Voted “The Best Greasy Spoon” in Ann Arbor, Fleetwood Diner is the dirtiest, dingiest dive you”ll ever love. On the corner of Liberty and Ashley, this little restaurant offers a taste of real America.
“Fleetwood is a legit crappy diner,” said LSA senior Penny Sheets, “but I wouldn”t say crappy because it”s so good.”
The little dive has no pretensions. The dcor is basic. The wait staff is down-to-earth. And the customers seem to love the good, cheap, greasy food.
Customers sit at the counter and watch the cooks scramble eggs on the stove. Other patrons chat together at the small tables inside the diner, around which servers bustle with trays of burgers and cokes.
“It feels like you”re in a trailer home it gets you down to your roots,” explained regular customer Kathryn Fortune.
But despite its small size and modest appearance, Fleetwood has plenty of spunk. Tami Koperl, a tall waitress clad in a black teeshirt and jeans, claims that they have “the best wait staff in Ann Arbor.” And on the brightly colored menu, Fleetwood dubs itself “The Hippest Little Diner in the Hippest Little Town in the Midwest.”
The most popular item on the menu is the Hippie Hash, a mass of homemade hashbrowns, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and mushrooms, all topped with melted Feta cheese.
The diner also serves eggs, pancakes, meats, sandwiches, salads, gyro, and burgers. And coffee, tea, soft drinks, milk and juices are available to wash it all down.
“You can get comfort food here,” Fortune said as she pulled her son Cameron into her lap. “Fleetwood is a very comforting, social place. Everyone starts talking, and you”re nurtured by the waitress.”
Open 24 hours a day, Fleetwood is a classic scene of Ann Arbor: Weird and wonderful. A wide spectrum of Ann Arbor locals visits the diner, and Koperl has noticed that “a pattern has developed” throughout the day.
In the morning, gruff old men sit on the black chairs, sip the strong coffee and read the morning paper. Professionals also bustle in and out, grabbing coffees and gobbling eggs before heading to the office.
In the afternoon, high-school students fill the tables. Dressed in hooded sweatshirts and baggy jeans, they relax outside and order Cokes and French fries. “Kids just come to Fleetwood to smoke away from their parents,” laughed Tami.
In the evening, families with young children enjoy a low-key dinner at a place where it really doesn”t matter if the kids spill lemonade on the floor.
And late at night when parties have ended but buzzes are just beginning University students flock to the diner for munchies before hitting the sack.
LSA senior Stephanie Shuler explained, “The best feeling is when you cuddle up in bed right after downing a cup of black coffee and a plate of Hippie Hash.”
So why wait? Put on your oldest T-shirt, grab a few bucks, and run over to Fleetwood Diner for some scrambled eggs and bacon to lick off that inevitably greasy spoon.