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New in Town: Detroit-style Coney Island opens on south side

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From all-beef footlongs to loaded gyro wraps, Ziggy’s Coney Island is Lansing’s newest diner option for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Owner Sam Rammal of Dearborn decided to plant roots in Lansing after a drive into the city.

“I was actually in the area looking for a place to eat breakfast. I kept driving around and I’m like, ‘There isn’t one place to sit down and eat breakfast around here,’” Rammal said. “This popped up as an idea I was pondering on it for a while before I decided to go through with it.”

Rammal grew up in the food industry with a family restaurant in Dearborn.

“My first job was at a restaurant,” he said. “My dad has always been in the food business. Growing up, it was always a passion to be in a kitchen and learn from him.”

But Rammal exited the food industry to earn a business degree at Wayne State University. After working a career in the world of auto manufacturing, he realized it wasn’t for him.

“The auto industry’s instability drove me to come back," he remarked. "I just wanted to do something I had a passion for — and that’s food.”

The experience was a lesson in the importance of investing in local products, he added.

“In the manufacturing world, if you didn’t buy a local car, you were putting someone out of a job. I still have that type of mentality. I like to buy my stuff local, stocking mostly Michigan-based ingredients.”

Ziggy’s footlong is the restaurant’s specialty. It has a snappy all-beef hot dog, stir-fried peppers, onions and pepper jack cheese on a bun. Most menu options are below $10.

Besides traditional Coney Island fare, Ziggy’s also offers some higher-end entrées, such as a lamb chop dinner and a grilled salmon special.

“I want to be the place where if you are talking to your neighbors, you would recommend me first over anybody else in the area,” he said.

The building was the former space of Jackie’s Diner, a greasy spoon that closed after 13 years in business in 2017. Rammal decided to keep the hanging tiffany-style light fixtures, emblematic of the old establishment, for decoration. Most work to revamp the building came from repainting it and general cleaning, he said.

The restaurant brought 12 jobs to the area and is still looking to hire. The owner sees the potential in Lansing and plans to “contribute back to the community.”

“Customer service and food quality are what makes a good diner,” Rammal said. “Your customers need to feel like they’re at home. That is the recipe I use to make success in this industry.”

Ziggy’s Coney Island

Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

3812 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Lansing

(517) 977-1327, ziggysconeyisland.com

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