I didn’t think it was possible, but I happened to have lunch with three people recently who had no clue that there were two different styles of Coney dogs. THREE. PEOPLE! In the state of Michigan there should be zero people who are unaware of this and so, in doing my part to educate the masses, I decided that I better do the entire restaurant review this month on a classic Coney Island restaurant. Of course, besides celebrating diversity in the form of varying Coney dogs, Sparty’s Coney Island in Lansing’s Frandor Shopping Center is also coming up on their 30th anniversary. Plus, sometimes in life it’s better to keep it simple. And what is more simple than the pleasure of enjoying some greasy diner food? So, back to my lunch date. The leadership team here at Capital Area Women’s LIfeStyle Magazine, upon receiving word of the 30th anniversary, decided to dine at Sparty’s. I immediately knew I would opt for the Flint Coney (I am from the Flint area after all). Since two of my lunch buddies hail from the Metro Detroit area I kind of assumed they’d get a Detroit Coney — that’s how it works, right? Wrong. Turns out I was the only one who eats Coney dogs styled after my hometown. In case you’re wondering a Flint Coney has lose meat and a Detroit Coney is topped with chili. Even after my lesson, my table couldn’t be persuaded and opted not to even order any type of Coney Dog. What is this world coming to? Of course, the truth is that’s totally fine because being the classic greasy spoon that it is, Sparty’s offers up a delicious assortment of choices. With classic breakfast items available all day long, one of my lunch buddies opted for three eggs over medium with bacon and hash browns with onions tossed in. Another went with a cheeseburger and fries and another with the Greek Gryo Deluxe and fries. I also had the fries. Do it, you won’t regret it. Not a place that messes around, Sparty’s also serves up a six egg omelet, which I’ve heard is served on a cookie sheet, because, well, it’s that big. Other options include hot cakes, a chicken sandwich, an open face steak sandwich, a few salads, homemade soups and more. Here’s where things get funny. Perhaps because my Coney lesson went on too long, when our food arrived — despite the fact that we knew we were going to feature Sparty’s in our magazine — we were all so hungry we began eating and pretty much finished before we realized we neglected to get a photo of any one of our meals. There are worse things, because what this really boiled down to is that we had to re-order my Flint Coney and instead of fries we opted for onion rings because rumor had it they are awesome. Rumor is true. Although we had all finished our meals, we tried the rings and loved them. The extra Flint Coney ended up as my hubby’s dinner — so win-win-win. The atmosphere at Sparty’s is what one would expect. Tucked away in the strip mall, the small diner has a mix of tables and booths and a breakfast bar. Perhaps best of all is that if you want, you can watch your food be prepared on the open-air grill right up in the front window. The walls are covered with a mix of Michigan State University memorabilia and posters featuring various beautiful scenes from around Greece. The service is fast and friendly and really what more can you ask more? It’s no wonder that Sparty’s is quickly approaching 30 years. The place is exactly what you want in a Coney Island. And in case I forgot to mention it, the Flint Coney was so, so, so delicious (Yes, it get three sos). Made with a Koegel hotdog, it tasted just like the many Coney dogs I have eaten and enjoyed right in Flint. If you haven’t tried Sparty’s yet, get there. And if you haven’t decided which side of the Flint/ Detroit Coney line you fall on, Sparty’s is the perfect place to find out. (Hint: Flint is the best!) Sparty’s Coney Island 300 N. Clippert St., Lansing (517) 332-0111
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.