My mother and I love to eat out and love good food, so a big part of our happy anticipation of the annual trip to Flint is the list of restaurants we love. Some of them are old favorites that have been around since my childhood or before and have miraculously stayed in business in spite of the economic trials and tribulations of the area. Some of them are newer places we’ve discovered through friends.
Luigi’s Restaurant opened when I was three and I don’t think it was long after that my parents took me for the first time. They make a thin crust pizza so good I’ve never found another I’ve liked as well. The current owner insisted on learning the recipe from the original owner when he bought the place and I wish we could somehow make sure it keeps being passed along.
People from Flint who’ve moved away call all the time and ask to have pizza sent express mail!
Kathy’s Restaurant, in Flushing (nearby town to which we moved when I was 12) came along after we left, but after a friend had us meet her for lunch there, we became regulars. Every year we have both a lunch and a dinner at Kathy’s. A wide-ranging menu, everything freshly prepared, and all yummy. From the fabulous chicken salad to the pot roast to the salads and sandwiches to the lemon blueberry mascarpone cake, everything is good and reasonably priced.
Italia Gardens opened some 20 years before I was born, founded by emigres from Sicily who created a yummy skewered-meat dish called spitini. We were regulars throughout my childhood, chowing down plates full of spaghetti and spitini once or twice a month.
Now run by their grandchildren, the new location is huge and horribly noisy, so we often just get take-out to freeze and bring back to Kentucky. The new place doesn’t really inspire me to take photos as it’s kind of generic but I LOVE this photo of the original owners, which they put everywhere:
Fandangles, in Flushing, is a newer arrival on the scene. Hard to decide whether Kelly, the waitress who’s the poster woman for positive thinking/living, the exquisitely delicious food, or the wonderful and constantly changing art display on the walls is the bigger reason to go. It’s not terribly far from the Pierson Rd. exit of I-75, so if you head north in Michigan, stop off and have an amazing lunch or dinner while you bask in the sunshine of Kelly.
We have a lunch and a dinner there every time and both are highlights of every vacation.
Whitey’s in Davison, another small town which is on the other side of Flint from Flushing, has also been around since 1955 but in those days we just didn’t drive that far for an ordinary meal out (current freeways that now make it a snap didn’t exist) so we didn’t experience it until one of Mom’s friends who now lives in Davison had us meet her there for dinner. Now we go twice every visit. Nothing fancy, but a nice atmosphere and good food. I’m hooked on their lobster bisque and coconut shrimp and you pretty much can’t pry me away.
Last but not least is Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor. Located in a restored 19th century train depot, Gandy Dancer goes back to at least my childhood, when my parents used to meet some friends there for New Year’s Eve occasionally. I never went till we started these annual journeys (the same friends still live down that way!) but I fell instantly in love. Seafood is their specialty and they do very well by it. I love the old-fashioned decor and the view of the occasional Amtrak stopping to let off and pick up passengers. Lunch there is an annual must.
For more about this year’s visit: