Amazing Grace

By Antisia King

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In 1917, history was made on the corner of Michigan Ave and Lafayette Blvd in Downtown Detroit by Gust Keros.

Gust invented the culinary combination of a hotdog, chili, mustard and sweet onions and a beloved institution was born. One hundred and four years later, American Coney Island has withstood the test of time drawing legions of loyal patrons, many of them generational, as the Keros legacy continues.

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Grace's Dad, Charles Keros took over the business from Gust and took into the next generation.

Grace is the third generation and only woman in her family to step in and take over the business. With her brother and business partner they have expanded into Las Vegas, the Detroit Zoo and created Coney kits shipping their delicious coneys with all the fixings all across the country.

Grace has a heart of gold, she’s involved with several charitable organizations, Autism Alliance of Michigan; the Fireman’s Fund; Detroit Police Charities; The Progeria Research Foundation; Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and many more. She even hosts her own special charity events throughout the year.

Grace’s work has also been recognized, she has won several awards and proclamations honoring her hard work and dedication.

I recently got the opportunity to speak with Grace, the following is a bit of our conversation:

AK: Hello Grace, thanks for having me! Tell me, American Coney Island is a part of the fabric of Detroit, how is it running such a legendary business?

GK: I love what I do, every day is different, I love the craziness of it all and all the different people I get to meet and work with. I’m passionate, intense and work hard and I don’t forget to have fun.

AK: As a woman in this industry, do you find it challenging running such a successful business?

GK: No, because of my family I was fortunate, I didn’t have to go through a lot. I would say the cards were pretty much laid out for me, but I was the first women in the family to step up and people were concerned if I would be able to handle it but guess what, here I am.

I know I’m a good person with a big heart, but I’m also tough so I knew I could handle it.

AK: How hard was pandemic on your business?

GK: Horrible, there was a time when literally no one was downtown, it was like a movie. But we came together and put on our thinking caps and focused on the areas that made sense.

AK: What did you do to stay afloat?

GK: People were stuck at home, so we decided to close for a few weeks and focus on our Coney Kits. We got in the warehouse and started boxing Coney Kits and shipping them all over the country and we’re still doing it to this day.

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AK: You seemed to have weathered the storm, what concerns you now?


GK:
The unknown, only God knows what’s next, but we’re here every day doing our part. We feed the homeless and take care of the people on the frontline.


AK:
What do you do to relax?


GK:
I love hanging out with my nieces and nephew a lot, they’re a ball of fun. I love being with my family, and cooking at home.


And I really like going to all the new restaurants in town, I’m happy to support anyone doing something positive in the city.


AK:
What’s your favorite one?


GK:
Well, it’s not new anymore but I love Roast, Michael Symon is a good friend of mine and I think they do a fantastic job over there.


AK:
You’re a very giving person, what motivates you to be so charitable?


GK:
I believe when you’re in a position where you can help, then you should do so. Giving back and helping each other is the reason we’re here on earth. I just do the best that I can to help my community, it’s my passion.


AK:
Tell us something we don’t know about you?


GK
: Believe it or not I love going to the grocery store, not just to shop. More so, I enjoy the experience of it all, it’s relaxing to me. I also enjoy good cocktails, great music, and dancing.


AK:
Thank you for your time.

She embodies the true meaning of a “Detroiter” when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

The Keros legacy is in great hands with Grace and Detroit is lucky to have her.

After lots of laughter and some deep hearted conversation I immediately knew why her parents named her Grace. She has such a pleasant warm spirit that fills the room.

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The dictionary defines the word “Grace” this way, “Simple elegance or refinement of movement.”

Those words fit Grace Keros perfectly, she’s beautiful, funny, giving with a heart of gold.

Thank you Grace for being so Amazing!