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Posted on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Ypsilanti icons make list of great drive-in restaurants

By Jessica Webster


Bill's Drive-In on Michigan Ave in Ypsilanti

Photo courtesy of Eric Touchberry

Sylvia Rector has a post on great old-fashioned drive-in restaurants as part of the Free Press's ongoing "Freep 5" series, and Ypsilanti's Chick Inn and Bill's Drive-In made the list.

Chick Inn, on the Ypsilanti historic registry and the site of many a first date going back to 1953, is lauded for its retro feel and delicious milkshakes. Bill's Drive-In is described as "endearingly odd."

You can read the full post on the Free Press site.

Are you a fan of the old-fashioned drive-in? Where do you like to go for that classic car hop experience?

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for, a part of the MLive Media Group. Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Dexter A&W just put in a huge outdoor patio for folks to sit and eat at. Love the root beer and coney's there. I also like the fact that they take credit/debt cards, which is helpful when you don't have cash on hand. Do Roy's and Bill's take cash only? At one time I thought that was the case.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

Roy's for the Burger and fries, and then over to Bill's for a root beer to wash it down


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 7:54 a.m.

Love Bill's dogs. Michigan made, much better than "speedway's" or even A & W. Last time I went to A &W in Dexter everything was overcooked (as in burnt) .Had a few negative visits to Chick-Inn- cheeseburger w/no cheese-didn't find out til I got home (called, they didn't care) Then once got food poisoning from Chicken sandwich from Chick-Inn, when I told them about it a day or so later they denied any responsibility & blew me off. If they have new owners now I might give it another chance.

Honest Abe

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 5:06 a.m.

Taste is in the mouth of the eater. It's all opinion. You say it's goo, I say I've had better. I tell you it's the greatest, you say ehh. I will say this - I really do not care for Bill's Drive In. I know it is tradition for them to have guys only be curb hops, but that is also against the law. If you do not believe me, I challenge A2.Com to travel to Bill's and ask them their hiring policy. Bill's has never has never hired a single female in their history, to be a curb hop. Like I said, that's discrimination and illegal. To top it off, I do not like their food. It seems most folks who go there are living in the past. It compforts them going to a place they went to when they were younger (not saying this is the case for everyone.) They use to have decent dog's, but now, I would rather eat a dog from Speedway rather than Bill's.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

If you actually went to bills you would know they don't hire new people because all the guys have been there for years !!! They have no turnover

Adam Betz

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

What's the difference between Bills only hiring guys and Hooters only hiring females to be waitstaff? Someone took Hooters to court years ago and lost. I do believe it might be legal. Wrong, but legal.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 2:44 a.m.

A&W in Belleville is twice as cool as the one in Dexter. The one in Dexter is bizarre.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

I forgot about the one in Belleville. Need to do the SOS next week. Not a bad idea. The SOS and A&W are right on the Blvd.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

Ann arbor is cool but so is my Ypsi.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 1:38 a.m.

I hate when Bill's closes for the winter. I just want them even more. I have two in the fridge that I am going to heat up. YUMMY

Honest Abe

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 5:08 a.m.

Watch eating them dogs. You dont want a big, fat ya?


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 10:45 p.m.

Drive inns are just not the same anymore. Car hops on Michigan Ave. Chick Inn on Holmes, It was the cars that made them special. today there is just no excitement anymore. Bring back the 60's


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

Only the 60's gas prices

vicki honeyman

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

I have fond memories of the Chick-Inn in Ypsi.

Blue Marker

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

I sure do miss the A&W on Stadium Blvd. Lucky for me I got a muffler shop in its place (where is that sarcasm font?)


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

I worked there one summer. Loved the people who worked there. Sad it was torn down. I was told the owners retired and sold the property. Wish it would come back to Ypsilanti.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

According to this page the A&W was torn down circa 1999. I remember going there in the 70's with my dad. I still have the original glass mugs from that place. Also, anyone remember the trampoline place behind A&W called Gymkana? It's where Top of the Lamp is now

Michigan Reader

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:36 p.m.

The muffler shop is closed now, there's an oil change shop there now. Now all they need is car-hop service while you're waiting, and they'd be all set.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:25 p.m.

I do miss that one too :( why they got rid of it instead of selling it I do not know - I didnt read about it as it was a long time ago - can anyone remind me why they closed down? Thanks much :)


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Didn't this use to be the old "Dog and Suds"?


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

Dog "n" suds is the key bank drive way now. They were the best or was it Bill's.

Michigan Reader

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:27 p.m.

"Dog and Suds" used to be further east on Michigan Ave., it was just before the Ford Blvd. overpass.

Jessica Webster

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

I'm a big fan of the Paul Bunyan burger at Chick Inn, myself. A Paul Bunyan and a strawberry-chocolate shake. Yum!

Hugh Giariola

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

I've tried to like that place, but the food is awful.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

I used to LOVE chick inns banana shake but since they got new owners awhile back it's nothing but watered down and they too changed their hot dog brand and it's disgusting!!!


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

When Klucks changed owners recently it went to absolute GARBAGE....they raised the prices across the board and switched to cheaper versions of a lot of products. I used to LOVE that place with a passion and had eaten there since I was in diapers practically, but after the change over I tried them three times and was sorely disappointed from the way it used to be. Also....their parking lots has always been terrible to get in and out of. If your car is don't go there.

Jim Fink

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

Our family walked to Kluck's this spring to have burgers and chili dogs. No one was disappointed. The fries were good, too.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

I totally agree billy! I say the same thing about Chick inn...a few years ago I was a big customer for their banana shakes, then like either last year or year before they turned into watered down shakes (I did give them a couple tries just in case the person making them that day was new or something!) but nope I stopped going after the 3rd time that year - to spend that much on a watered down shakes was not gonna happen

Top Cat

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

Anyone voting for A&W (Dexter) needs to make a trip to Bill's Drive In. Bill's coney dogs are better and their home made root beer is sublime!


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

Actually we don't do hot dogs. Cancer on a stick. But we do love A&W fish and chips. Had them in Wyoming not here, but I bet they are the same. Wish an A&W would come back to Ypsilanti.

Michigan Reader

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:25 p.m.

Top Cat-- I voted for A&W, and I've tried Bill's...A&W's coneys are much better. Billy, that's just my opinion.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

I love Bill's. I'll hit the A&W in Dexter after spending the day at Hudson Mills, so it's kind of a rare event. Seeing this poll encourages me to go try out Kluck's and ChickInn. It's been years. But I'm on a trying to lose some weight and partial to BBQ. So on the rare occasion that I do go out, it tends to be the BBQ.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

Had to vote you down on that, sorry. A&W isn't better than Bill''s different. It provides for a completely different experience than Bill's does. They shouldn't really be compared at all. Bills does dogs, chips, root beer....and NOTHING else. A&W is the full selection drive-in. Bill's chili is sweet, a kinda"cincy" style; and A&W's is your more traditional chunky chili dog chili. I've had this debate with so many people. They are not BETTER...they are DIFFERENT...especially because things like flavor are subjective. As far as the quality and service, they are on par with each other...I've NEVER had bad service or food at either place. Another difference...Bill's ALWAYS has guys working car hop, and A&W ALWAYS has girls working car hop. It's never really mattered to me...but it IS another difference between the two that doesn't really make one better than the other.