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Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Top 5: Restaurants that I wish were still open in Ann Arbor

By Paula Gardner readers love their restaurants - and they cherish memories of closed eateries in Washtenaw County.

Over the past several weeks, I've written about my Top 5 stores that I wish were still open and my Top 5 restaurants that I hope never change (ala the pending Blimpy Burger change).

Thumbnail image for DrakesFromBentley2.jpg

Drake's - a few decades before I visited it as an undergraduate at U-M.

Combined, those columns generated more than 400 comments from readers inspired to either turn the retail nostalgia to restaurants, or who had their own take on restaurants that they hope never change.

Both columns also prompted several readers to ask, either by email or comments, for a list of Ann Arbor's best closed restaurants.

I'm going to modify that for my own purposes: I've been in town since the mid-1980s and, while I know about many local favorites, I also haven't eaten in many of them. (That's right: I didn't make it to Maude's.)


The former Bagel Factory, now part of the site of Landmark student high-rise on South University.

Lon Horwedel |

And in some cases, I had the chance to visit some reader favorites, but they didn't become my own destinations. (See the La Pinata reference below).

It's also funny that some places never seem to generate a lot of reader response. Are there no Thano's Lamplighter fans out there?

Anyway, this list is based on my own personal experiences. I know many of you will agree with some and disagree with others, and I'm hoping you'll share your reasons.

Here are my Top 5 restaurants that I wish were still open in Ann Arbor:

1. The Old German. It was a townie's delight, located in today's Grizzly Peak space on West Washington, and the decor was dark and intimate. The food? People say they liked it - and that's why I wish I could try it again. I went to the Old German in the weeks before it closed because my husband and his family considered it special and they were sad about its pending closure. He made the mistake of ordering "blutwurst," and the sight of blood sausage didn't help my appetite. I'd love another chance to order from that menu, and then actually eat. (The "other" downtown German restaurant, Metzger's, moved to Zeeb Road in Scio Township. We don't make the "blutwurst blunder" there.)

2. Drake's Sandwich Shop. I can enjoy many of the chain restaurants near campus, but the experience at Panera on North University isn't much different from one anywhere else. You couldn't say that about a stop at Drake's, which created quintessential Michigan memories for generations of students. It closed in 1993, a few years after I had my last limeade with a turkey sandwich in the shop across from the Diag. Now I wish I could take my kids there.

3. Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant. I know many people will mention La Pinata, which served Mexican fare on West Stadium. But for me, the longing is for the steak fajitas and frozen margaritas at the Don Carlos on Washtenaw in Pittsfield Township. The colorful painted bricks of the restaurant now welcome patrons to a laundromat - but once they beckoned crowds to a family-run restaurant that cultivated a passionate following. And no, I never felt the same way about the shorter-lived version in downtown.

4. The Bagel Factory. OK, it's not exactly a restaurant - but it did serve food from its counter, and it had a few tables. This is the location of my first meal in Ann Arbor, when I stopped for a Fragel and papaya juice as a high schooler touring campus. Later, I believe, it expanded - that may or may not have something to do with its demise. It wasn't venerable like Drake's, but the menu was distinctive enough that it created some memories among U-M students "of a certain era." That's me.

5. The Pretzel Bell. I cannot stand that I have no memories about what may be one of the most memorable restaurants in Ann Arbor. I know it was special to students and their parents for decades; I know that memorabilia from the restaurant is prized among locals. But I have no idea what it served or what kind of atmosphere made it so special. I did walk past it; I heard friends talk about it. And I have no idea how I never ended up at the place on East Liberty (in what's still the Pretzel Bell Building) while this place was open for my first two years in town. (It closed in 1985, according to ArborWiki)

(Paula Gardner is Community News Director of She can be reached by email or followed on Twitter.)



Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

I remember the Cracked Crab - always a line outside, always crammed inside, fabulous food, and the best cole slaw in the world.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Our family (rents, sibs, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grands) LOVED Bill Knapps, Ponderosa, and Whiffle Tree. My mom was a waitress at the Old German. We got to eat there fairly often. The hot beef sandwich with a large ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes was my favorite. One more odd choice for me is Kmart! I know it sounds strange, but the cafeteria at the back of the store had some fantastic food. Apple dumplings, balloon sundaes, and French fries with gravy. Also, Kmart had a small snack kiosk in the front of the store that had 99 cent submarine sandwiches that were a staple growing up on the west side of Ann Arbor.

Roy Munson

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

Bill Knapp's


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Kana (for the spicy Tak Bokum mixed with chewy and flavorful rice cajes); Tivoli's (for the omelettes and amazing crisp/creamy rösti); The Southside (for the huevos rancheros and the decadent chocolate waffle with the white chocolate sauce); La Pinata just because it was always fun (and cheap!); and The Afghan Home for the delicate ravioli filled with leeks and green onions and topped with a cinnamon-scented tomato sauce. Bring them all back -- I miss them all!


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Does any one remember the Continental on state?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

I only have memories of the Bagel Factory on this list, but if I could add on 4 of my own, I would Thano's Lamplighter, La Pinata, Forbidden City and Flim Flam. These restaurants made up a huge part of my childhood growing up in Ann Arbor and I can't go past their old locations without getting a rush of nostalgic sadness. RIP you great, great restaurants and memories.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Anyone else really miss Joe Joe's?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 6:15 a.m.

City Bar and Grill was amazing for french fries.... all made from real potatoes and thick... It was one of Andy Gulvezan's (Wiffletree owner) spots located where Full Moon used to be on Main Street... There was this vegetarian restaurant on Washtenaw almost in Ypsilanti, something like Veggie Hut, but it WAS AMAZING.... It only lasted a year or so back in 1999... Too bad, the tofu was great. There's a new Mediterranean spot there now I believe.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 4:54 a.m.

The Burro, JoJo's, WIldflower, Dinersty, Up South Cafe, Steve's Lunch.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

My list would include: Bimbos, Scotty's, Lums, The Cracked Crab (site of my FIRST date!), and Mister S. I miss the bagle factory bagels but not that hideous monstrosity of a building!


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2 a.m.

Scotty's & Lums--Good memory, good choices!


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

Yes, I know the "Original Chipati" is almost the same, but I liked the Roger's Chipati at the old Pizza House next to the new Pizza House. And the atmosphere at the old place was great.... My wife and I had our first date (32 years ago) at Wiffle Tree. Lots of good restaurants gone now. Come to think about it, the only thing in Ann Arbor that has improved in 30 years is the coffee!


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

Spaghetti Machine & Oyster Bar - best pasta in town, and opera music blasting while you ate it. How to beat that? We miss you, Greg Fennerli!


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

AW on West Stadium


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

Iconic places I miss: 1. The Cracked Crab 2. Leo Ping's 3. The Whiffletree 4. Maude's 5. The Pretzel Bell


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.



Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

The Second Chance turned into the Nectarine Ballroom.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

In the late 70's it was Dooley's

Hot Sam

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

When I think breakfast, I miss the Round Table...


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

How about the Dog N Suds on Packard? My brother and I preferred its nickname Arf N Barf! We loved sitting in the car and talking into your speaker and then your order would magically appear!

Atlas Shrugged

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

One of my fondest and missed restaurants: The Oyster Bar and Spaghetti Machine. Was the first place I ate, way back in '77, when I was interviewing for a job here. Went back many times thereafter, with my wife and I never experiencing anything less than a superb meal from a rather diverse menu, and in a great environment.

Hot Sam

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

1. Cracked Crab 2. Oyster Bar and Spaghetti Machine 3. Del Rio 4. Whiffletree 5. Old German


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Everette's Drive In.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

I bet NO ONE remembers The Star Drive-In at Jackson and Baker rds!


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

I remember the Scio Drivein at that location.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Anyone remember the California burgers at Everett's on Stadium? And Fowler's at Stadium and Liberty?

Steve Burling

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Isn't the A&W in Dexter run by the same folks that ran Everett's?


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 8:06 a.m.

Mountain High Ice Cream on Washington and Main had great blueberry ice cream!

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 6:19 a.m.

Thanks for bringing this up. Lots of great memories. Mostly from the comments though. The author's choice of the top five makes me wonder what she really knows about Ann Arbor? For Maude's not to make this list is unconscionable. Drakes and the Bagel Factory, while being Ann Arbor institutions are hardly restaurants (loved both of these places but had better memories of the Bagel Factory - hard salami with swiss on a warm salt bagel with a pickle is hard to beat). AND to chose Don Carlos instead of La Pinata (which was a restaurant and an A2 institution) is a crime. Have you no taste or were you above eating there? In her defense, to name just five is impossible to get right. I was never a steady patron of the Pretzel Bell or The Old German and will not deny that these two meet all categories (A2 institutions, good food, great atmosphere and good times). Perhaps it would be better to have separate lists including full serve restaurants, bar restaurants and ethnic restaurants and an other category. My list in these categories. Full Serve Restaurants - Maudes, Wiffletree, Lord Fox, Red Bull, Mountain Jacks Bar/Restaurants - Del Rio, Bimbos Ethnic Themed Restaurants - LaPinata, Parthenon, Thanos Lamplighter, Forbidden City, Szechuan West (in its prime in the 80's) Other - Bagel Factory, Central Cafe, Drakes My $0.02

Jim H

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:03 a.m.

Old German and Franks

Steve Burling

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

Frank's is still there, and still has good French Toast, although Pete's ham and feta omelette is my personal favorite.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 7:20 a.m.

OMG, how could I forget about Franks Restaurant on Maynard?! THE BEST FRENCH TOAST EVER. I remember Gus always came over to talk to my parents every time we ate there... and all of his sons worked in the kitchen! The good ole' days...


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:18 a.m.

To those of you out there my age, I miss Burger Chef and Jeff. You now what I mean. Thanks Hardeey's for buying them out. Now you are nowhere to be found.

Jeff Renner

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:07 a.m.

Escoffier, anyone?


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

I remember it well...and it was also hit and miss sometimes...some dinners were great, and some were quite memorable because of grand meal that sticks in my mind was Dover sole with a grapefruit reduction. It was quite awful. Other than that, the fare was enjoyable but not enough for its "spendy" prices. It just goes to show, the highest cost and most pretentious isn't always the best. The "in crowd" ate there just to say they had.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

Golly wobbler, windows, bimbos, Great Lakes steak, ponderosa


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

The McDonald's on South U. It closed down because it was "too real" for a near-campus food joint. I miss the horrible service and food. Always good for a laugh.

Pam Sinclair

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

My husband and I used to stop at Thano's for lunch while doing our Xmas shopping downtown near campus. We'd often order the "Perry's Grecian Delight" pizza (feta cheese, spinach, kalamata olives, gyro meat, onions). It was inexpensive and filling!

Amanda Erickson

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

Does anyone remember Wildflour Bakery??!! Their Veggie Roll Ups were heavenly...anyone that has a Wildflour Bakery Cookbook laying around...I will buy it off of you! :) oh...and UNO's, Drakes, Del Rio, Eve, Pastabilities...


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

Sorry, Everett's-- new key pad

John Koupal

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

Hard to top the "best of" suggestions already in the 200 comments, but here are a few more blasts from the past: Southside Grille - Packard & State, enormous pancakes "Food" - State St (known by the "Food" sign out front - real name Joanna's?) Steve's Lunch - South U. $1.99 breakfast special, great Korean food Cafeteria in basement of Goodyear's - really old school


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

Film Flam, Frontier Beef Buffet, Fowler's Pancake House, Friar Tuck's, Cottage Inn Scene, Chuck Wagon followed by Fraser's-still there, Bimbo's On The Hill, Blazo's, sandwich counter at the Food & Drug, The Satellite followed in the same location by Orange Julius, The Elks on Main St., Gingham Inn ( ok, arguably Ypsilanti), Bombay Bicycle Club, Village Inn followed by Uno's, sandwich counter at The Michigan Pharmacy, Quality Bakery-ok, only donuts, Annie's Dugout-thankfully, now Knights, Leveretts-California burgers, etc.

Steve Burling

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

I wondered whether anyone would mention the Satellite -- that was my first non-newpaper-delivery job.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Just saw this after mentioning Everett's and Fowler's.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

The Town Club! It was a private dinner club on Washington. There's a parking lot there now.

Max Gibson

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

I miss Drakes, Indian Summer, Central Cafe, Mr. Flood's Party (Where my brother's band played), The Del Rio, Bicycle Jims, Chez Crepe, The Purple Onion, Quality Bakery and more. We did visit The Betsy Ross in Nichols Arcade when I was in High School. I miss the fun, but not the food. I also miss the soda fountain at the Michigan Pharmacy. I loved Saunder's ice cream shop at Arborland where my mom sometimes took us for special occassions. Sigh.

J Schaffer

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

Whiffletree was the best. Loved the escargot and great steaks.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

Don Carlos was the best! I loved the Chimichanga and the $2 22oz beers during happy hour made it a favorite destination for after work libations for me. I worked as a bartender at Maudes in the early 90's before it closed and the BBQ ribs were great! I miss Bill Knapps, I have many memories of Sunday dinners with my grandparents and Birthday dinners every year. The chocolate cake was awesome. But my all time favorite was the prime rib from the cafeteria in the basement of the Michigan League! It always amazed me that U of M had such a great eateries for the students and staff and they replaced it with a Wendy's and a Taco Bell!

John B

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

Not in any order Maude's Pretzel Bell Bimbos Parthenon La Pinata Bagel factory gets an honorable mention, they had a cinnamon bagel that was kick ass.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

As a student I used to go to a steak house on State Street --the entrance was in an alley next to the State theater. If you use the alley you walk right by the old entrance, now closed with steel grates over the doors. The owner greeted students as they walked through the cafeteria style line as "professor". Order your steak and sides, sit down, and they brought the meal. Pretty good place at a reasonable price.

Steve Burling

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

Oh, yeah. Best Steak House. Loved the Texas Toast.

