The former owner of Lafayette Coney Island in downtown Detroit, George Keros, has died at age 87. Keros, who is credited with developing some of the coney dog restaurant’s most important recipes, died on Thursday, January 24 in a Chicago suburb, the Detroit Free Press first-reports.
The son of Lafayette founder Vasili “William” Keros and nephew to friendly chili dog rival American Coney Island’s founder Constantine “Gust” Keros, George Keros grew up in the hot dog business. He began working at his father’s restaurant as a child and was charged with managing the night shift at the 24-hour diner. Keros graduated from college and served in the Korean War, but eventually returned to take the helm of the business in 1970 after his father’s death. During that period he tinkered with the restaurant’s dishes and “developed the proprietary chili and hot dog recipes that would define the Lafayette Coney Island,” according to his obituary.
In addition to his work at the restaurant, Keros continued to pursue other projects including funding scientific research around the world and investing in films. After more than 20 years of operating Lafayette Coney Island, Keros passed the mantle of ownership on to a group of employees in 1991. They continue to run the restaurant with his signature recipes today.
Arrangements for a friends and family visitation have been made with Lynch & Sons Funeral Home in Clawson for 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, February 1 followed by a funeral service at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 2 at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bloomfield Hills. The family is requesting donations to Alternatives for Girls and Capuchin Soup Kitchen in honor of George Keros.