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Posted on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

Flim Flam Family Restaurant closes after 30 years in Ann Arbor

By Paula Gardner


Flim Flam Family Restaurant is closing after 30 years.

Joe Tobianski |

Chris Klademenos opened the Flim Flam Family Restaurant as normal on Sunday, preparing for the crowds of regulars who'd crowd the northeast Ann Arbor diner for breakfast.

But at closing time, he locked the door for the final time after posting a notice saying that that after almost 30 years, the restaurant was closing for good.


Chris Klademenos, owner of the Flim Flam, reacted in early 2007 to news that Pfizer would be closing its Ann Arbor facility across Plymouth Road from his restaurant. files

"Business was low," Klademenos said on Monday afternoon, also describing the situation as tough.

"We did not have ... funds to keep it going," he said.

The diner at 2707 Plymouth Road in the Plymouth Road Mall long-served customers seeking home-cooked diner staples in a family setting, generating a reputation good enough that patrons would stand in line for weekend breakfast seating.

But in recent years, Klademenos said, business had tapered off.


Joe Tobianski |

One blow was the closing of Pfizer's campus in Ann Arbor, which shuttered the 2 million square feet faclity across Plymouth Road starting in 2007. The move displaced at least 2,100 employees and disrupted the retail corridor.

Another blow was the economy, Klademenos said. He could see that from the regular customers who dropped their frequency when they'd stop in to eat and often would tell stories about a spouse losing a job.

He kept thinking things would improve: "I thought, come fall (there) will be more business generated," he said. "It did not happen. I could not go (on) anymore."

As this year drew to a close, business was not good enough to continue, Klademenos said. Increased competition among other restaurants and the need to remodel the Flim Flam for it to keep up pressured his decision to close.

He's sorry for the eight employees who have lost their jobs, he said.

"I wished I could stay open and have them around. I’ll miss them," Klademenos said.

He'll also miss his customers. That's his message to Ann Arbor as he spends his first day in nearly 30 years not operating his restaurant.

"Thanks to all the customers that supported us over the years," he said. "I’ll miss them a lot."

Paula Gardner is news director of Contact her by email or Twitter.



Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:17 a.m.

Completely agree with johnneywa2. The name "flim flam" was well deserved! Sorry to see anyone go, but it's a sad (and often not too clean) relic of the past. Good luck in retirement!


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

We are saddened by this news. We just ate a delightful meal there on Sunday, not knowing it was one of the last ones served. A true mom-and-pop good-eats neighborhood rock is gone. Thank you for the years of great food, reasonable prices, and satisfying window seats. I secretly hope you will somehow be able to re-open the Flim Flam after a much needed break.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:07 a.m.

I am so sad to hear this news...Where can I get potato pancakes with applesauce and sugar like Oma use to make???!! I loved going there after dropping my son off for school or when I needed to grab a meal on the North side... It was one of the only non-chain-down-home-and-real places left... We all get sucked into the big name places and end up losing real treasures like Flim Flam... So sad :-(


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

Ypsi has some little mom and pop shops left. One on Holmes and one on Ecorse. We do the Ecorse one. Still some fine dining and better then Big Boy or any fast food burger in this day and age. Good luck to another mom and pop retiring.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

Sad to hear about this, Flim Flam was a great restaurant and unfortunately they're getting hit like many businesses in this crappy economy.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

...and another one bites the dust...


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

Granted, the decor left much to be desired, but the soup and rice pudding were great and the homemade corned beef hash was the best in town. Thanks, Chris and Poppy, for all the years of friendly service and delicious lunches! We'll miss you.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

i guess it was just time to do 30 years run by the same family.that's got to be some kind of record.sure it will be missed.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

Best Corned beef hash in town!

Tom Teague

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

I can attest that there's good CBH at both Mr. Greek's and the Achilles Restaurant. Slightly off topic: If it were a French Toast competition, Achilles takes the whole bracket.

Sadie Buttons

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

@Rod Johnson Uptown Coney Island on Jackson Road has great corned beef hash!

Rod Johnson

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

I've wanted to do a comprehensive corned beef hash tour of this town for years. I've sampled lots of them, but there are many more to go. Other hash enthusiasts?

craig matteson

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 11:49 a.m.

I used to eat there when I worked at Inacomp in the mall. But I haven't eaten there since 1987 so I guess I am part of the restaurant's problem. Sad to see them go, though. I have fond memories of the place.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 11:23 a.m.

So sad. It was a great Northside place for a great breakfast or lunch. It will be missed.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:53 a.m.

A favorite restaurant of the Brothers. We'll miss it!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:42 a.m.

Iam very sad to hear of the closing of the flim flam. I owned a business a couple doors down and i know how it feels to close a business and have to tell your employees. It's been tough to hold on in this economy as much as you want to. Chris and poppi were the best and their staff always had a smile on. They will be missed for sure but now they can relax and spend quality time with their grandchildren. You guys did a great job!!!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:06 a.m.