West Side Mom

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

Bella Ciao - Great food, great atmosphere. Oyster Bar & Spaghetti Machine - DH still misses the lobster pasta LaPinta - food was good, not great, but something like it would be a welcome local alternative/change of pace to the Roadhouse and Knight's for us westsiders. If only Chela's had more space and a liquor license Delong's BBQ - Can still remember my first plate of take-out, topped off with white bread A&W on Stadium - part of the fun of living off the Stadium strip


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

- Drakes (for candy & retro interior, beautiful signage) - PanTree (late-night nachos) - Purple Pickle - Old German - Betsy Ross (I think that was the name, it was a diner/restaurant within the Nickels Arcade when I was really young) - Bimbo's (downtown) - Maude's - A&W (on Stadium Blvd...would not ordinarily miss a chain, but their hot dogs & root beer were the best and not the same at other locations...the drive-in service made it complete) - Goodyears' quirky basement cafeteria & mayo-heavy sandwiches - ...and secretly, I wish Metzger's would move back downtown, but I was so relieved that they reopened out on Zeeb Rd. & re-created as much of the old interior as possible. They have always held a special significance for my family, by far our favorite local (and historic) restaurant!

Stephen Landes

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

Chez Crepe, Bombay Bicycle Club, Cracked Crab, Maude's, P-Bell (as in P-Bell booze is very fine booze courtesy of the Glee Club and "Michigan Men" -- and the steamed Russian Black Rye bread was pretty good).

Real Life

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

The one I miss the most is the Whiffletree.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

Oh, I miss the Synconizada (sp?) which was a huge flour tortilla stuffed with guacamole, Chihuahua cheese, and roasted chilis at Don Carlos and the margaritas as well. I miss the bad opera, steak torenados, and Scallops St. Jaque at The Oyster Bar/Spaghetti Machine...thought I got their garlic salad dressing recipe from an A2 News food reporter a few years ago :O) I miss Drakes, the wee wooden booths, skinny grilled cheese, tiny cups of hot chocolate - and old Mr. Tibbles and his UM footballs :O)


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

The best part about all these wonderful restaurants was that when they were around I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound. I've gained 10 today just reading the comments and reminiscing. I miss Maude's, Spaghetti Machine & Oyster Bar, The Whiffletree, P-Bell (as much for the RFD Boys as the food) and Great Lakes Shipping (a lot of work lunches & memories there).

Bruce Madej

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

MY FIVE 1-D'Amatos---(one of the most underrated restaurants we had here in AA) 2-Maude's 3-The Whiffletree 4-The Old German 5-Red Bull


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

Don Carlos over La Pinata? Nuts. Don Carlos was okay, but too much like frozen dinner Mexican food. La Pinata was fantastic and always crowded on the weekend. Bimbos too. Bimbos was great. Downtown, not so much Bimbos on the hill.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

I've read through the entire list, so I will add two that I haven't seen yet & offer additional comments. 1) JoJo's Juice Bar next to PFC on 4th is irreplaceable. After its namesake died, his wife Irene kept the place going with the best spanakopita and lentil soup. Fie on the landlords who thought that Smoothie King could ever take her place. The smoothies & juice drinks at JoJos were also the best. The ones at Cafe Verde come close at twice the price. 2) The Southside Diner was a breakfast and lunch place on the corner of Packard & State. The stuffed french toast was great, and it was a treat to take the family there on Sunday mornings. I heard that ownership squabbles killed it, but poor parking has killed every other restaurant there since. Lucky for us, the Northside Diner opened in the old Cloverleaf location on Broadway. Long Live the Northside. I don't understand the love for Don Pablo's or La Pinata, when Sabor Latino and Fiesta Mexican offer better food. If it's the faux-Mexican atmosphere you miss, the "new" Tios has that, plus decent faux Mexican food, great tequila, AND (imo) great staff (ymmv). Last, but not least, there was a short lived Northern Indian/Pakistani restaurant in Braun Ct. next to the Aut Bar. I can't remember the name, but the Dal Makhni was to die for.

Michigan Reader

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

I heard a credible rumor that before she ever left Ann Arbor for New York, Madonna used to hang out at the Bagel Factory. I know for a fact she lived at University Towers, so maybe the proximity to the shop was a reason she hung out there.

Jacqui G

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Drakes - miss the atmosphere and the cinnamon buns Central Cafe - miss the mexican breakfast Maude's - miss the atmosphere and the fried ice cream

Steve Burling

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Leo Ping, I think the only Chinese restaurant in Ann Arbor when we moved here in the mid-60's. Not missed so much as remembered fondly for the time a drunk took exception to my really wide purple bell bottoms while I was waiting to get in. (What can I say -- I was a Pioneer kid at the time...) Of course, once the Old China opened in Ypsi, Leo Ping was dead to us :-).


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Michigan League in the 70's 80's would do from scratch cafeteria style...they would do theme nights Michigan, various countries..great food affordable.

Dexter Man

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

Delongs for those ribs. Wiffle Tree Bimbo's downtown Maude's


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

we used to skip school. the old ann arbor high school on state street. go to drake's. walk in the front door and all you saw is students. high school and collage. do not know how they made money but what a wounder meeting place. yup i sure do miss those thoughts.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

I've not heard/seen any reference to "The Betsy Ross" ...a great place located in the Nichols Arcade. It was best for breakfast and lunch! The Johnson family who owned/managed it were wonderful. Students, U of M faculty, business employees from the State Street/Liberty area and other locals all patronized The Betsy Ross.

Lynn Glazewski

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

I really miss the Central Cafe on Main. After the bars closed, you could go there at sit at a table next to the band you just spent the evening listening to at Flood's. This is going way back, but does anyone remember the name of the 2 story restaurant in the early 70s on State Street, at the corner of Nichols Arcade?


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Could have been Blazo's

Chip Reed

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

It was called PJ's. There was also one on South U.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

That was a Pancake House, or something similar. It opened after The Betsy Ross closed, which was nearer to the center of the Nichols Arcade.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

Don't remember the two story place, but across the street was Indian Summer.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

the p-bell was a special occasion when i was a student in the late 60's. . . my boyfriend would take me there to "splurge"every once and a while. working at the old st. joe part time to pay for tuition (a whopping $400/semester at the time) meant not being reckless with spare change. at the p-bell, an order of the best clam chowder in the world (great big bowl) and oh-so-delicious black bread (i think you got a whole loaf, or maybe half for a couple bucks) was a bargain. we loved the place, lingered there and eventually trekked back to campus with astonishingly full bellies. another place i adored was pizzeria uno. delectable seafood pizza, same with their italian sausage one. so much stuff on a slice, it was a challenge to eat more than one. a whole pie could suffice for most of a week! yum, was it good. . . this was on s. university--replaced a p-bell offshoot that was in that location for a while, if i remember.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Yeah, I lloved the P-Bell for lunch.....nice salad bar, buffet, and bread.. Then one day I read in the AA news that they were temporarily closed by the health dept. for contaminated kitchen conditions. Don't think they lasted long after that. Used to love going to the PBell at night and watching 21 yr olds try to chug a pitcher of beer on their birthday.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

Hey - I just remembered the Washington Street Station! Where Arbor Brewing Co. is now. That was a zany place. There was upside-down furniture and other objects hanging from the ceiling. Nice, varied menu and tasty food.

Ned Racine

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

1.Spaghetti Machine 2.Purple Pickle - Reubens! 3.Bimbo's 4. Lamplighter 5. Wiffletree


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Iggy Pop worked at the Purple Pickle...

Chester Copperpot

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Oh, and The Magic Pan!

Chester Copperpot

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

Forbidden City! I have fond memories getting the "Imperial dinner for 5" with my family on a regular basis...oh and Bill knapps... Lol

On The Huron

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

I had my surprise 30th birthday party at Forbidden City and my wife got a belly dancer. The party guests and regular patrons really enjoyed it and so did I. They had the best fried rice. Great place for lunch.

