Eating out on a budget with the family on vacation is always a bit of a challenge for us. We have a few dietary considerations that add an additional twist. Plus, anytime we have a chance to step away from tourists and experience life like the people who live in the area, we find it adds some depth to our travel experience.
I think Metro Detroit has a wide variety of great family and budget friendly restaurants to choose from-places where a wide variety of people dine.
One of our favorites is Leo's Coney Island, a chain of 50 plus restaurants located throughout Southeastern Michigan, extending from downriver (South of Detroit) up North to Grand Blanc and even Birch Run, there is sure to be one near where you are staying.
The food is commendable and service generally swift. The ones we have dined at have been clean and well-lit, usually with lots of windows to let in natural light.
The signature dish at a coney, and Leo's is no exception, is the coney dog-a hot dog covered in chili. I know many people spend hours debating who has the best chili dog in town, I will simply say my father, who has lived in Metro Detroit his entire life and eaten at nearly every coney around, never says "no" to a coney at Leo's.
For our family, what is desirable about Leo's is the variety. Our son enjoys getting an omelette, served any time of day, while our daughter really enjoys the Veggie Pita sandwich as does Jenny. For me, my favorites are the small Greek Salad with the delicious dressing on the side, or oatmeal with rye toast.
Their menu is of course far more diverse, including a wonderful Michigan Salad-a spring mix, with mandarin oranges, walnuts, cucumbers and of course dried cherries as well as a variety of burgers, gyros and other Greek inspired dishes.
Their soft drinks are very large and the coffee has always been decent-for me not go out of my way to get, but robust enough, and hot.
We enjoyed going there when the kids were younger, because the place tends to be a bit loud and our rambunctious toddlers were not out of place. If you are looking for a place to have a quiet meal alone or engage in quiet conversation, be sure to go off peak hours or you might be disappointed.
If you are seeking a one of a kind, quirky dining experience you probably would not find Leo's to meet your expectations. If you are looking for a decent meal at a fair price and a menu of choices that will satisfy your entire family, and a down to earth dining experience with regular folks, then you will be delighted at a Leo's.