Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flint Postcards: Eileen's Restaurant at 3147 S. Dort Highway


  1. Just love these old pictures, especially of commercial establishments. Keep them coming.
    For the time, this style of architecture was very trendy and "cool," to use the term of the time. Now, it's just tacky, and even those of us who lived in those times wonder what were we thinking?

    Why was the color orange thought to be as so appealing? Orange is the absolute worst color to complement with another color. If you look at the details of the interior, nothing was genuine. The counter tops were Formica, the leather seats and booths were Naugahyde, everything else was plastic.
    Even the metals were chrome covered. The only virtue to this decor was practicality; it was very easy to clean.

    Those coffee urns, how many hundreds or thousands of those have you seen in restaurants everywhere? They served coffee that had the viscosity--but not the flavor--of chocolate syrup, having sat in the bottom of those urns all day. But we still uncomplainingly drank that crud after putting a couple of ounces of cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar to cut the bitterness. Only those who had traveled to Europe or South America knew what really good coffee tasted like.

    Those sugar and salt and pepper dispensers, they're still around and must number in the millions. Don't you wish you held the patent on that design?

    The late 40's and 50's, we were entranced with the Space Age and Jet Age. It translated, unfortunately, into the exterior architecture. This building had those useless "wings" trying to depict a supersonic craft of some kind. Finally, if think those stone retainers were really stone, try again. We've really come a long ways, but it's always fascinating to also look back.

  2. Big changes since they were there. Now the property is part of an unsuccessful 5-storefront mini-strip-mall, with 3147 the only occupied address as a Happy's Pizza.

  3. The anonymous poster above is so "Flint" he hates on EVERYTHING- 50s architecture, coffee, chrome, even the color orange. I am surprised the lovely wait staff didn't get a load of his vitriol. Sir, I tip my hat to thee.

    1. Why am I tagged as "so Flint" when not once did make any reference to Flint. The word is nowhere in my post? I said the style was "tacky" by contemporary standards, but hatred for "EVERYTHING"? That's an editorial, hyperbolic, expansion of what was really said. If Flint is synonymous with hatred ("so Flint"), I'm not aware of it, nor have I seen it in any other posts on this site. Please don't assign that term to me without at least some validation.

      The styles and items spoken to were reflective of the entire commercial culture of the time, not just Flint. To illustrate, note the numerical references, "hundreds of thousands" and "millions." Surely, this demonstrates my style comments were more expansive than just one city.

      Addressing me as "Sir," since I never identified myself by gender, how is it that I'm a male? Would this reference to gender have any relevance with your peculiar remark at being surprised I didn't attack the "lovely" wait staff? Regardless, thanks for the hat tip.

  4. Google maps has this place tagged north of Atherton, but I certainly remember it being south of Atherton and near Franks Nursery and Crafts and the old Flint Cinema (another beauty). If this building were intact and could be moved to a better part of town, the nostalgic feel of it would be a boom for those from the 40's thru the 60's. I for one love the color combo and have knowledge of color in psychological influences on dining. These colors make people eat for one. I see many similar diners around the US especially along Interstate 80 into Iowa, and south toward Route 66. Too bad Flint had to rid itself of something very nostalgic that baby boomers would love to sit and dine and reminisce while there.

  5. In 1953 I worked third shift at AC and days as a mason tender putting in basements at a new sub-division off Atherton rd.The streets all had indian names.We ate lunc h at Eileens every day.I remember it as being South of Atherton.


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