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:31 a.m.

Probably consistently the best all around Chinese I've had in Ann Arbor in the thirty plus years I've been in the Deuce. Our favorite waitress "Nancy" (her american name) always pronounced our favorite dish as "parice beef" (for palace beef). She was wonderful and the food was always good.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

A bit upscale and maybe too far out of town (East - on Plymouth Rd. I think) was the Lord Fox. They specialized in lobster dinners. A good place to romance a date. Happened to be my favorite place where I took my wife-to-be when we were dating. (Now I have to wonder: was it me or the lobster that charmed her? LOL!) OMG! That was 38 years ago!! I really appreciate the LIST of great places mentioned in these comments. Some I had forgotten - our list IS LONG!

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:28 a.m.

Forgot about the Lord Fox. Had to be one of the best in Ann Arbor, but kind of outside of Ann Arbor. It was fun to pick the trout you wanted to eat out of the tank. Great atmosphere and a beautiful building from the outside.

Little Patience

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

I wondered if the Lord Fox was still open. I remember my old boss taking his dept. there for lunches. It wasn't my favorite, but it was okay.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Thano's Lamplighter: I used to order their calamari regularly. Thano and his wife were great hosts and even served me dessert free of charge a couple of times. I still run into Thano occasionally - he's a great guy and still full of life. But I have to agree: the Cracked Crab was the place knowledgable townies would go to have wonderful (generous portion) seafood dinners. "Beer Battered Everything" was on their menu and the customer lines in the evening would run clear down the block on Friday / Saturday nights. I clearly remember the weekday in 1976 when our daughter was born - including the memory of going to the Cracked Crab that afternoon to celebrate with Beer Battered Shrimp and a Bloody Mary. I never have been able to understand why such a typical Ann Arbor restaurant could close up. (Same goes for Thanos and The Spaghetti Machine & Oyster Bar on E. Huron.)

On The Huron

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Best waitress at the Crab, Lauri P.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

We used to go to Thano's with my team - but I remember once, right before they closed, I had a corner of a plastic boil bag served under my lasagna...oh well I miss it anyway - and I agree with the pizza praises wish it was still available.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

Hey -- next time you see Thano tell him to sell his pizza recipe to a deserving restaurant so we can continue to eat his wonderful pizza.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Here are votes for two diverse restaurants: 1) Pretzel Bell hands-down was my favorite of by-gone days. It was well-liked as the classic place to go when you turn 21 and for great Michigan memorabilia and tables with carved names and initials and whatever. The atmosphere was terrific. I remember one time eating lunch there when Bo and Rick Leach sat down at a table near me (when Rick when still in school). 2) Another vote for Schuler's. I was pleased when the location at what's now the Best Western (23 and Plymouth Rd) opened since the closest location before that was in Jackson. Took several of my favorite ladies there for dinner. Very disappointed when all the locations closed. The Marshall restaurant is still open and still terrific. Of course, Metzger's was off the map for a while and a welcome sight when it returned. That was also my father's favorite (Class of '25E), so an institution as far as I am concerned.

SmokeStack Lightning

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Don't forget about the 'Olympia' on N. Main for a great, but usually greasy breakfast, 24/7. Another, 'The Whiffle Tree' and maybe it's still there, (I don't frequent AA anymore), 'The Cracked Crab'.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Maybe I missed it, because I saw a lot of DeLong's BBQ, but no one mentioned the best BBQ in town ever, Mr. Rib. When he had the storefront on Packard it was easier to get the food regularly than tracking down his stand. Didn't have a great eye for finances (or taxes) but everything they served from ribs to cornbread was great.

Steve Burling

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

mmmmm, Soul on a Roll...


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

Drakes, Maude's, Whiffle Tree, and Pretzel Bell.

MD from ChiTown

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

No one mentioned Sweet Lorraine's??? They had great food and a wonderful wine list.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

Thano's Lamplighter. I don't know what they did to their pizza, but it still is my all-time favorite. A lot of the restaurants mentioned here had a heyday - a time when their food was excellent. A lot of them changed ownership (maybe because of their popularity) and went downhill. People with less time in Ann Arbor may wonder why some of the long-timers are raving about places they experienced as mediocre.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

Best. Pizza. Ever.

MD from ChiTown

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

1. Bimbos - We celebrated many childhood birthdays there. The music was fun (singing along was encouraged) and we could throw peanut shells on the floor. 2. Whiffletree - We'd go there for dinner before the midnight movies back in my college days as a special treat. 3. Central Cafe - A favorite stop after the bar or concert back in the day. 4. Bicycle Jim's - (Not sure what's there now..haven't been that way in a while) It was a favorite stop during the Art Fair. Great atmosphere and the food was good.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

No one has mentioned Szechuan West when they were going strong, especially in the 80s. They evidently lost their chef and went through a number of vicissitudes later. But in the 80s the "Chef's Special Duck" was our celebration meal - boneless, with a special sauce.

Richard Peterson

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

I mentioned it above . . . same time frame you recall and the food was great back then. Never went back after the mid 80's so I can't comment on the decline


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

very true. they went from being one of the best chinese places to one of the very worst.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

I second a lot of the places mentioned above. I would add the Oyster Bar & Spaghetti Machine (great entrees, salad bar and bread).

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:24 a.m.

Great salad bar and loved the dish with lots of garlic and pine nuts (my wife went into labor with our first shortly after that one). One of the most interesting atmospheres in all of Ann Arbor also.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

and that chocolate mousse!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

I miss Mountain Jacks and Anderson Steaks.

Jeff Renner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

Denali Cafe. Wonderful northern Indian food.

MD from ChiTown

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

Great Chicken Tika wraps with green chutney!!

Jeff Renner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

I know I've got that name wrong. Maybe Manali Cafe? It was on Washington and Fifth, I think. The Blue Nile expanded into it, I think.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Maude's replaced the Golden Falcon. Both were favorites. There was nothing more deadly than the Blue Cheese Burger at the Red Bull. And you could finish yourself off with the Red Bull's great onion rings. You can now repeat that damage at the Village Pub.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

The Central Café. Best huevos rancheos, surliest waitstaff. Always entertaining.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

Nobody misses Mountain Jacks... I feel like I wasted three years of my life tending bar there! Other places I worked that are no longer with us: Bimbo's on the Hill Big Boy (at Washtenaw and Huron Pkwy) Bird of Paradise (had a great burger when I was tending bar- and cooking the burgers) The Jewish/Italian deli on State St that I can't remember the name of.. The Stage Door

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:20 a.m.

I thought Mountain Jacks was good also. Very reliable great food, just not an Ann Arbor classic like some of the others.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:49 a.m.

It didn't pop to mind, but it was a favorite, and no, you did not waste your time--they served good drinks!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

When I first came to town there were three all-night restaurants. Fleetwood, still kicking; PanTree, surprisingly good food including steamed cactus; and the one nobody has mentioned: Central Cafe, in that one-floor building on Main where a Chinese restaurant now operates. I still miss that one; it seemed to attract true night owls and not just sodden pub-crawlers. Anyone?


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:35 a.m.

