafayette was closed on Tues-
days, if memory serves me cor-
rectly.)
Many people are looking for-
ward to a National menu item
that is sure to become an in-
stant favorite . . . a turkey coney
island hot dog.
Its rice pudding is thick and

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