I am really saddened to see the FF close. I've been going there for years for Sunday breakfast. The food was always good and the prices were always reasonable (for Ann Arbor). I hope all the employees are able to land on their feet. The most frustrating part is that the next tenant of that space will probably be another godforsaken chain restaurant with food prepared in an industrial kitchen, flash frozen, and shipped here to be reheated a la Applebee's, Chili's, etc.

John Hritz

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:14 a.m.

When I worked on that side of town, the Flim Flam was a regular lunch spot. I stll get a hankering for their french toast or the mysteriously named Astrid sandwich. I never had the nerve to order the swanky franky. Not fancy food, but fancy service. Best wishes for your next endeavors!

Ann E.

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:01 a.m.

This is sad. My family loved the French Toast.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:33 a.m.

I am sorry to see the Flim Flam go. It holds 20+ years of fond memories for me - including two successful job interviews with out-of-town employers. Flim Flam was always quick to accomodate our extended family of 13+ after church a couple of times per year, and our smaller family other times when I was feeling too lazy to cook. We hardly ever go out for Sunday breakfast, but when we did, we always went to the Flim Flam because you could always count on it for a good breakfast. Best wishes to the owners and staff.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:24 a.m.

It was one of the first places I ate at when I first moved to Ann Arbor in the 1980's. I just took one of my friends there two weeks ago, had no idea they were closing but they weren't as busy as I remember them. We need to tax the rich even more get Obama's job plan working for those laid off workers


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:11 a.m.

What a bummer. This was THE relaxed, inexpensive, yummy down home place to get a meal in NE Ann Arbor. We'd walk there on some very cold Sunday mornings. My kids will really miss the place.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:10 a.m.

I agree about the name being odd. Flim flam is defined as something along the lines of deception or scam. It would be interesting to know how that name for the restaurant was ever adopted. I don't recall ever having eaten there myself.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

Possibly the strangest name for a restaurant ever...but it was pretty good. Sad to see it go.

Rod Johnson

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

Much love to Chris and especially Popie, who always fussed over my kids when they were babies, and still asks after them even now when they're adults. I had many wonderful meals there. I'll miss it terribly.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

I live in the neighborhood, but I generally avoided the place. Not only were the spoons greasy and the floors dirty, I noticed that the owners treated their employees very rudely.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

I will miss dropping by FF for breakfast after area 10K runs. It was a very family friendly place and wide open where you could hear everything around you from quite college romance to UM know-it-alls loudly lecturing unfortunate dining partners about irrelevant trivia or other gibberish. Sorry to see them go....


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 12:08 a.m.

Popie and Chris, Yours was the first place we 'found' when my wife and I moved here in 2001; we've talked with you off and on about how things were going in recent years and you would know me if you saw me... as I'm sure you would know many many hundreds of folks that found more than just a restaurant at that address. I am very sorry to read that you had to stop at this point and wish you the best-

Ron Granger

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:59 p.m.

I always enjoyed the Flam. Best wishes to everyone there. I hope the staff can find new gigs. What are the family run alternatives on North Campus? Of course Northside is excellent, but nowhere near the same atmosphere.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

Marc's Coney Island. Lots of McTGIBicycleBeeRobyns, which sucks.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

Sorry to see them go. Popie and Chris are the nicest people, and my wife and I always enjoyed the Reuben there.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

Good food, friendly folks. Sorry to hear about the closing, but best wishes to all who have served so many for many years.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

Sure would have helped if the mall-slumlord that owns that and other failing strip malls in the area would have given them a break on the rental space. Here's a thought Mike- your competitors are eating your lunch and taking your renters. Ever wonder why? I'm not sure that pricing your tenants into abandonment of their business is a great strategy.

Simon Green

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

This is Culinary Darwinism at work...


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:44 a.m.

I don't think they ever intended to be a fine dining establishment.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:16 p.m.

I'd say what ever they were doing they were doing it pretty well, Over 30 years in business is something to be proud of. Congratulations on a very long and judging by most comments loved business.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

Something we need to address is what I feared from the time political changes in this state brought us a new tax structure. The stated goal I believe was to give businesses, including small businesses, reduced taxes to "improve" the business climate. Simultaneously, this tax burden was shifted by a variety of methods to average wage earners, including teachers and retirees. When the issues surrounding this shift were being debated, I wrote that my solution to less disposable income would be to cut back elsewhere, including eating out less frequently at local eateries such as Flim Flam. I don't know how many other people in Ann Arbor have responded to our new tax structure in a similar manner, but it is worth considering when we try to assess the Governor's efforts to "help" Michigan's small businesses.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

Mike I just spent 25 days in Peru, a beautiful place, but one with a very scary social-economic society. It is not Greece where we're headed. Peru is more like it.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:25 a.m.

Higher taxes for everyone! The race to become Greece is on..............