PanTree overlooked Liberty Square above the bookstore, right? That must have been open late, we went there after closing a nightclub so that was at least 3 a.m.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

I know that the lamplighter was sort of run down the last few years of its existence but It made my favorite pizza. Wish I knew of a restaurant that made pizza exactly the same way.

MD from ChiTown

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Lamplighter is gone??? I've been away too long!!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Whiffletree Del Rio Maude's Bimbo's Steve's Lunch And the Jewish/Italian deli that was on State St. in between Olga's (which I also liked) and the State Theater...


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

I miss Burro near NYPD--they had a great guacmole wrap--and also Dynersty who had tremendous szechuan tofu.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

I practically grew up at Drakes and the Parthenon. My mom was a bit of a shopper and not much of a cook. Several times a week we came downtown, if we hit Jacobsons then it was Drakes, if it was closer to Main St then it was the Parthenon. Either way we ate at one of them 2 or 3 times a week. Every Saturday my dad would want to go to (the orignal) Borders, which always meant Drakes for lunch. There were always some police officers stopping by to chat. If we were ever going to see a movie at the State then it was to Drakes for candy to smuggle into the movie. One morning we got in the car to head over to the Wiffletree, only to pull into the parking lot across the street to watch the smoldering ashes and the few fireman hanging out keeping an eye on it, it had burned down the evening before. :(


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

Ahmos makes a great Gyro-- at least the one on Dexter ave. They're my parthenon replacement


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

Really miss the Spaghetti Machine and Pastabilities


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

When I saw the headline, my first thought was "Drakes". Glad to see it on your list!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Not to be difficult Paula, but wasn't this same column run about a month ago but with different restaurants?


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

Ah yes, this article flows nicely from the first. Thank you for clearing that up for me!

Paula Gardner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

It does seem familiar, doesn't it? I wrote about the 5 restaurants I hoped would never move - but many readers wanted to talk about closed restaurants. So I promised to do this by the end of the year to keep the memories flowing. Glad I did, too - it's bringing back memories for me!

Phil Dokas

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

For anyone missing Drake's, there is an exceptional set of photographs from right before it closed on Flickr. This is well worth your time if you'd like to reminisce:

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

This is not the page you're looking for. :(

Phil Dokas

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

And maybe this time the link will be a link:


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

The Rib Cage BBQ on Huron had the best ribs in town, the BBQ King on Main and Summit, and my favorite was the Old German. I really liked Fritz's German meat patties. La Piñata also had great beef burritos. I also agree with Dan that the A&W and Everetts are missed.

On The Huron

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

Everett's was a great diner, good breakfasts (anytime) and get your own coffee, as well as a table-side juke box.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

The Continental Restaurant it was on State. I worked there for about 2yrs really loved the place. Had my 1st Reuben there.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

No one has mentioned Manika's, the small, old-school diner once on Main Street. I used to crave a basic Manika's diner lunch on a lazy Saturday and would go specifically downtown to get one. The food was good and the waitress called you "hon," though sometimes you might not see her for a while because she was scratching off a dozen lottery cards she had just bought next door at Richardson's (remember Richardson's, before CVS killed all the local pharmacy stores?). I still miss Manika's. Sure, there are lots of expensive places that are gone, but those are a dime a dozen in A2 these days! The cheap options have all but vanished, thought I suppose the Cloverleaf still exists. I miss the Parthenon too, and for the same reason.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Of course - the Fleetwood! I forgot about that. Okay, so there's still a cheap AND iconic place to go downtown. Now I may need to do that! Haven't had a plate of hippie hash in a while...!

MD from ChiTown

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

Agreed!! My Dad worked for Richardson's. I miss the Parthenon as well. Are any authentic Greek restaurants left in Ann Arbor? There was one that was only open for a short time in the old Sweet Lorraine's spot. As for cheap options, I think the Fleetwood is still open (love their Hippie Hash). There may be others I don't know about.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

Manika's hot roast beef sandwich was GREAT!!!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

Spaghetti Machine, Stadium Tavern, Purple Pickle

Paul McCarthy

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

Yes! I was looking for the Spaghetti Machine (best salad bar the town ever had) and also Stadium Tavern, and you picked them both up.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

For lunch downtown nothing beat the Round Table orignally on huron st across from the bus station then moving to w libery st. I also liked down town eating a Minakas. On south U, I really liked the village Bell thier primeplank rib was awesome. Lamplighter for deep dish tray of pizza so much cheese you felt like you were chewing bubble gum, hands down the best. also nobody could beat DeLongs BBQ in this area. I enjoyed a burger called the Ollie Burger at Lums on plymouth rd. the spagehetti Machine on Huron was a nice little spot on huron st where goodnight gracies is or wasI enjoyed as a child The Sugar Bowl on main st.. and if in a hurry thier was always the lunch counters at kreseges,woolworth,cunninghams or food & drug. Hanging in A2 since 1949.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

I grew up 1/2 block from the Food & Drug and thought of Mr Jones and Mr O'Sullivan as my extended family. I loved them very much and consider it one of my favorite childhood memories to have shopped there every single day. I vaguely recall the soda counter along the back right wall upon entering. I was perpetually rescuing lost dogs and they always loaned me a leash to aid in the process of locating the families.

vicki honeyman

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

THE DEL RIO!!!!! how could you not mention the del, paula?!


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

Det good

Steve Burling

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

mmmmm, a Del Rio burrito, smothered in Mama Jules'... Or the half-pizza on whole-wheat crust (Pizza Bob's recipe).


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

1803 called, they want their list back.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Eve. Granted, I'm relatively new to town. But Eve left a hole that hasn't been filled yet.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

right on on these!

Marie Willnow

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

I miss Don Carlos too! The food was always good and they made amazing margaritas.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

bagel factory picture was after they remodeled and became uglier i hated the look when i came back abiutma decade after i graduated ot a local but was student in the 70s so my perspective is frm that time in my life and i lived in the east side of camous whiffletree winshulers (still have a cheese crock) drakes miller's ice cream (life saver when my wisdom teeth were pulled) del rio cottage inn pizza maudes when i visited in the 80s bicycle jims was not great but great for students steves diner in the same block farrels was fun after going to the movies - anye eat th zoo?


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

Yep, I liked Bicycle Jim's and who can forget about the wold famous Steve's Diner? Steve's diner closed within the past 10 or years. BTW: I forgot about the WIn Schulers on the corner of Stadium and Jackson (A2 westside location)


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

ps i know cottage inn is still there but it seems different than what it was


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Doesn't anyone remember the good old Whiffletree? Drakes, of course, is a tremendous loss.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Whiffletree had the best fries and french onion soup! What a great restaurant that was, it is surely missed.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

they were ahead of the time on the homemade fries that were like hot potato chips


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

If I could bring one restaurant back it would be Zanzibar. Their chilaquiles and Huevos rancheros on Sunday were the best in town, and they had a duck salad that was amazing!

Charlotte Allport

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Ihave memories of going to the Pretzel Bell as a child with my parents. It was a lively atmosphere, always very busy. I remember watching the waitressess who were college students. It always smelled so good! My favorite was the warm rye bread they served. The walls were covered with photos of Ann Arbor and sports heros from UM. It was a wonderful place to go and left me excited about going to college.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

We miss La Pinata the most. After that Whiffletree, Hinodae, Oyster Bar. Bimbo's and the P. Bell were good for what they were. Still think Drake's is pretty overrated.

