Why Does This Small Town in New York Celebrate “Michigan Month” Each July?
Ever heard of Plattsburgh, New York? Me either!
The small town of nearly 20,000 is nestled in the hills of upstate New York, bordering Vermont along Lake Champlain. As of July 1, 2023 it's officially "Michigan Month" in this remote New York town. But, why?
What's a "Michigan"?
This is going to blow your mind. It seems like something ripped straight out of The Twilight Zone, but as fate would have it what we Michiganders traditionally refer to as a "Coney dog" residents in Plattsburg, New York call a "Michigan".
Strange but true!
A staple from the Detroit area, Michigan's signature hot dog is topped with bean-less chili, onions, and mustard, and sits atop a freshly steamed bun. I mean, can you blame these New Yorkers for dedicating an entire month to these delicious dogs?
From Michigan to New York
Like myself, you must be wondering how in the world something like this could even happen. Where did these New Yorkers first hear of our Coney dogs and why don't they just refer to them as Coneys in the first place?
It must have started over 75 years ago when a Detroit couple, Garth and Eula Otis, moved to Plattsburgh to start their own business. Eula perfected her own version of the traditional chili sauce and began serving the hot dogs in 1925 at their "Michigan Hot Dog Stand". I guess the name just stuck!
The Otis' went on to expand their business, opening a second location in Plattsburgh to accommodate demand for their signature "Michigan" hot dogs. Eventually the Otis family sold the restaurant and secret recipe to Nitzi Rabin. Rabin then upped his game by inventing a New England-style roll specifically for The Michigan.
Why "Michigan Month"?
Michigan month is celebrated each July and includes a Fun Run and 5K, Michigan passport program, and lots of giveaways. Says the Town of Plattsburgh,
A Michigan Dog, or a Michigan as it is commonly referred to, is traditionally a natural casing hot dog in a split top bun, topped with a specially seasoned meat sauce, served with optional mustard and onions which you can order on top or buried under the sauce...no matter where it started, the Michigan is “buried” in Plattsburgh culture.
What do you think, do we let them have this one?