On Wednesdays, I bring my daughter and five other girls up to The Baptist Church of Northville’s youth group, With all the pickups and dropoffs, it’s an 90-minute round trip, with a 90-minute break in the middle.
It’s a noisy 45 minutes each way, with fights over who gets to pick the music, who sits where, who gets let off first. I love the girls. The racket comes with the territory.
And that’s why I treat myself to dinner at Klippel’s.
Klippel’s Kozy Korner Cafe & Deli on Bridge Street is as old as my relationship with Julie. We both started around the same time in the mid-90s, and while we watched their second generation rise up to run the place with success, they watched Julie and I go from awkward teenage couple who met here for lunch to thirtysomething parents with a preteen that rarely make it in as a family.
It’s your basic no-fuss, order-and-sit down family eatery, with a plethora of cold and hot sandwiches, pizza, burgers and dogs, all manner of fried stuff, homemade soups and daily specials like lasagna and chicken & biscuits that are really a treat. But to us it’s more.
You may have a place like this in your town. This is mine, give or take 20 miles. After a dozen years in and around New Jersey, with several of them immersed in the foodie scene, Klippel’s reminds me that I’m home.
I can’t sit down without running into a friend — from town, church or elsewhere — and on slow nights, I enjoy talking shop with James in the kitchen or one of the twins at the counter.
The food is good, but besides that, it’s reliable. First Russ and now James — they don’t serve mistakes. Medium-rare burgers are always a perfect medium-rare. Fries emerge golden and glistening — not pale or brown with a limp from sitting beneath a heat lamp. Sandwiches are generous. Salads are lively. Soups are made with soul. Pizza is reasonably good in an area not know for pizza.
And no matter how busy it may be — and it can be banging on weeknights — there’s always a table for me. A quiet spot where I can pull open the laptop, nurse a Diet Pepsi, scarf down a sandwich, and bask in warmth and solitude.
At least until it’s time for the ride home.