(WJBK) - You may not know him by name but you’ve surely been in his business. The former owner of Lafayette Coney Island has passed away.
“Whenever there was some homeless dude standing outside he would look at them leaning on the parking meter and just say, 'William, bring him in, sit down, don't say anything. Get him a hot dog and a cup of coffee,” Bill Keros said.
Bill says that happened countless times growing up at Lafayette Coney Island and it’s just one of the ways he’ll remember his father.
“We’re proud of him, obviously and very grateful for what he’s done for the family and everyone he’s touched,” he said.
George Keros, the former owner and son of the man who founded one of Detroit’s most popular restaurants died last week.
A Cooley High School and U of M Grad, Keros was born and raised in Detroit.
He earned bronze stars fighting in the Korean War, and got his start at Lafayette in the conflict before that at just 10 years old.
“When World War II broke out and it was all hands on deck and my grandfather surely grabbed him by the ear and said you’re going down to the store it’s crazy 24/7. Keros said.
“Age 10 that happened until during the night shift at 4 in the morning, he got on the street car and went to my papoose house and usually roused him out of his sleep letting him know he was home.
Keros took over Lafayette in 1970 and ran the restaurant for 21 years. His passing sparking feelings of nostalgia in longtime customers who grew up on his coneys.
“That’s what made me come here today, I thought about it and the good memories, I had when we use to come downtown,” Camille Randle said.
Fox 2: What do you like most about Lafayette Coney?
“Well the chili is better here than next door,” Travis Puling said.
You can’t talk coney’s without talking the rivalry with American Coney Island but as for the chili, Lafayette loyalist have George Keros to thank for that.
“He sat down in the basement by himself, grabbing this and grabbing that and just experimented. He sautéed a little of this, a little of that and developed over time the chili recipe that went best with the new hotdog.
George Keros legacy will live on at Lafayette, which stands as a Detroit institution, it’s walls a who’s who of local and national treasures and jaw dropping stories.
“4 a.m. there’s a knock at the door, and so my dad looked out and he absolutely saw an apparition, couldn’t believe it, there was standing two guys and the Stanley Cup, or what looked like the Stanley Cup,” Keros said.
And even now a hot coney on the coldest of days is more than enough to warm a broken heart.