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November 04, 2004 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-04

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6B -- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 4, 2004

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Saturday morning does not exist for
many students. Save ambitious morning-
person types, weekends tend to undergo
a temporal shift that pushes morning into
afternoon, allowing space for the sweet
indulgence of sleeping in. But another type
of indulgence - super-affordable shop-
ping - is operating in Ann Arbor at, and
only at, this cherished time. Some students
are sacrificing their
Saturday morning
winks to join other "We like it hAre.

's wnite boom oox that also runcuons as
a mirror. As he tries to sell this $5 item he
explains that, a frequent shopper, he final-
ly decided to sign on as a volunteer when
he learned that the profits are donated.
Adelaide Laetz is standing toward the
back of the first floor, pricing an order.

terms of giving b
we're trying to g
seniors in high s
dents - interest
some way in thei
tomorrow, but d
they'll look back
ing with us and v
The demogral
changing along v
ish and Korean r
the general chat
observes, "We I
over the world.
working at the t

Fleetwood Diner's signature black and white decor contributes to its appeal with Ann Arborites. PETER SCHOTTENFELS/Daily
Fleetwood Diner deemed landmark of A2

Paul David eats a gyro at Ann Arbor's landmark restaurant, Fleetwood.
"Welcome to the Fleetwood. The hippest little diner in
the hippest little town in the Midwest. OK, so Ann Arbor's
not so little."
- Welcoming address on Fleetwood Diner menu

By Bernie Nguyen
Daily Arts Writer
Downtown Ann Arbor presents
dozens of fabulous places to shop,
visit and dine at. If, however, you
walk down East Liberty Street to
South Ashley Street, you'll find
something out of the ordinary.
You'll see it perched on a sloping
corner, the tiny Fleetwood Diner,
a humble, unassuming building
with stainless-steel siding and a
striped awning. It's been here in
Ann Arbor for years, a landmark
of greasy-spoon splendor often
passed by in favor of the more
trendy, cosmopolitan restaurants.
As you walk up the gray sidewalk,
you'll see green plastic chairs
and tables pushed up against the
front of the diner, crowded in with
laughing customers. More often
than not there is a slumbering dog
tied to the telephone pole a few
feet in front of the door. When you
enter the small space you're imme-
diately reminded of a '50s diner;
you almost expect to see girls in

poodle skirts and ponytails sip-
ping milkshakes.
The floor is a scuffed black-and-
white tile to match the chairs and
tables. Loud stickers from Found
Magazine and local bands cover the
dim front wall. A low counter runs
along one half of the diner where
people sit, reading newspapers,
boots resting on the raised floor
while they wait for their food. Take
a seat on a stool; the server will
offer you a menu. Look around and
soak in every image. Next to you
the man in the dark brown shirt
pushes his eggs around his plate.
Curlicues of cigarette smoke fade
into the fluorescent lights. The
smell of grease and the constant
hiss of the griddle stay low in the
background as you observe the dif-
ferent characters at each table. The
old man in the corner talks to his
companion, waving his hands and
drawing faces under his old green
Army cap while he smokes his cig-
arette down to the filter, crushing
it in the ashtray before taking a sip

of his coffee. A man looks out the
window, his hair tinted a deep red,
wearing sunglasses, a leather coat
and a wistful stare. The cook stays
in constant motion, his spatula
screeching across the griddle to
flip another patty. It's as if time
has slowed down.
The young man behind the coun-
ter seems too busy to, talk, even
though it is only late afternoon.
Fleetwood is open 24 hours; imag-
ine how crowded it must be late
at night, bustling with concertgo-
ers and midnight wanderers look-
ing for a hot cup of coffee. Take a
look at the menu, which proclaims
proudly "Welcome to the Fleet-
wood. The hippest little diner in
the hippest little town in the Mid-
west. OK, so Ann Arbor's not so
little." You'll see that Fleetwood's
menu is nothing but diner food,
pure and simple, priced very rea-
sonably. There's a specialty, too
- the Hippie Hash, a stack of
homemade hash browns, grilled
green peppers, onions, tomato,

broccoli, and mushrooms, topped
with melted feta cheese. "I think
the Hippie Hash is great," says fel-
low customer Claire Vanpoperin
about the food. "I come here a
couple times a month."
Sit and watch for a while. Taste
the food, sip your drink. Take your
time. When you leave you'll be back
in the real world, serenaded by cell
phones and traffic. But you'll feel
difference somehow, with a sense
of that you've stumbled upon a
relic. Not a particularly valuable
one, perhaps, but something with
its own gritty charm.
The Fleetwood is anything but
serene. It is brash and unashamed,
worn at the edges and a little faded.
It still sticks out, though, bringing
some of Ann Arbor's most unusual
clientele. Jason Jochems, sitting
at a table with his hands cradling
a cup of coffee, might put it best.
People "just happen to randomly
end up here. It's just one of those
places that makes Ann Arbor feel
like a real college town."

Patrons, like Carrisa Wilder, seamh throug boxes and shelves of goods
to find their perfect match at theweekly Kiwanis sale.

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