Over 100 years ago, with little more than a dream and a stack of recipes, the Koukios family landed in Grand Rapids from Greece. With the support of the Greek community, the Red Lion was born, turning out plate after plate of delicious goodness.
In 1971, Gus Koukios wanted to branch out on his own. He had developed a stellar recipe for chili and created what became the base for the famous chili dog — one of the first of its kind in Grand Rapids — easily a local favorite.
His secret sauce brought in fans from across town and the Red Hot Inn on Leonard (moving from Plainfield Road in 1984) became a staple in the area, long before M37 became a thoroughfare.
The menu was solid: amazing chili dogs and a diner menu to make any mouth water. Gus’s sons, Jim and Matt, took over the family business in 2011, Matt venturing off to open Gus’s dream of a pizzeria and Jim continuing the legacy of his family until finally closing in 2019.
After dipping a toe briefly into retirement, while continuing to support his wife’s business, Greek to Go, Jim and his sons, Connor and Peter, wanted to resurrect the iconic Red Hot chili dog in an inventive new style — a food truck!
In late 2022, with resounding cheers from the community to further Jim’s passion, the Red Hot Food Truck was launched.
Red Lion opens on
Grand Rapids' West Side
For more information on the whereabouts of the Red Hot Food Truck, check back often and come get your Red Hots while they’re hot!
Gus Koukios opens Red Hot Inn on Plainfield Road
Red Hot Inn moves to Leonard Avenue
Gus retires and Jim and Matt Koukios take over the restaurant
Red Hot Inn closes after
35 years serving the community
A new era begins and
Red Hot Food Truck is born