Since its opening in 1949, the Ann Arbor and Lansing locations of the Fleetwood Diner have advertised themselves as “The hippest little diners in the hippest Midwest towns”, and residents of Ann Arbor agree. Fleetwood Diner, located on the corner of Ashley Street and Liberty Street, was voted as the best place in Ann Arbor for a late night bite, a crown it hasn’t held since 2018, but a distinction it well deserves.
Andy Demiri, who has owned the diner for 33 years, said he began leasing the building in 1992 and the diner has been a substantial part of his life ever since.
“My son, he basically was born here,” Demiri said. “Most of the people working here have been working here for years. And we got to have a lot of regular customers all the time.”
As the only restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor open for 24 hours, it welcomes patrons at any time of day, all year round. In the summer months, the diner offers outdoor seating in a space that became Ann Arbor’s first sidewalk cafe. When winter comes around, Fleetwood Diner unrolls its temporary walls, offering customers a seat in a heated veranda where they can enjoy fries, burgers or breakfast items at any time of day.
Demiri said he is grateful for the Ann Arbor community for their support over the years, especially during the pandemic. He said the late hours at Fleetwood have established a sense of home in Ann Arbor and is something he will always cherish as its owner.
“I feel like I’m home,” Demiri said. “You know, I get phone calls at two o’clock in the morning (because) something happened and I live 20 minutes away. I think a lot of people, they feel like home here, so I’m part of that now, too.”
Daily News Editor Anna Fifelski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.