Highland Park's Red Hots Coney Island will be featured Friday on the Food Network's American Diner Revival, a show that follows Ty Pennington and Chef Amanda Freitag as they renovate diners' interiors and menus across the country.
"We're very happy with the results," says Richard Harlan, co-owner of Red Hots Coney Island with his wife, Carol. "It's completely different. It's like no other coney you ever went to."
Harlan says a Detroit News reporter nominated his restaurant for the show. A few months ago, Harlan received a call from a show producer asking him why his diner deserved a makeover.
"I said 'we're the oldest Coney Island there is and we went through some bad times," Harlan says. "I told them not only do I need the makeover but my customers deserve it. When I said that, (the Food Network) said, 'You got it.'"
Harlan and his wife were not there for the renovations, although their son and daughter acted as liaisons during the process. Pennington, the former host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, spent 36 hours fixing the crumbling floors and renovating the kitchen.
The diner, located at 12 Victor St., opened in 1921 (which Harlan says makes it the oldest Coney Island in Michigan) and the restaurant hasn't been renovated since 1968.
Now, he says the restaurant has more of a "retro look." Chef Freitag also helped Red Hots Coney Island improve its menu.
"We got a new (pulled pork) sandwich now," Harlan says. "We didn't have any desserts, so now we (have) floats. They've been very generous and very kind and (they're) very nice people — all of them."
The episode will air at 10:30 p.m. Friday.