Carter’s Hamburgers – Dearborn, MI

Well, August 25 was a red letter day in burgerdom for me.   I had to be in Detroit on business and I knew I’d have a couple of hours, post-meeting, before I caught my plane.

On my way from the airport, I had to make a U-turn when I missed my turn due to a road closing.   While I’m sitting at the light waiting to get back on M-39, I see Carter’s Hamburgers out my window, on the access road.

Walking in, I see that they are open 24 hours, and I’m in luck because Thursday is $0.99 Coney Day!!

Talking with the waitress, which is an experience until itself, I find out that Carter’s has been open for forty-nine years and she’s been working there twenty-seven years, although they are not contiguous.  She has, by her own admission, “left a couple of times for greener pastures,” but she’s “always come back.”

So I order a double with cheese, fries and, since it is Thursday, a Coney Dog.

The burger was good, crisp edge with a moist bun.  The two things I noticed about Michigan burger joints:  they love Spanish onions (every place I went had grilled onions for the burgers and assumed you wanted them) and they’re Pepsi people.  The latter would ultimately lead to a problem for me, and one more reason to not live in a place where it gets that cold in the winter.

While the burger was fine, what was really surprising was the Coney Dog:

I asked the waitress what, exactly, makes it a “Coney Dog”.

“It’s the chili.”

What makes Coney chili different from regular chili? 

“Regular chili has beans.  Coney chili has no beans.”

After another three or four minutes of pulling answers out of Gabby Hayes, she divulges that the chili recipe is forty-nine years old, too.

The chili was really good.  Kind of like a yellow-jacket dog, or one from the Varsity.  Apparently, the key to a good chili dog IS “no beans”.

Carter's Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

One comment

  1. […] they had been named the best burgers in Michigan.  I felt obliged to take the challenge.  Like Carter’s before it, and Motz’s after it, it’s all about the […]

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