Coney dogs, customizable burgers, and hand-cut fries smothered in chili and cheese are coming to Tempe -- by way of Detroit -- courtesy of David Najor.
The Michigan native, whose started his career working for his family's grocery stores in Detroit, came to the Valley a year and a half ago for two reasons: weather and opportunity.
"I used to have coneys brought in from Detroit to the Windy City Cafe [Najor's first restaurant in Tempe, which he sold in January]," he tells me. "But I always wanted to do a coney place. There just aren't a lot here."
Called Detroit Coney Grill, Najor's new restaurant will be located at 930 West Broadway (Broadway and Hardy) in Tempe. He hopes to open on Friday, August 9.
Armed with Detroit-based ingredients and products (think Faygo and Better Made Potato Chips), Najor says he's keeping the eats as authentic as possible -- like all-beef natural casing dogs, scratch-made burgers, and hand-cut Idaho russet potatoes. And his chili sauce, made with cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic, seasonings, and spices, is a signature recipe (Najor's a fan of the famous Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit).
For burgers, Najor's going old school. Like Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor, Michigan (and The Chuckbox in Tempe, sans the charcoal grill), customers will be able to order up their burgers cafeteria-style -- across from the person doing the cooking -- and can customize them however they wish.
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Najor tells me he's been surprised by the number of people who have found his coney joint's Facebook page before the restaurant has even opened.
"There's been a lot of excitement," he tells me. "I'm as anxious as they are."
He should be. Najor's already secured a lease on a second location for a Detroit Coney Grill -- at 35th Avenue and Bell Road in North Phoenix.