Saturday, October 20, 2007

why cook yer own when you could just hit the Fleetwood?

This blog post is stolen from Miss Shela who cited her source at the bottom--and right now I am getting in the car---

"Hippie Hash"
It's true. The sheer, boundless possibility that is dining in downtown Ann Arbor can be daunting sometimes. Within a few city blocks one can take a world-tour of cuisines, and explore a span of epicurean styles from fancy to plain and back again. But when it's three in the morning and you want some eggs or a burger, the choice is clear: you go to the Fleetwood.

The cooks at the Fleetwood Diner have been slinging hash at the corner of Ashley and Liberty Streets since 1949, when construction was completed on this steel and porcelain "kit" diner trucked in from Ohio. Back then it was called the Dagwood Diner and it's easy to picture the farmers in their overalls staring furtively at the bobby-soxed U-M coeds and their athletic dates as they all tucked into their restorative all-American greasy spoon fare. The good thing is that over 50 years later, not much appears to have changed at the Fleetwood (the name was changed in 1971).

A meal at the Fleet is a quintessential diner experience-something that's increasingly difficult to come by. Open 24 hours a day, every day (with the exception of the occasional holiday), this is more than a restaurant, it's a social hub for a huge variety of people. Go there on a Saturday morning and it'll be packed with couples reading the paper, families, budding or grizzled hippies, academic types sitting up at the counter reading Nietzsche, and everyone doing some serious eating. Go there on a Saturday night, late, and the age bracket drops considerably as students and the elite of Ann Arbor's black-clad, spike-haired artist-ocracy put in their orders, chatting with the occasional trucker.

Food at the Fleetwood Diner is, as one might expect, is no-frills, hot as blazes and delicately flavored with whatever else has been on the grill all day. This is a good thing. Come here for all manner of eggs, bacon, sausage, etc., burgers the way you want them, greasy fries, BLTs, tuna sandwiches and more. Don't miss the Fleet's most famous meal, Hippie Hash, a dizzying fry-up of shredded potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and broccoli all bound together with feta cheese and some kind of meat if you want it.

Have we mentioned that this place is tiny? This makes for some great eavesdropping opportunities and a chance to strike up a conversation with some of Ann Arbor's most colorful people. If cigarette smoke gets to you, then (weather permitting) get a seat outside under the awning-the service is just as good. The waitstaff will even bring a bowl of ice for your dog on a hot day.

The Fleetwood Diner is located at 300 South Ashley, at Liberty, 734-995-5502. It's always open.

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