If there’s anyone in America qualified to chime in over which of Detroit’s two iconic coneys does them best — American or Lafayette — it’s Joey Chestnut, the legendary competitive eater known to have scarfed down 76 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs in just 10 minutes.
The verdict, according to Chestnut — who sampled a handful of iconic Detroit delicacies at the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in New Center on Tuesday — was close, as both offerings proved to be strong contenders.
“Hmm, they both have really good snaps... It’s delicious. Mustard, onion ratio — perfect,” says the professional eater before it’s revealed a that he’s selected Lafayette as his favorite.
The taste testing led up to Tuesday night’s Detroit Pistons game versus Miami at Little Caesars Arena, where the world-record holder and two lucky fans joined in during the third quarter to eat 11 coney dogs (he led the trio, finishing seven chili-laden coneys in just just 60 seconds, while his helpers polished off the other four). The Pistons may have lost 118-105, but for every coney dog devoured by Chestnut and team, global firm Lineage Logistics donated $1,000 to Forgotten Harvest to help combat food insecurity.
In all, the trio raised $11,000, not bad for Chestnut, who’s not accustomed to toppings on his hot dogs during competition. Lineage Logistics rounded up the total donation to $25,000.
Prior to the challenge, Chestnut sampled a lineup of the legendary Detroit food staples for team cameras at the Pistons Performance Center, sampling coney dogs from downtown stalwarts American and Lafayette, Buddy’s Pizza, as well as sips of Faygo and Vernor’s, Better Made chips, and Sander’s Bumpy Cake for dessert.
Chestnut says he prefers Detroit-style pizza over Chicago deep dish, Faygo Rock N’ Rye over Red Pop or Vernor’s, and barbecue Better Made chips to the original.
According to the Major League Eating website, Chestnut is considered the greatest eater in history. Prior to the game, the 15-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion wowed Pistons players when he downed 38 chicken wings in just three minutes.