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May 23, 1974 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-23

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Page Eight

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, May 23, 1974

Connie Bassik Ann A rbor's

By JUDY RUSKIN
There used to be a sign in the
window identifying the small
corner store as "Lucky Jim's."
But now all that's left is a large
neon "OPEN" sign.
"People just refer to it as
"open" now, says Connie Basil,
the slightly eccentric, British
proprietor of the city's original
fish 'n chips restaurant. "They
ak if 'open's' open."
LUJCKY JIM'S, located at 1232
Packard, is not your convention-
al restaurant. It hardly looks
like an eatery at all, but rather
like a quaint "front parlor" in
some old victorian mansion.
.iA 'ong, white couch lines one
wall of the shop. A small table
F, nestles in a corner, decorated
by a tiny lamp and a picture of
one of Connie's three "gorgeous"
children. Union Jacks and pic-
tures of the Queen grace the
w all.
Inthe five years since her
store opened, many things have
changed in Ann Arbor. When
Lucky Jim's first opened in the
:° late sixties, it was the only fish
n chips restaurant in the Mid-
west.
"WHEN WE STARTED no-
body had ever heard of fish 'n
chips," Connie says. "The health
department inspectors had a
very worried look on their face.
That's why they made us get
this enormous sink," she adds,
pointing to a huge chrome sink
Daily Photo by KAREN KASMAUSKI and counter that occupies al-
CONNIE BASSIL, founder of Lucky Jim's fish 'n chips store most the entire rear wall of the
on Packard, sits in her shop last week. Connie brought fish shop.
Now, however, fish 'n chips is
'n chips to the city when the delicacy was virtually unknown virtually a household word. Ar-
to the Midwest. thur Treacher has spread his

fast-food fish 'n chips emporium
across the country, including a
franchise here on Jackson Rd.
But after five years behind
the counter, Connie is giving up
the fish 'n chips business. "I've
been doing this a long time,"
she explains, "and if I don't
stop doing it now I never will."
"IT'S BEEN FUN," she says
in her pleasing British accent.
"It hasn't been a great money
spinner. I had hoped to make a
bit more."

Staring causes us to drop the
fish and put our whole hand in
the hot fat and have huge ner-
vous attacks," one message
reads.
"Anyone caught cliffing paper,
ketchup things, napkins etc.
about in the street will get a big
bum smacking administered by
the management," another sign
says.
LUCKY JIM'S prices are quite
reasonable. An adult portion of
fish 'n chips costs only $1.60,

Her hand-made signs are mini-lectures on
customer etiquette. 'Please don't stare at the
people who work at this shop. Staring causes
us to drop the fish and put our whole hand
in the hot fat and have huge nervous attack,'
one message reads. 'Anyone caught cliffng
paper, ketchup things, napkins etc. about in
the street will get a big bum smacking ad-
ministered by the management,' another sign
says.

She continues half-joking, half-
seriously, "I wanted a body
transplant. My body's gone you
know, from all that standing
and serving."
"This is what you call an el-
bow job. It's very physical and
not very creative. It's creative
as far as creating an ambience
is concerned," she adds.
CONNIE HAS created quite
an ambience. The shop is lit-
tered with plants, tiny knick-
knacks, and hand-lettered signs.
She is quite proud of her bowl
of yellow cowslips, small flow-
ers that vaguely resemble but-
tercups. A friend of Connie's
took the root from an English
meadow and brought it back to
the United States.
Her hand-made signs are mini-
lectures on customer etiquette.
"Please don't stare at the peo-
ple who work at this shop.

"tax and poison included." The
menu offers fresh Icelandic fish,
either cod, perch or haddock, in
addition to "gorgeous" tossed
salad and homemade slaw.
And the store has developed
a very dedicated clientele. "All
my customers are bright, not
thick," Connie says of Lucky
Jim's clientele. "Some of the
University people are rather
thick. They don't come in as
much as the intelligentsia, who
are the workers.
"It's a very large and satis-
fied clientele," she adds, "be-
cause they know a good thing
when they see it."
CONNIE PRAISES the hon-
esty of her customers. "It's so
gratifying," she says. She tells
the story of a man who came
in a month ago and ordered fish
'n chips. "The bill came to $5.90,
but I didn't have enough change

JAMES MILLER
President, University of Louisville
(formerly Director, MHR)
"LIVING SYSTEMS: LET'S HAVE
LESS TALK AND MORE DATA"
TEA: 3:15 P.M. room 2059 MHRI
SEMINAR 3:45 P.M. room 1057 MHRI
"IT CAN BE SAID,
SIMPLY AND
u ' VWITH THANKS,
\ THAT IT IS AN
\ aABSOLUTELY
TERRIFIC MOVIE"
f Joy Cocks
Time Magazine
TE
MUSKETEER0S
TECHNICOLOR ' PRINTS BY DE LUXE
STARTS FRIDAY

ART I CINEMA
Double Feature ends Thursday-"POLICEWOMEN" and "SUPERCHICK"
Double Feature starts Friday
Tom Laughlin as Billy Jack in "BORN LOSERS"
and Richard Widmark in "WHEN LEGENDS DIE"
33 N. WASHINGTON, YPSI LANTI-482-3300

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