Thursday, November 13, 2008

Angelo's Redux

Jane (Fisher) Hogan's photo of the Angelo's menu prompted a flurry of reader interest, so here's an exterior shot from Jane, proving that you can't judge a fine restaurant by its parking lot.

(If you click on the photo, I think you can see the office of Dr. Sam Sorscher on the left, my beloved family dentist — despite his aversion to painkillers of any kind — for many years whose name drew a lot of comments in an earlier post.)

Jason B. Hill, a Flint Expatriate currently working on his doctorate in mathematics at the University of Colorado, took this shot on a trip to flint. He writes:

"Speaking of things I miss: Here are three of them pictured above...Angelo's, my twin brother Josh and my mom. But, since this is about Flint, I'll stick to Flint related things. My mom was born and grew up in Flint. She used to go to Angelo's when she was young. I think Angelo's is a place that you only really understand if you're from Flint. EVERYONE in Flint knows Angelo's. I've taken other people ("outsiders") to Angelo's and they're immediately disgusted when we walk in the door. I'll admit, Angelo's is the dirtiest diner you'll ever eat at. But, and I don't totally understand why, I love it. Before I moved to Vermont, I'd go to Angelo's at least once a week and usually more. They used to be open 24 hours before the Health Department made them shut down for a few hours every night to clean. I used to show up at Angelo's at 4-5am to do math homework and study before tests. I even spent New Years at Angelo's one year."

Jason and Josh are both photographers. You can find Jason's recent work here. And head here to check out Josh's work.

They were both born in Flint and lived off Ballenger on Concord until their father was laid off from the truck and bus plant. "He was lucky enough to get another job with GM in Pontiac," Josh told me in an email. "When that happened our family started moving around a lot: Columbiaville, Lapeer, Flint, Davison, Burton, Swartz Creek, Grand Blanc, etc. We both went to U of M Flint for college, at least the first few years, and both of us identify Flint as our hometown."


  1. When I was on 3rd shift at Metal Fab, I used to go to the Angelo's on Bristol. I loved the food, but it was dirty; one night I saw a possum walk in an open back door into the kitchen.

  2. Thanks for contributing that photograph! I swear I've sat at every single possible seat in that place! As for the sign in the other post, maybe it was the paneling, maybe it was the "burgs" without the "er" - clearly none other than Angelo's...

  3. Missed the earlier Doctor Sorscher conversation. Been there. Done that. Still hurts to think of it.

    Interestingly, I do believe those tortuous experiences in his "chair of pain" formed a certain toughness in me. If you've endured Doc Sorscher, you can handle most anything life throws at you.

    Now, as I reflect, it seems to me there was a sign hanging in his reception room--let's see, what did it say? Oh, yes, I remember, now..."Drill, baby, drill!"

    The Future Lives in Flint!

  4. ugh... rite aid across the street?! There used to be a Kessel/Kroger there!!

    I miss angelo's coneys... the best. Here in Detroit they are now coneys covered in "sauce". At angelos, the coneys werent that messy and they were awesome with mustard... goood eats.

  5. Great post! The Kroger is still on the corner of Davison and Frankiln, but old time Flint Expatriates should remember that store as the long time Hamady Brothers Food Market store #21.

    I was employed at Hamady #21 in the mid 80's and I was a employee and member of the UFCW Local 876 when we walked out on strike against Chairman Alex Dandy and Hamady in November 1987. The support from people from all walks of life was tremendous, but Angelo's support was something different. We were allowed to use the restroom there ONLY if we were to buy food...our strike fund was $40 per week...

    The photo posted hasn't changed much, with the exception of how run down Angelo's is now. the parking lot there used to be jammed packed with cars and people at lunchtime. They are lucky to get 8-10 cars during that time now.

    Lastly, Van Vandewalker was a disc jockey at WFDF in the 70-80's, wasn't he??? I remember Van, Dan Hunter, Pete Sark, and another morning man by the name of Paul Landino...That's when WFDF was worth listening to...

    Thanks for the chance to comment.

  6. The only real difference at that intersection now is the Angelo's sign: it's gone. In the past year or two, it rusted and bent in half, and after leaving it for a month it was removed. They still haven't replaced it; now, it's just a black pole, with a wood sign on the building.

  7. WAIT, they aren't 24 hours any more? That stinks! That was definitely part of the appeal. A great 3am spot.

  8. The Kroger is still on the corner of Davison and Frankiln, but old time Flint Expatriates should remember that store as the long time Hamady Brothers Food Market store #21.

    It wasn't until after I moved away and was older that I realized that the two major Flint-area grocery chains were owned by Arabs (Hamady's and Mansour's), not that there's anything wrong with that. They seemed like perfectly normal names growing up.

    I should also note that I lived a few houses down from the Sorschers on Maxine Street, and knew Mitch and Stan, but I never went to him for dental work, so I was unaware of the Marathon Man aspect. How did he get repeat customers?

  9. Yes, I seem to remember preferring the hash browns with gravy over fries. And I've always disliked the big potato-chunk hashbrowns.

  10. And I never complained about the lack of novacain with Doc Sorcher because he was the only dentist I ever had. I didn't know you could get painkillers until someone explained it to me in high school. Plus, I really liked him, despite the excruciating pain.

  11. We knew both the Hamadys and the Mansours, both Lebanese and excellent folks. my older Sister, in Ore. GY, babysat for Ted Hamady's daughter Karen til she died of childhood leukemia. I think Sis would be termed an Au Pair nowadays. The Hamadys would take Sis to Mack. Island in the summer months, quite a treat. I wonder if the possum was picking up a to go order? Shaved hashbrowns are the only way to eat 'em, and the picture looks like they're the chili-cheese varaity of pots...maybe. Our dentist was on Corunna Rd. and had a ass't. whose, uh...ample 'uniform parts' usually ended up in either one of my ears, or both, during cleanings, thus precluding the need for novacaine...

  12. bustdup, was that dentist almost across from Zimmerman School? I waited for a family member there numerous times, though it wasn't my dentist. I'd watch the kids coming out of Zimmerman in the afternoon. I often wonder now how many I would have recognized, since a lot of them I later met them at SW. That's one thing that bustdup, JWilly, and I have in common, we all went to SW at one time or another.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at