I don't know if it still holds true, but it used to be quite common for certain Flint kids to think that Ann Arbor was the coolest place in the world, or at least in Michigan. The attraction was understandable. After all, Ann Arbor had stores that were open downtown, and you could roam around at night in blissful safety. The theaters, or at least one of them, showed movies like Dance Craze. (The major drawback was that bars and party stores in Ann Arbor actually scrutinized your fake I.D.'s.) I also got the feeling that a lot of the pretentious Ann Arbor types were slightly afraid of anyone from Flint, which was kind of novel.
There was the unfortunately named Nectarine Ballroom, Schoolkids' Records, and Drake's, which seemed lost somewhere in the fifties. I had a job there washing dishes one summer during college, and Mr. Tibbles, the long-time owner, would pull a wad of bills out of his pocket to pay me after a shift. He'd also occasionally warn me about playing The The too loud in the dishwashing room.
Drake's is long gone, but the Food Museum website has a nice little history of the place:
“Drake's had been in existence since the 1920's,” writes Jobee. “On the walls of the shop there were pictures of people, some of them quite notable, who had visited or eaten there. JFK had his picture taken with the owner, Mr.Tibbles, in 1960 after his speech initiating the Peace Corps at the University of Michigan.
“During the late 60's to early 70's, some of the customers would be John Sinclair, Iggy Pop and the Prime Movers (pre-Stooges), the MC5, and Bob Seger. It was rumored that Nico was spotted at Drake's while she was in Ann Arbor living at Iggy's Fun House but I don't know.
“I started hanging out at Drake's during the 1980's as a teenager. At that time it was a popular spot for college students, townies, and punk rock kids. Drake's was part of the young and hip ‘Ann Arbor Scene’- yes there really was a scene at one time. That was the time of my ‘Grace Jones Look.’
“Drake's was really special part of Ann Arbor life. Unfortunately, Mr. Tibbles retired and his children wanted nothing to do with the shop so they put it on the market and sold it. The shareholders of the City of Ann Arbor did absolutely nothing to stop it and in fact encouraged it. They were and still are an exclusive group of White wealthy new-age ex-hippies and expatriated suburbanites with no taste, culture or respect for Ann Arbor's urban history. For them, Drake's was only a haven for a subculture they couldn't understand and who had no spending power. So the arrogant Philistines spat in our faces with a Bruegger's Bagel franchise."
Michigan Today adds:
"Alums who graduated before the early '90s will remember pecan rolls and sandwiches at Drake's, the legendary sandwich shop that faced the Diag. Drake's closed in 1993. Other eating institutions, such as the Pretzel Bell, are also gone. In their place, a number of chain restaurants have moved in, but so have food joints that cater to today's palates: sushi bars, falafel stands, and organic pizza."
Photo source: Pictorial History of Ann Arbor