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Pandemic pushes National Coney Island to close all locations

The Detroit News

Your craving will have to wait.

National Coney Island, the restaurant chain with locations throughout Metro Detroit, is the latest restaurant to announce it is temporarily shutting its doors during the coronavirus pandemic.

"During this unprecedented national crisis, we have done our very best to try and keep our doors open to serve our loyalty guests," president and CEO Tom Giftos said in an email Tuesday night. "However, as the public health situation in Detroit worsens, and in consideration for the well-being of our staff and customers alike, we have decided to close all NCI stores until further notice."

The restaurant, with a motto: "YOUR Craving IS CALLING" and featuring "Proudly Made Michigan" on its website, was founded in 1965 by Jame Giftos, who opened his first store in Roseville and within years opened two more stores. It expanded even more in the mid-80s to mid-90s, according to its website.

The menu now includes breakfast; sides; soups and salads; coneys; "Hanis," a chicken finger pita sandwich; and hot fudge sundaes. 

Maurice Cunningham, manager of National Coney Island in Warren, writes UAW in mustard as he makes two dozen coney dogs to be delivered to striking UAW members at the GM Tech Center in 2019.

Giftos vows to return after the pandemic is over.

"We look forward to the day we are all back doing what we know how to do best, which is serving our community and delivery the best Coney experience to our guests, when it is safe to do so in the coming weeks," he said. "In the meantime, you can find our hot dogs and chili products at local Kroger stores and specialty markets or by ordering a Coney Kit online at

"Our prayers are with the community at large, and to you and your family to stay healthy and safe!"