Regional food specialties
- Old School Flint, Michigan
Many people and the jobs they once held in Flint Michigan are long gone. The work either disappeared or went overseas or in the case of General Motors, moved to Detroit. The original founder of GM, William C. Durant lost the company twice, the final time from the 1929 Stock Market Crash. He went on to run a bowling alley in Flint until his death in 1947. During the 50's and 60's the city saw it's brightest days but since then it's seen the fate of so many other Midwestern cities that were driven by industrial work. Poverty, crime, and urban decay to name a few. Though not everything from back when is gone. A few food favorites remain.
Halo Burger (Since 1933?*)
"Sam Blair opened a Hotel in downtown Flint. He first sold his famous burgers from a "boxcar" - style wagon which according to legend was buried under the building that replaced it on Harrison Street. Mr. Blair has been credited with originating the flat bottom bun and the de-lux hamburger (mayo, lettuce, tomato). This still remains one of Halo Burger's most popular sandwiches, especially with Olive" In 1951 Bill Thomas who purchased the business from its founder also bought the Vernors Ginger Ale Building (seen above) to make a 2nd location. I got a deluxe with olives and ate it with a 'Boston Cooler' which is a local treat made by blending Vernors and vanilla ice cream. "7 Days without a Halo Burger Makes One Weak!"
* "A single founding date for the company is not so easy as the company evolved from the original Kewpee location opened in 1923 which expanded into a chain before 1944 when Thomas started his business that would later be named Halo Burgers by leasing the original location"
Olive Burger at Halo
Hoagie steak sandwiches are big around Mid-Michigan and outside of Detroit. There's quite a few places that have been a round a few decades slanging what's basically cheesesteak sandwiches. Bog John's got its start in Flint and today has over 10 locations in state.
Big John's Steak & Onion (Since 1976)
When they originally opened they only offered three different subs including their specialty steak and onion. Made with thinly sliced ribeye served on a fresh baked Italian roll it's still their most popular offering today. Not bad although not as good as the one I had at Gabriel's in Ypsilanti. I look forward to trying more.
Steak and Onion with Cheese
You cant go thru Flint without trying a Coney. They have their own style in these parts, different from Detroit. Flint's style of Coney is much more consistent around town. Here a Coney dog must be made using Koegel Brand hot dogs. Flint Coney sauce is dryer than Detroit. The topping base was/is almost always acquired at a local place called Abbott's Meats. Its said to be made with beef heart amongst other cuts and is more like the consistency of the stuff in a loose meat sandwich while Detroit style Coney sauce is more like chili. I stopped into a longtime favorite for one.
Angelo's Coney Island (Since 1949)
Angelo's claims to be the #1 Coney Island in the state and I think they make a good case. Started by three Macedonian immigrants originally where Angelo's is today there were quite a few stands but only they remain. You can check this video which takes a short look at them HERE. "Have you had 2 lately?" is their slogan and no in fact I never had. So I went one with everything (mustard and onions) and one Hard Shell Coney with cheese. Yep you heard that right and you know what? I liked it. The wiener fit perfectly inside the taco shell and when topped with coney sauce, onions and cheese and it tasted like a hybrid of the two. Something I would do again if life ever brings me back thru Flint.
One Coney Dog and a Hard Shell Coney w/ everything plus cheese
800 S Saginaw St
Flint, MI 48502
Big John Steak & Onion*
625 S Dort Highway
Flint, MI 48503
Angelo's Famous Coney Island
1816 Davison Rd
Flint, MI 48506