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February 05, 1977 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-02-05

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Saturday, February 5, 1977 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Three

Drak 's: A

chocola te-coated





Mrs. Tibbals


H, PITY THE SWEET tooth that
drops by Drake's.'
Chocolate covered prune bits, straw-
berry cordials, moon rocks and some 300
other candy varieties - all enclosed in
big glass jars - present the most culi-_
nary of dilemmas to the saccharine-in-
clined customer.
The shop's walls are a muddy shade of
institutional green - and its hard-back,
drugstore style booths create an inti-
mate ambience straight out of the days
of Archie and Veronica.
THERE ARE NO waitresses - in fact,
you pencil your own order - and even
then, the service remains somewhat har-
"Two limeades and tuna on whole
wheat," you hear as an employe clatters
dishes on a small, silver tray. You then
retreat to a dimly lit booth for a casual,
cozy meal, punctuated by rushing em-
ployes and shouted orders piercing the
candy-coated air.
So how does Drake's - one of the
city's oldest sandwich shops - manage
to maintain its popular appeal when the
Macs and Burger Kings offer cheaper
and quicker fare?
"The first time I came in here I was
scared because I didn't know how to or-
der; so I left," recalls Helen Seuer, surely
not alone in her fear. "Now I come often
before dinner for tea," she says.
ADDS ANOTHER customer, "It's a rit-
ual. I come in and drool over all the dif-
ferent varieties, but buy the same thing
each time."
Others, of course, are more adventur-

ous - like Carolyn Ettinger. "I come in
for the candy once a week and get a
munch of a certain type -'a weekly spe-
cial, so to speak."
However, Drake's attraction crans-
cends the chocolate covered, sugai coat-
ed, lemon-drop world of candy.
"PEOPLE COME for the limeades and
lemonades in the summer and the pecan
and'cinnamon rolls in the winter," sums
up employe Cindy Kaufan.
"The people are really funny," com-
ments another employe. "They come in
here all the time and tell us how they
used to work here, or how they used to
come here all the time and how they
met their wives and husbands here .. .
Nevertheless, Drake's real charm lies
in its history and the character of its
owners, the Tibbals.
"IN 1949 I put these .out in celebration
of our anniversary," recalls Truman Tib-
bals as he flaunts large displays of pho-
tos that depict the shop's evolution.
Mr. Tibbals began as a Drake's dish-
washer in the 1920's. Soon after, he
bought the shop from the previous own-
er, Mr. Drake - keeping the name be-
cause "I couldn't see any sense in chang-
ing it."
As much a part of the Drake myth is
Mrs. Tibbals - the elderly woman who
has overseen the shop with her husband
almost every business day for the past
45 years. "I'm sort of a jack of all
trades," says Mrs., Tibbals of her role.
SINCE HER husband purchased the
store, it has seen a series of changes. Be-
fore World War II, Drake's was a sand-
wich shop which delivered until, accord-
See DRAKE'S, Page 8

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