Abbott's Meat is an American cross-culture success
Last week, we continued the coney theme with Koegel Meats, one of two century-old Flint companies that made history together. Today, we check out the other one -- Abbott's Meat, which started on the site of a University of Michigan parking ramp in 1907. These two Flint families have worked side by side for three generations.
Ed Abbott is the third generation CEO of Abbott's Meat.
"That's my grandfather with the knife in his hand," Abbott said, while showing off old pictures. "That's my father and these are long-time employees that worked there."
Abbott's has been making the sauce for the unique Flint-style coney since it first sprang up in the 1920s. The company worked side by side with the Koegel family that still provides the vienna and the Greek immigrants who owned the restaurants, as this new dish took the town by storm, an American cross-culture success story that continued into Ed Abbott's generation.
"These were all hard-working folks, paying their bills, that's what Flint and this country are all about," Abbott said. "They made me Macedonian of the Year.
Abbott's has long produced meat for more than just the coney dog. They've been serving area hospitals, like Flint's McLaren for decades and they have a newer relationship with another old familiar name, Halo Burger.
"We grind their product fresh five days a week and nobody does that anymore," Abbott said. "If you go to McDonalds or any of the other places, it's all frozen".
But this family has talent in other areas, too. Local hero and baseball standout Jim Abbott came from this fine "stock," if you will.
"He's my nephew. We're very proud of Jim," Ed Abbott said. "Jim is a big coney island fan. His dad ships him a couple times a year a box of hot dogs and the coney island sauce. Great Flint booster. Great UM booster."
Ed Abbott is quite the Flint booster himself and he sees a city that is on on the upswing and a place for Abbott's in the new Flint as well.
"Look at our college area, Flint Institute of Arts. That Kearsley Street corridor is incredible and that whole downtown ... we should all be proud of that," Abbott said. "There's a bright future here without question, look at the restaurants that are downtown there are some great opportunities."