We stopped at the Starlite Diner in Flint, Michigan on a road trip about half-way from Chicago to Niagara Falls. The Starlite Diner is known for its exceptional Flint style Coney Island sauce. While Coney Island sauce is a hamburger sauce wherever you get it, the Flint style is distinctive, as is the Starlite Diner.
Founded in 1966 by Alex Popoff and currently run by his son, Kosta, the Starlite Diner is known for having great food, including the best Coney Island hot dogs in the area. Kosta sat down with the Hot Dog Stories crew to give us a taste of what makes the Flint style Coney Island Sauce different from other regional Coney sauces.
Starlite Diner Coney Island Sauce
The Popoff’s, like most other “authentic” Coney Island hot dog joint owners, are of Greek descent. Their own spice profile differentiates Starlite’s sauce from others, but the Flint style Coney sauce is a distinctive “sub-style” in the Coney universe: it has ground beef AND ground beef hearts. This makes for what Kosta says is a drier, more crumbly, and less greasy sauce than Detroit style Coneys found in southern Michigan.
The Starlite Diner goes through about 150 pounds of Coney sauce per day and is constantly preparing fresh, hot sauce to put on their Koegel Franks. Quality and friendly service rule the day at the Starlite Diner. We were greeted warmly and the staff joked around with us the whole time we were their. This is a REAL, honest-to-God, down to earth diner!
Besides hot dogs, there are great burgers, wings, chicken sandwiches, and more. They also serve breakfast 24 hours a day.
If you want an authentic and exceptional Coney Island hot dog and your rolling down interstate 69 in central Michigan, hop off at exit 139 and head 3 blocks north on Center Road to the Starlite Diner. It’s iconic, American diner fare and service at its best (with prices that will make you think it’s STILL 1966), and the Coney Island hot dogs are to die for! Just make sure you tell them, “the Hotdogman sent me!”
Enjoy the video.