James Toy

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Decades ago one of my friends and I went to the Old German a lot. My friend would take his Siamese cat along and drape it around his neck when we went into the restaurant. The servers ("waitresses" back then) loved the cat. I expect that today a cat wouldn't be welcomed. We also went to the "P Bell" a lot. One evening we were with Georgia Lumbard, who with her husband Robert and children operated the friendliest restaurant in town. That evening I said, "I think this beer is weak or watered." Georgia tasted it and said "Absolutely!" We asked the server about it. The manager came over and said , "We don't water our beer!" Georgeia said, "Excuse me, I operate a restaurant and know when beer is watered. . . ." Who remembers the Key Club (City Club? Town Club?) downtown? You had to be a member or a guest of a member to get in.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

My parents and some of their friends belonged to the Town Club. I recall glaring into the glass cabinet with gum and candy near the entrance. I was, and still am, addicted to the Holland Mints that were in a clear plastic circular container! For my 14th birthday I had the honor of going to dinner there with my adorable dad as my date! This would have been the very early 70's. My father passed away just last month at 94 and we never forgot our date there!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Ah yes!! The Ann Arbor Town Club..Members (and guests of members) were well treated.... ahhh....memories, memories....


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

The Whiffletree for sure! Maude's, Bimbos, The Cracked Crab, and Delong's BBQ Pit - the only place I ever had BBQ trout - sounds weird, but dang it was good! Thanks for the list Paula. Your columns have been quite fun to read.

On The Huron

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

DeLong's trout was fantastic! And you had to get sauce on your fries.

Dog Guy

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

I miss those restaurants which served Liederkranz cheese, dark bread, and dark beer as appetizer.

Richard Carter

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

I got to be a regular at the Bagel Factory for a few years back in the 90s... fond memories there, and one of my favorite random-stranger moments will always stick with me -- "My Girl" was playing on the radio, and two counter people, another customer and I all realized at once that we were all silently mouthing the words, and the four of us broke into song on the chorus ... "I guess you'll say / What can make me feel this way? My girl..."


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

Fun topic as we head into 2013 and I agree with many on the list. The P-Bell was one of the best in the Downtown district. The Bagel Factory was special for it's freshly baked bagels and was the first of it's kind. I miss Win Schuler's which had the best soups. It was a small Michigan based franchise and there may still be the original one open in Marshall, MI (west of Jackson). The A2 location was on Plymouth Road near US 23. I also miss the original Pizza Bob's. Seems they invented the 6 foot party sub back in day. A favorite for those living in West and South Quad dorms. One more: The Delta restaurant (former Packard Pub), they had the best ever French Toast for breakfast.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Gotta add the Whiffle Tree & Bimbos on Washington - loved both of those


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

Drakes, DeLongs, Del Rios. The very best. Hmmm. All D's. Also rans.... Cafe Creole, The Afgani Home Restaurant, Kamakura. Sigh. And does anyone remember a place called Tofu Hut?? I used to eat there all the time. BTW, I arrived in 1975.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

Yes - DeLong's BBQ - definitely miss that one!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

At least at Panera one gets good service and that couldn't be said for Drakes. The Pretzel Bell was good, not great, but it was an "institution". Nothing that replaced it has lasted as long. Unfortunately, it declined because of awful management, and seeing roaches climb up the salad bar is my lingering memory. The Old German was a place where one could feel very welcome, and Bud Metzger would come and talk to you at your table. I have good memories of that place. The stein collection along the wall was amazing. Bagel factory - the Fragel was my favorite. The one place I really miss from downtown is not a restaurant. It is Afterwords book store.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:39 a.m.

I never had a problem with service at Drake's, however, I have found the Ann Arbor Panera near campus pathetic in terms of their employees. Just my own experience.

Jeff Renner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

I remember watching the Old German fire in 1975 and hearing the high pressure fire hoses knock down the wonderful collection of Mettlach steins off the shelves. It was spring break, so I wasn't teaching that week. I had just dropped my wife off at work at U Hospital, and drove back parked and walked over. I stood next to Bud Metzger's across the street part of the time. He looked absolutely stricken, of course. Happily, he rebuilt and even expanded, and replaced the steins. We enjoyed nearly another 20 years.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

I miss the Wiffletree. Wonderful Duck Breast!! Cute server ...Kim


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

Kim Towsley(SP)...Very nice lady.

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:11 a.m.

My favorite server was Charlotte Clark.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Does anyone remember Doughboys Bakery in Kerrytown or Pastabilities? I miss those places too! Doughboys had some of the best sugar cookies.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

doughboys also had a main street location, i think one on stadium too. unbelievable desert with crisp pears and marzipan and nuts and creme cheese and a crunchy crust. my fave desert ever. also, chocolate croissants and almond croissants that i've not found better anywhere else.

MD from ChiTown

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

I used to work in Kerry town in the 90's. I was a regular at both those places. I also miss Kav's, Sweet Lorraine's (miss their Nicoise Salad), and Kerrytown Bistro as well. There was a breakfast place there as well called Tivoli (I believe) that made good omelets.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Thanks for bringing up Pastabilities. They had a delightful lunch room in the north section of Kerrytown that included a cafeteria-style selection of pastas, sauces and salads. The selection rotated somewhat. You were served according to your choices (not self-service) and it made for a light, refreshing lunch option. They also sold pasta by the pound and the sauces for take-home there.

Tom Smith

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Definitely the Cracked Crab (the earlier version), Drake's, Pretzel Bell, Farrell's, and Lamplighter's. Pizza Bob's. The Bagel Factory. Whiffletree. Fuji, the Japanese restaurant that used to be in Kerrytown -- they had a dish called "yakiniku", a garlicky beef, that was simply amazing, as well as lightly-dressed salads (rather than the quasi-creamy ginger dressing most places use nowadays) that I've never quite been able to replicate. (I also remember Kamakura, but that wasn't all that good.) There also used to be a Pizzeria Uno, right across the street from the Bagel Factory. Simply great. Last but not least, DeLong's Barbecue Pit. Tangy, tender -- my first real barbecue.

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:10 a.m.

Pizza Bob's is still there. I also liked Pizzeria Uno which has not been mentioned much here in the comments but there are so many.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Don Carlos, for sure! I miss that place so much. And although I never had a chance to go there, Bimbo's. Simply because it sounds so fun and it's also where my parents met. And even though it's still around, I miss the old location of Metzger's. I also really remember being bummed out when Uno's left on South U.

Richard Peterson

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Lots of great memories here . . . one that isn't mentioned is Brandy's on Main Street. I loved the fajitas there and even tried to recreate the 'Brandy's Sauce'. I also liked playing backgammon at the Bombay Bicycle Club and dnners at Szechuan West. Chi Chi's wasn't exactly memorable, but as a college student, I appreciated the cheap, plentiful meals . . . and who can forget the spicy sauce on Snappy's Pizza! Yum!!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

I'm surprised there isn't much talk about Wiffletree, Cracked Crab and Bimbo's. What's the deal?

