Posted: Aug 31, 2012 at 9:49 PM [Aug 31, 2012]
The private Ann Arbor Town Club (AATC) opened in the Allenel Hotel, where in 2012 Senior housing rises at the corner of Huron Street and Fourth Avenue. It's member attraction was liquor by-the-glass could be served in the privacy of the club over lunch or dinner. It moved its fancy-self to Washington at First Streets where in 2012 a public parking lot sits. Mike Kabat, now owner of Haab's Restaurant in Ypsilanti, partnered with Harvey Glazer, an African-American, who was the head chef. It evolved dramatically downward after a 60s disastrous fire, and never again emulated its unique aura following the restoration. Too, there were more restaurants with liquor licenses than in years passed. The AATC had a great dance band: The multi-talented Don Bailey and his Orchestra. Don’s wife, Mary Lou, was the stylish vocalist. As an aside, Don aired a radio show on WHRV-1600 AM on Saturday mornings. He would sing along live to the orchestral version of a recorded song. A lot of wonderful times were shared at the AATC. Many Ford Motor Co. departmental dinners were hosted there, and the Washtenaw County Medical Society met at the club. A peculiar mix was the local judges and attorneys who lunched there and later faced in court. One observer remembers a judge whose luncheon diet consisted of two martinis and a cup of ice coffee. The greeter knew everyone’s name as s/he entered thru the door. Lovely linens, beautiful china, attentive service. Anyone remember Mario? The African-American bus person and general helper? He was charming and had a warm welcome for everyone. Later, he worked at Travis Pointe CC. I don’t recall that the Club had a signature dish, just consistently good food, a little pricey, but the service and atmosphere established its outstanding reputation. We all had a ‘key’ for admittance. It was a card, in a case, inserted in a slot to open the door. Forget one’s card? Just ring and someone will answer the bell. After the Town Club closed, the Thano family bought the china for their dining establishment on Washington Street. It's said they purposely named their restaurant "Thano's Club" to use the trade- marked china they purchased from the Town Club!. Fond memories of a wonderful place that now belongs to the ages.