"Mickey, make me a combo, will ya?" yells Coney Dog owner Mike Binder at a grill cook from his table midway across his bustling West Hollywood restaurant. Then he flashes a broad grin. "I've been waiting my whole life to have a restaurant, just so I could do that."
The combo soon comes out. It's a deluxe Coney dog nestled inside a Detroit loose burger (which is crumbled ground beef as opposed to a patty) in a freshly steamed bun, smothered with chili.
"That's the Rolls-Royce of hot dogs, right there," says Binder, who is better known as a comedian and director but whose passion for Detroit-style dogs has consumed him for the last year.
He's not alone. Los Angeles is in the midst of a hot dog renaissance, with a cluster of recent openings signaling a hunger for that most sentimental of meals: tender tubular meat in a bun covered with toppings, or naked except for mustard.