A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 06, 2009
Loose Hamburger (Loose Burger; Loose Coney; Coney Hamburger; Coney Island Hamburger)

Entry in progress—B.P.

A Coney Island is a type of Greek restaurant popular in the Northern United States, particularly in Detroit, Michigan, as well as the name for the chili dog after which the restaurant was named.

Genealogy of the name
Coney Islands are a unique type of Greek restaurant that originated in Detroit. Several restaurants claim to have invented the name and concept. Claimants include American Coney Island in downtown Detroit, established by Greek immigrant Gust Keros in 1917, with the then-owner contending that he had bought a similarly configured chili dog at the well known New York park. The first Coney Islands were started by Keros and his brother, who got into an argument quite soon after and split their restaurant into two parts--the present day Lafayette and American Coney Islands which are next door to each other, and who to this day argue about which is the “original.” Similar claims are made by Todoroff’s in Jackson, Michigan.

Typical menu
Two of the most popular items on the coney island menu are the Gyro and Coney island. Gyros or gyro (pronounced /ˈjɪəroʊ/ or /ˈdʒaɪroʊ/, Greek: γύρος “turn") is a Greek fast food. It is shaved-like lamb meat, roasted on a vertical rotisserie, and the most common fillings are tomato, onions, and tzatziki sauce. French fries are a common side dish. Sometimes the name is applied to the form of the sandwich (pita wrapped around filling) rather than to the filling itself, and sometimes the name “souvlaki” is applied to the sandwich.

Another main dish is a Coney Island hot dog, more specifically, a hot dog made from beef and pork with casing, all meat, chili (no beans) made with beef hearts and spices that include cumin, diced yellow onion and yellow mustard. Variations on this theme include the “loose” coney, which substitutes ground hamburger meat for the hot dog (also known as a coney hamburger).

How to Cook a Loose Hamburger (video)
How to cook a LOOSE HAMBURGER. The “loose hamburger” is something that is a tradition at the famous LAFAYETTE CONEY ISLAND in Detroit, MI. Here I’ll show you how to cook one and also how to make their famous “SPECIAL”!! AMAZING FOOD!

Yahoo! Answers
How do you make a loose burger from coney island? I have a Leo’s Coney Island by my house and love their loose burgers. How do I make them?

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
Ingredients:
2 pounds hamburger
1 can Campbell french onion soup-undiluted-
restaurant style hamburger buns or hotdog buns.

Directions:
While browning hamburger - using a potato masher keep breaking up the chunks-you want the hamburger to very fine- drain. Add can of french onion soup - box soup mixes don’t work well with this recipe. Bring to a boil and add dried onions garlic or onion salt if you wish. Lower to low heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

This recipe is great served on steamed buns topped with shredded cheeses of your choice.

This recipe for Simple Loose Hamburger serves/makes 6

Original Greek Coney Sauce

1 pound Ground beef
1 cup lard
1 medium Onion(s), diced
1/3 cup Chili powder
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Black pepper, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon Basil, dried
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano, dried

PREPARATION:
To get the right consistency, cover the meat with water and soak, in the fridge, for about 30 minutes. Then take a fork and break up any remaining chunks. Drain the water and go on to browning. You will have some water while browning but it will slowly steam off.
Brown beef, onion and shortening.
Add remaining ingredients.
Simmer for 2 hours. You may have to add some water.
This freezes well.
I made this over the weekend with a few slight modifications and it was good. The modifications were I added Celery Seeds just ‘cause I like Celery seeds and I saw them in another sauce recipe. I also added Ice to the water for soaking the meat and lined a colander with 1 layer of Cheese Cloth and drained the meat thru it. Worked like a charm. It was a little dry at the end so rather than add water I used a small can of tomato sauce. This one’s a keeper!

13 July 1928, Mason City (Iowa) Globe-Gazette, pg. 5, col. 1 ad:
“Maid-Rite” Hamburgs are not fried patties but broiled loose hamburgers, made under a copyrighted formula.
MAIR-RITE
Hamburg Co.

Google Books
Michigan: Off the Beaten Path
By Jim DuFresne
Edition: 2, illustrated
Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot
1990
Pg. 8:
The Coney dogs (with loads of chopped onions, chili, and mustard), loose burgers (loose hamburger in a hot-dog bun), and bean soup served on Formica counters and tables with paper napkins and truck-stop china.
(Lafayette Coney Island—ed.)

Google Books
Dicing: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases
Compiled by Icon Group International, Inc.
Published by ICON Group International, Inc.
2008
Pg. 19:
Coney Island hot dog. a Coney Island hot dog is a hot dog made from pork with casing, topped with an all meat, high fat chili (no beans!), diced yellow onion and yellow mustard. Variations on this theme include the “loose” coney, which substitutes ground hamburger meat for the hot dog (also known as a coney hamburger).

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, May 06, 2009 • Permalink