Dan Ezekiel

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

This is a fun topic and a good list, Paula. My top five would be Cracked Crab, Bagel Factory, Miller's Ice Cream (one on South U and one on Main St.) and two that haven't been mentioned: Everett's California Burger on W. Stadium and the U Club, in the Michigan Union, which was open to the public when I was a student in the late 1970's (when the legal drinking age was 18). The U Club featured $5 pitchers of Molson in a beautiful, quiet environment, a relaxing place away from the clamor and plastic of the other campus watering holes. I also really miss the A & W that was across the street from Everett's, as well as the Del Rio (the food, not the service!)


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

the U club is still there and open to the public -- but no more bar. Except the salad bar. Not a bad place for lunch.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

I can't do just five, maybe I've been around too long: #1 Thano's Lamplighter - Best pizza I've evet had, my son has recreated the recipe #2 Pretzel Bell - Still remember drinking 21 beers on my birthday and RFD Boys #3 Old German - Great food and atmosphere #4 Drake's - Great Atmosphere, kind of going back in time #5 3-Way Tie: Wiffletree Sweet Lorraine's Bimbo's Downtown It's happy to remember all these great places but sad that they're gone.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

OMG -- Thanos pizza was absolutely the best -- share the recipe?.....


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Don Carlos had an awesome lunch buffet. I made the mistake of eating there before my shift at Ford. The cheese enchiladas bogged me down, and I almost missed production.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

I also miss Eve and Bicycle Jims's. I liked the crepe place on main where Pickly Pear is the Central Cafe.

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:06 a.m.

Forgot about the Central Cafe. Saturday morning and huevos rancheros, no better way to start the weekend.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

Chez Crepe, and it was wonderful.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

Was it called Alexandra's?


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Bimbo's on the hill!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

I miss Eve in Kerrytown!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

I miss the Kerrytown Bistro!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

Sweet Lorraine's should be near the top of this list. It had a creative menu and was wildly popular in the mid-late 90s. As I understand it, the only reason it closed was because Lorraine got the Marriott gig (can't say that I blame her). That no other restaurant has succeeded in that space is further testament to its success.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

I miss Sunflower Cafe Arriba Azure


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

This is off topic and may get deleted but oh well.It appears a thumbs down troll left at about 8:00.I mean really,why would you thumbs down anyone on a article like this ?


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

I have noticed a lot of trolls on this site voting down. I am trying to up all of them. But not making progress. This too shall get a neg rating as well. But do I care? Nope. As long as they give me a Farrels ice cream, a Bimbos pizza and what ever is left from the Whiffletree.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

BTW.....I wouldn't classify a memory as a view.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

bwp.....Ok......I have no idea what you are talking about.Have you read the comments here ? if you had you would note that this is my only ( I guess this one makes two ) comment.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Maybe they didnt agree with your culinary views , Timmy.

Paula Gardner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

I noticed that, too. Inexplicable , except - haters gonna hate, as they say.

Jack Baker

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Im surprised WhiffleTree and Cracked Crab didn't make this list.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

You forgot "Bimbo's both location's one where Arbor brewery is and the other one where Paesano's is on washtenaw. I worked at Pretzel Bell in high school it was known for its ambrosia, apple pie and steaks, most of all it was the atmosphere before game day and after the game it was the place to be I was a teenager so it was just a job to me but its cool to have been one of many workers whom spent time there.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7 p.m.

The "PBell" was THE PLACE to go when you turned drinking age!! You got a free pitcher of beer and if you could stand on the table and drink it all they'd ring the bell for you!! FUN!!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

The Cracked Crab was superior before they enlarged it. Many great meals there. Also the Whiffletree even though I sensed it was a bit of a fire trap had some great, memorable food. I remember the Lamplighter not so much for its food as a place to hang.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

Definitely Maude's (loved the atmosphere and food) and Bicycle Jim's (loved the fried mushrooms).


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Paula, nice list. If anyone misses the Fried Artichoke Hearts appetizer from Maude's, you can get the exact same thing at the Classic Cup on Jackson Road. However, you can't find the "princess dressing" that Maude's used to serve. Maude's did have fantastic ribs!

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:02 a.m.

Thanks Ben, forgot about the Fried Artichoke Hearts. Had another recommendation recently for the Classic Cup. Now I have another reason to try it out.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Thw Wiffletree and those damned stuffed mushroom caps......


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

Whiffletree Fries..


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

hey, i happen to like those "damned stuffed mushroom caps!"


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

I miss the Cracked Crab, the Del Rio, the Full Moon, the Great Lakes Shipping Company, among others. Loved the shrimp and fire at Great Lakes, and there are some in Lansing and Kalamazoo that use the same logo but I can't get them to provide me with the recipe for the peel and eat shrimp. Loved the Det Burger at the Del, the chowder at Cracked Crab, and the chili with warm totillas at Full Moon. Ah, those were the days!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

I think I am starting dinner early. O heck with it, I think I'll go out to eat that has some good food and good seafood.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

I would add the Red Bull, Whiffletree, Bimbos (downtown and on the hill), Millers ice cream,


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Miller's ice cream! used to have a concoction called the" Wyatt Burp"(pardon the pun, I didn't name the thing, they did). 2 different kinds of ice cream, whipped cream, marshmallow fluffy stuff, nuts, cherries, in other words, everything but the kitchen sink and I think the only reason they didn't toss in the kitchen sink was because they had to do dishes somehow!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

Yes, Miller's, where the hirsute among us dared not eat in public (massive quantities of ice cream piled high, 20% of which found its way into my 1970s hippie beard).


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

"Drake's, which created quintessential Michigan memories for generations of students." Not to mention the rest of us who were merely born and raised here.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

Del Rio, Bella Ciao, Kerrytown Bistro

Paula Gardner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

I miss the Kerrytown Bistro, too.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

This is not even close as to this being an accurate list. Any list without The Whiffletree (from the 70's!), Cracked Crap and The Parthenon is lacking.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Thank you. Whiffletree. That is where we went for all the birthday celebrations. Wow, I do miss that place. Burned down didn't it?

Richard Carter

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Doesn't really make it sound like you were a fan of the Cracked Crab.

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

I really really miss Maude's and their wonderful ribs. Way back the neat building on Stadium that became the Chinese restaurant and has since been torn down, was the Waterfall - with a real waterfall inside. Our kids loved to go to dinner there. And the Pretzel Bell where the medical students learned whether the "match" they got was the one they wanted.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

That building/restauarant was originally "The Cave" open in the '60's! It was always very dark inside and the waterfall was great! It was a wonderful destination for dinner and drinks!!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Lamplighter had great deep dish. Was dismayed that it closed.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

The Cracked Crab!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

The Lamplighter wasn't very good though U of M athletes patronized it. My favorite restaurant was the WHIFFLETREE!!

William Lockwood

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

The Lamplighter restaurant had a small special spot in my memory. When we were married in 1966, my soon to be wife's mother had numerous health challenges. Planning and executing the wedding became our responsibility, including setting up the reception hall itself. We were married at St. Mary's and had the reception in the parish hall in the basement of the student center. The wedding was at 8 on a Friday and we found ourselves, tired and hungry at 5 one block from the Lamplighter. We had just finished setting up the hall itself. We sat quietly at the Lamplighter and had a quick but memorable meal before returning to our separate apartments (this was 1966, after all) and got dressed for the wedding.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

I love your story, William. My husband (of 27 years) and I had our first date there on January 2, 1981. I was so nervous that I ate my pizza with a fork and knife, to the fascination and ridicule of my date. Happy memories.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

The Grecian Delight. Ooooo boy. Best pizza ever.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

They had THE best deep dish pizza ever in Ann Arbor. The crust alone was to die for. It was my favorite pizza place by far when I was a U-M student in the late 70's/ very early 80's.

