Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eating in Your Car - Chick Inn Drive In

I'm so glad that places like this still exist. The Chick Inn Drive In located in Ypsilanti is more than just a landmark, it's a reminder of how things used to be. Long before the drive-thru that is commonplace for most people, there was the drive-in. Same idea, you pulled your car up to a menu and told the voice on the other end of the speaker what you wanted. But then, you just sat there. You didn't move. In a few minutes, out came your order, you paid the car-hop, and sat in the comfort of your Plymouth Fury and enjoyed a nice hot meal. While the Plymouth is a thing of the past, Ypsilanti is still filled with a number of these wonderful drive ins, and the Chick Inn is a longtime favorite. (pictured left - the neon still burns bright at the Chick Inn Drive In)
Opened in 1953 on the corner of Holmes and Prospect, the drive in features a different special every day. Today, being Saturday, the special was the "Hammy Sammy." There are these great old signs surrounding the parking lot (pictured left) proclaiming each day's special feature.
My dear friend Richard (we've known each other since the first grade and are still getting into trouble) and I went out to Ypsilanti after I saw a listing on Craig's List for catering equipment that was for sale. A man who had a catering business was giving it up (getting too old, he said) and he was selling it all, including a number of 100 cup coffee urns. These are just the kinds of things we need for our parish dinners at St. Josaphat, so I thought it was worth checking out. After walking out of the sale with a coffee urn, it was time for dinner.
In Ypsilanti, there are a lot of great places to eat. If it's a drive in you want, you'll find Kluck's, Roy's Squeeze Inn and Bill's (with incredible homemade root beer!) among the offerings. But today, we were all about the Chick Inn. Although you can get one of their chicken dinners, Rich opted for the Hammy Sammy and I went for a Paul Bunyon Burger. We were so excited to eat the food I forgot to take photos - so take my word for it when I say both sandwiches were dee-lish. We sat in the Town & Country and fed our faces. My burger came with fries and cole slaw, the Hammy Sammy came with onion rings and cole slaw. Did I mention we washed it all down with milk shakes?? Old school ones, nice and thick...your cheeks get sore from sucking it through the straw! (I love their sign, pictured left - it has a clock on top that says, "Time to Eat!")
The food came pretty fast after ordering. In the time we were there, three or four other cars pulled up and ordered, but most got their food and went on their way. I couldn't blame them - snow everywhere and cold outside. For us, we enjoyed listening to the radio, savoring the experience of this wonderful spot that was frozen in time , and gossipping away as two old friends are always apt to do.

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