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Best Coney Island Maitre d'

Mayo at Duly's Place

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 5458 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-554-3076

On weekend nights, at a hallowed little coney island restaurant on Vernor Highway called Duly's, you'll likely find a real Detroiter holding forth up front. He calls himself "Mayo," and as the bar crowd wanders in for post-beer coneys, Mayo treats the front counter as his personal vaudeville stage, wisecracking with the customers up front by the cash register. A sharp-eyed host, he runs the room well, chattering in French, English and Spanish. Along with your onion rings, you could get his philosophy about life, with a host of Mayo-isms along the way. Deadpan and funny, most of his utterances are unpublishable here — in a good way. And what's his philosophy? He pretty much says he doesn't give a hoot. Except the word isn't "hoot." In short, Mayo is a character. Part maitre d', part comedian, part bouncer, part diplomat. He keeps his remarks brief and funny, the better to watch the diners and bid everybody hello and goodbye. If you're a good customer and don't give anybody trouble, he may even give you a sucker when you go.

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