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

More ..... when the actual reduction cuts in, I may reduce my expenditures further. As I said, sure hope the business tax cuts offset the loss of business.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

We may not be hit yet. But as most reasonable people would do, adjustments are made in anticipation of events. I have not waited for the actual loss to adjust my life-style. Perhaps others are waiting, but if enough are not ...... I rest my case.

Stephen Landes

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

@Michigan Reader You're not wrong. The new tax structure takes effect in 2012. It seems we have people applying their TV watching where everything happens in 22 or 46 minutes to reality.

Michigan Reader

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

I may be wrong on this, but I think the new tax structure goes into effect on Jan.1st, 2012. I mean the reduced business tax.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

Very sad. I always enjoyed going there. Now I wish I would have gone more....

Chase Ingersoll

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

Anyone know where the AA meeting that met in the side room at 6:30 am is now going to meet?

Michigan Reader

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

Fraser's Pub! Just kidding.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

I'm sad to see that Chris and Popie opted for such a permanent break from their labor of love, but I understand and wish them well. Thanks, folks! ... Fellow customers, can we cut our losses a bit here? Who can resurrect Peter's eclair recipe, as published in the A2 News back in the 90's? Those Flim-Flam eclairs were just meant for sharing with a good friend, and we need to keep that tradition going.

Sven Gustafson

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

Wow, I hadn't been there in years, but that had to be easily the longest-running business in the Plymouth Mall. Too bad.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

I discovered Flim Flam when I moved to this area in 1987. I enjoyed many meals there. I also enjoyed many moments there. I' sad that it's closing.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

Sorry to see them go-My wife, son and I had breakfast there many weekends when we lived nearby for 30 years. Chris was very community oriented and allowed groups to meet in their "sideroom."


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

Why didn't any of the money he made during the good years go into remodeling and updating the restaurant? Did he save money for the possibility that there may be some lean times? If you are in business for 30 years and the restaurant still looks as it did 30 years ago, I think you will likely not survive for very long (maybe the Fleetwood is the exception). Quite honestly, the last time I went there, I left because the place was so filthy and disgusting. Keeping a place clean does not require large amounts of money.

Anne R.

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:22 a.m.

He definitely had remodeled over the years. I remember that well.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

I was wondering about that. I walk by there on a regular basis. I only dined there once (we don't eat out much). I go by on weekdays at times you'd never expect the place to be full, but it always looked pretty empty. This Depression is likely to drag on for a few more years, until housing actually recovers, so I'm always concerned about how local businesses are doing. Seems like the answer is mostly "surviving, but things are slow".

Tex Treeder

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

What! I just had breakfast there last week! What a shame. This was a great family-run local diner. I know my neighbors and I will miss it.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

Oh No! Our family has been going there for YEARS on Sunday mornings. We were there last Sunday and wish we would have known. Our granddaughter, Anna, grew up there. We took her in the little chair and put her on the table when she was six months old. She is 8 years old now. She LOVED the waitresses and they would get her hot chocolate with whipping cream ready as soon as they saw her come in. We will miss it very very much. What shall we do now!!?? Is it so sad.

Ron Granger

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

Maybe Jenny's farm market in dexter? I hear a lot of people talking about it.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:25 p.m.

Just a quick correction: Flim Flam was open during the 1970's, making it 40 years versus 30 years old. My college roommate was a waitress there in 1975-76, though I believe their original building on Plymouth Rd. isn't the same as the current location. Not sure if the ownership has remained the same, however, which might explain the discrepancy.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

This is a shame. Another neighborhood institution gone. They did liver and onions just right.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

I SO loved their liver and onions!

Go Blue

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

Really a rough one to lose! Flam Flam was a great place to go for a quick, no frills meal. Wish he could have sold the business to someone in an effort to keep it going! Sorry to see you go and you will be sorely missed.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

My wife and I first went there as undergrad in '78. When we moved back to the area after being gone 23 years, Film Fla was still there and we took are boys (high school and college). They were impressed with the food, but the decor did need updating. That's a shame, we'll miss it.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

Spell check on my phone got me... Flim Flam and "our" boys. I'm disappointed that there was no warning. I would have gone to say goodbye. We went every few months, which I'm sure didn't help their bottom line, but it was virtually the ONLY place we went out to breakfast for. When we bought our house here in 2007, the day after closing I woke up (with the family still out-of-state), rolled off my air mattress and went to Flim-Flam. I called my wife at 7:15 while drinking coffee (waking her up) to tell her where I was.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

Fine plates served by better smiles. Good luck everyone and thank you.

Marilyn Wilkie

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Another Ann Arbor institution gone. I have fond memories of ending up there when we got rained out on a construction site while I was a Carpentry Apprentice. I guess you can't take anything good for granted.

Marilyn Wilkie

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

Well at that time we were building condos on Nixon Road right around the corner. Besides, beer in the morning only works when you work the midnight shift imho! lol


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

You worked for the wrong boss, rain outs were meant for Fraser's or Banfields.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Sad to hear of this news. The few times I took my family there, they were always very kind and very kid friendly.