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Detroit-area coney island to close

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) — Hold the onions? Yes, and the mustard, too, unfortunately.

Red Hots Coney Island in Highland Park is closing in late July, a month after it celebrates its 100th year in business on June 26.

“Our bodies are telling us it’s time,” Carol Harlan told the Detroit Free Press. “We are closing on our terms, not because the pandemic is shutting us down.”

Her husband and co-owner, Rich Harlan, has been making chili for 55 years. The restaurant was started by his great-uncle, Tom Nicholson, who came to the U.S. from Greece.

The Harlans put a hot dog in a bun, then add mustard, chili and onions. Some coney places put the mustard on top of the chili.

“I am not in for prettiness but for the taste,” Rich Harlan said. “I want you to taste the chili. The mustard is to enhance the flavor.”

During the peak of the pandemic, Red Hots was closed for weeks like many restaurants but delivered frozen chili to customers’ porches.

Carol Harlan hopes someone buys the business, which can seat 35 diners. The interior got a makeover in 2015, thanks to the Food Network’s “American Diner Revival.”

“Highland Park needs a place like this,” Carol said.

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