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Just Like Family: Fleetwood Diner Serves Up Comfort

What if you went to your favorite cousin’s house, and he had a restaurant crew? And what if your favorite cousin offered food that is some of the favorite items and combinations you enjoy eating. If your favorite cousin’s house looked like a silver-shelled 1950s lunch car, then you may find yourself at Fleetwood Diner.

As a teen, owner George Fotiadis found himself in Chicago and began learning the finesse of being a short-order cook. In the early 1990s, at 19, Fotiadis found himself back in the Mitten with an opportunity to purchase the historic landmark, Fleetwood Diner, in Ann Arbor.

Born to Greek parents in Zimbabwe, Fotiadis’ love of food is transcontinental, and it shows in the menus at both the Ann Arbor Fleetwood Diner as well as the Lansing location. You can have pancakes for dinner, steak for breakfast or feta cheese on anything.

Just like diners of yesteryear, the menu is vast. The short list includes burgers, milkshakes and omelets, as well as traditional Greek foods and salads. There are also great vegetarian choices. And the business takes homemade to a delectable level. The corned beef at Fleetwood Diner is at least a four-hour cook job of marinated beef, which is either ground or sliced depending on the dish. The Chicago influence resonates in gyros with lamb or beef. Turkeys are baked in-house and the hashbrowns from spud to table.

Dani, the server/manager, knows life in the service industry and speaks about it in such a matter-of-fact manner, kind of like the way she presents herself. Here it is, and here’s what we do: It’s food, it’s good and you’re family.

“I love this place. It influences my outlook on life in a positive way,” she said. “If you need anything, you’ve got it. Things are going to happen, and things are going to happen again. It’s just Fleetwood.”

At Fleetwood, food service flows like choreography.

You may want to go visit your favorite cousin’s place. You can’t miss the retro-looking silver building at 2211 S. Cedar St., just south of Mount Hope Avenue in Lansing. Sit down, relax and enjoy some homemade food. You’re part of the Fleetwood family now.