So for all of you who ventured to Detroit for Netroots Nation, you may have noticed a plurality of hot dog joints. Or chili dog joints. Or perhaps the Coney Island dog. There was American Coney Island dogs, and just a few feet away Lafayette Coney. And all the hot dog and Coney island dogs along the way to either.
But why hot dogs in Detroit?
I'd like to explain a thing or two about why SPECIFICALLY you're going to find a lot of hot dog shops in manufacturing heavy communities...at least in Michigan.
For example...Muskegon has a number of hot dog joints, the most popular of which is G&L, which serves up the "amazing Greek chili dog".
Muskegon, like Detroit, is also rooted in a long industrial history.
Here's the thing about hot dog joints in Michigan. You sit, you order, BAM your food is there, you eat, you go. Hot dogs are fast to prepare and fast to eat.
Hot dogs...earlier known as simply "hots"...became common fare in manufacturing regions during the industrial boom when folks had very little time to eat.
In the 1940s, during World War II, the population of Muskegon EXPLODED as factories worked overtime for the war effort. Workers flooded into the region to the point where there wasn't enough housing and people were renting rooms in 8 hour shifts...just long enough to sleep (or whatever). In this environment, rapid food preparation became an essential part of what fueled the stomachs of the American worker. Enter the hot dog vendor...drop a sausage on a bun and slather it with chili sauce. Done. Eat...now go back to work.
I remember going to G&L with my dad as a kid. We'd sit down, order and 30 seconds later have our food.
I don't know if this explanation is 100% accurate....but that's what my Grandma who used to work at a button factory told me. And that's enough for me.