Paula Gardner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

That's a great story! Thank you for sharing it.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Nice list, Paula. I too remember The Old German very fondly. A couple years ago I found a collection of their recipes on Amazon written by a former wait person (Marzella Leib) and chef (Bill Dettling). There are still a few copies to be found.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

I can get anyone that wants one an Old German cookbook - email me at


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

Paula: T-shirts would be really cool! That was a great pickup on your part. Jeff: I was too dumb to buy it at Borders when I had the chance (when it first came out). It was only years later when I was really craving their food that I finally got on to Amazon and found a used copy. I like Metzgers but it's just not the same...

Jeff Renner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

I think that that came out at about the time the OG closed in '95. I have it, but it's packed in a box somewhere for out house remodeling. When that's done, I'll try to find it. Charlie Moore, who worked with Dettling for years, became chef at Metzger's when they reopened on Zeeb, and used a lot of the old OG recipes.

Paula Gardner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

I should check that out! I found some Old German tshirts at a westside garage sale a few years ago - they made some nice gifts. (I should have bought all of them!)


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

I wish Smoke House Blues would come back! That place was amazing!


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:46 a.m.

Agree it was awesome at one time.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

It was pretty good when they opened. When they sold they got cheap and the old took a big down turn.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

Bimbo's (downtown) was the best when I was a kid. I know that by my adult standards, their pizza was probably not that good, but I miss it. I've never had anything that came close to it. The atmosphere was great: the styrofoam hats, the band ("You Are My Sunshine" was my song back in the day), the dark brown wall paneling by the stairs to the basement bathrooms (I think there was a cut out of that paneling where a light bulb showed through--vague, random, questionable memory). My dad and his friends taught me how to open peanut shells there. MD Bagel Fragel is making Bagel Factory style bagels. A friend told me about it several years ago. That bagel that I had been missing for years was found again. Yes. The Pantree (spelling?) wasn't the best restaurant, but I liked having a decent one at that location (Liberty Plaza, overlooking the park). The Wiffletree had good food, and I liked the atmosphere. Bicycle Jims had a cool theme and place, but I don't remember how good the food was.

Angelika Lewis

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

81wolverine has it exactly right: Bimbo's was all about the camaraderie, singing well-known old songs with friends and strangers alike. It would be great to have a place like that again!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Bimbo's wasn't about the food - it was the experience of singing a bunch of old songs with a bunch of other people while hoisting some beers. There will never be another place like it unfortunately.

Richard Carter

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

As I recall, Bagel Factory and Bagel Fragel were originally owned by the same person/people, and they had an agreement allowing them to both use recipes... which is why they both had Maple Walnut bagels and, of course, fragels.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

You captured Bimbo's perfectly - still can picture everything about the place! Crunching on the peanut shells as you made your way to the basement bathrooms, the pictures of pop and the sing-along sheets. Great birthday memories!

Blue Marker

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

MD Bagel Fragel is a good replacement but it's still not like the Bagel Factory on S. University back in the day. Best egg bagel breakfast sandwich in the world. I love that you brought up The Pantree. Not for the food but because they were open so late it was the destination after a night out.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

I really miss Hinodae. The couple that ran it was neat and I loved the specials.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

My family and I were deeply saddened by the closure of Old Country Buffet. It was the one place that we could go and eat to our hearts content. We miss fasting all day then filling up in the evening. Does anyone know of a all you can eat place for diner??


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Mongolian Barbeque on Main st.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Best All-You-Can-Eat in ann Arbor is and has been the Blue Nile at E. Washington and 5th Ave. Of course, this is Ethiopian food, and not the Old Country Buffet type all-american fest.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:55 a.m. Cracked Crab? It was iconic and at one time the ONLY place to go in AA for good seafood at reasonable prices. Seems to me it was on Liberty near the Liberty Inn and Flood's. The Dungeness crab was fantastic.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

Cracked Crab was on Washington. It was best before it expanded into the space next door. After the expansion it went downhill.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

I really miss Kenny Rogers restaurant on West Stadium . Holidays is there now and this is a great place as well, but Kenny Rogers Restaurant had some really good food and the place was a lot if fun. R.I.P

Jon Wax

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

was gonna ask when the author got here, but then i saw the "townies" thing in her article. must not have been too long ago. it's "locals" not "townies" as in "you can't mix the locals with the college kids. it leads to trouble." townies just sounds silly. can't see an adult using that term and for sure not in reference to self. 1. Farrels. Leaving that off the list is almost criminal. 2. Bolgos Circle ice cream 3. Keg and Cork = weekends were the BEST donuts. ever. no. not kidding. 4. Winshulers (sp?) cheese. back before the north side holiday inn was what it is. there used to be this cheese thing they did. hard to describe. easy to eat. Peace Wax


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

Jon, I keep seeing you and others post this "locals" not "townies" argument a lot. I'm sorry to have to inform you that the citizens of Ann Arbor do indeed refer to themselves as "townies", always have... and I've been living in A2 since 1976. Do you call yourself a Michiganian too?


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4 p.m.

That was Schuler's. The original still exists in Marshall, MI. A more recent visit did not live up to the old memories.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Have to agree with Farrels. Husband keeps mentioning it every single time we go out to eat. Wish they would put in a Farrels. I told him to save his money. But yes, I loved Farrels. I was at Briarwood the other day and noticed that almost all the restaurants are now gone. Maybe what? Less then 5? Sad.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

We must have both grown up on the North side of town at about the same time - I would agree with all of these! Also Bimbos, home of most/many of my childhood birthdays (after the younger years, which were held at Bill Knapps!)

Ron Swonger

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

Sorry, but Maude's would be at the top of my list of restaurants that I wish had not closed.

Fred Pettit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:51 a.m.

...thanks to the other replies for the reminder of the Amaretto mousse! What a great restaurant that was. Service was always good also.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.

My first thought an undergrad in the early 80s. Loved that Amaretto mousse. Then really I do miss Rio Bravo...I still hit Chevys TexMex when in Las Vegas (same restaurant chain)

Fruit Cake

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:09 a.m.

I miss Maude's as well! I would always get the lamb skewers with rice and broccoli. It was really a fun place.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:02 p.m. salads,ribs and let's not forget Amaretto Mouse


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

Hey, ron, no need to be sorry, i miss maude's too!

Fred Pettit

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

You are so right Ron. Maude's was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of the article. That it didn't even make the list is insane. I miss their ribs the most, grilled prime rib was also a favorite.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:16 a.m.

I have fond memories of stopping at the Bagel Factory on our way back home after a visit to gramdma's house almost every Sunday afternoon. The brown paper bag that Dad brought back to the car for my 3 brothers and I were filled with warm onion, garlic or salt bagels! The best bagel's I've ever had!


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

Just so you know - the original Bagel Factory (same owner as in A2) has his last shoppe located at the corner of 12 Mile and Telegraph Roads. You can get the same great bagels and such there as you could in the A2 shoppe. I stop there once a month and fill up for home and neighbors. Great place but the owner said he could not afford the rent in A2, so he closed.