clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Red Hots Coney Island Sets Its 100th Birthday Party — and Its Closing

The diner is ending a century in Highland Park with a bash, and all are welcome

Customers sit at a restaurant lunch counter while a man stands in front, facing them
Red Hots Coney Island will hold an anniversary party on June 26.
Gerard + Belevender

Red Hots Coney Island, the venerable diner serving coney dogs in Highland Park, is celebrating its 100th birthday on June 26. Then, a few weeks later, the restaurant will close.

Richard and Carol Harlans, who inherited the diner from an uncle of Richard’s around 1985, are calling it quits, Deadline Detroit first reported.

Red Hots has long been a coney institution in the city, surviving the Great Depression, the Great Recession, the 1967 unrest, and a pandemic. But “now I can’t get no help,” Richard, 67, told Deadline Detroit. Carol has worked alongside Richard, dishing out coneys, sliders, chili fries, and loose burgers for 20 years. Now, they’re retiring.

Red Hots uses its own recipe for chili to make its coneys, widely seen as some of the best around. The owners’ daughter, Christina Coden, who joined the company around 1998, will shop the family’s refrigerated chili sauce to local grocers.

Not much changed over the years at the diner, until 2015, when it received a major renovation, thanks to the Food Network show American Diner Revival. Still, customers kept returning.

The worn exterior sign at Red Hots Coney Island in Highland Park on a sunny.
Red Hots underwent a renovation in 2015 for Food Network’s American Diner Revival.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

The restaurant isn’t listed with a real estate agent, but Richard’s taking offers.

The 100th-anniversary celebration is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 26 at 12 Victor St. Ten bucks will get you coneys, chips, and pop or water. For $20, they’ll throw in an anniversary t-shirt. In the meantime, the restaurant is looking for customers to share memories with a videographer.

“We’ve got people coming in from Florida, California, and other states … it’s for all the old-timers to come in and kibbutz about the old days.” Richard told the Detroit News.

Victor Red Hot's Coney Island

12 Victor St, Highland Park, MI 48203 313-868-0766

Red Hots Coney Island

12 Victor Street, , MI 48203 (313) 868-0766 Visit Website