Continuing with my mini tour of trying out Detroit's independent slider establishments, things had led me the next day to the friendly peeps at Bates' Hamburgers. A quick reminder here that we are speaking of the original, friend-of-workingman's take of the term slider, and for a more detailed primer for this actual burger genre, please check out my previous post at Greene's Hamburgers. :)
Bates' has two locations and the one in Farmington Hills worked out great again for my purposes. A nice review of the Livonia branch can be found on Kaszeta's Offbeat Eats blog. As opposed to the other white pill-box style spots I'd visit, Bates' of Farmington had a much more familiar vibe where I could have easily mistaken it as one of the many casual Mexican or Greek burger joints here in Southern California.
At lunch hour and not much time to spare, my order was two cheeseburgers ($1.42 each) and a coney ($1.70). All came out in a few minutes. Yay.
The sliders were another winner here -- your compact conglomerate orbs of tasty griddled onions, moist beef, melty cheese and soft buns that I feel were hard to beat for the money (Telway which is up next was the cheapest but I'd fork up the few extra change for these). Char-on-the-onions wise I might have to give the upper hand to Greene's, but in any case a couple pickle coins and squirt of yellow mustard later, the two were down my belly Pac-Man style with little effort. These do tend to be deceivingly filling though, but I definitely had room for my Coney Dog.
I had done a quick post on a National Coney Island outlet at the Detroit Airport back in 2011, and there I mentioned trying to remember where I had my first many years ago. Thanks to a drive the previous night to the Royal Oak area for my friend's get-together, I realized that it was at the Athen's Coney Island! Phew, a nice feeling to finally put that thought to rest... :)
But anyway, the term "Coney" can also be confusing for some who haven't been accustomed to hearing it in reference to hot dogs. Here I'd again defer to my friend Kaszeta of Offbeat Eats who does a very great introduction, but in Michigan a Coney is an all-beef hot dog with beanless chili, topped with chopped raw onions and usually some yellow mustard which you see practically everywhere as you would taquerias in SD maybe.
[Bates' Coney Dog pre-mustardage.]
At Bates' the frank although all-beef was a skinless kind and lacked that snap, but with the smooth and meaty homemade chili was really hard to complain otherwise for the price. These definitely make you forget the artificial textured and overly salty mystery chili served on dogs from that famous large chain on this side of the coast. But anyway, I also noticed the onions were the same cut used for the burgers and felt it gave the meal an edge of pungent goodness for the better. Made for a nice photo too. ;)
Wednesday at Bates' btw is "Coney Day" where the price for these treats drops to $1.15. I can totally see myself helping with at least three. Three and a cheeseburger. :)
Bates' Hamburgers, 22291 Middlebelt Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48336