If you build it – they will come

Last night I went out to “Max and Erma’s” (yes THE Max and Erma’s…otherwise known as “Chotchkies”) for a friend’s pseudo-surprise birthday party. Amanda turned 26. We sang happy birthday really quietly at first; so quiet that to me, it sounded like an upbeat dirge. Then the Clappers came out. “Do we have a birthday here?!” “Yes we have a birthday here!!!” I looked around at the blank faces of fellow diners and realized that we were, “those people” … the ones who drag our friends into public and reward them for surviving another 365 days, with a bad case of “the clap.”

This particular Max and Erma’s is one of roughly a bajillion kitch laden chain restuarants that are popping up like so many pimples on M-59 right now. M-59 is one of the northernmost suburb connectors that has been growing like a rash at summer camp.

I don’t suppose that Detroit is unique in its love/hate relationship with “sprawl.” The love part comes in when you want to go to a mall and walk around in peace; without worrying about packs of gang-bangers eyeballing you in the food court, because you happened to notice that they look like clowns, as they walk by in their goofy clothes and hollywood postures.

The hate part is myriad. First, all of the developments in the outer burbs look like they are made out of recycled styrofoam and pop cans (soda or coke for you non-natives). Second, It wastes a lot of my time, when I need to drive forever to go to a Mac store. Third, there is a place called, “rural” that is being squished to death between the cities – and I would like to be able to visit it sometime without having to take an airplane!

Either way; they’re here to stay. Max, Erma, Dave and Buster. Detroit should continue to court these chains to the downtown area, like it has with Hard Rock Cafe, and the occasional Starbucks (yes, I said occasional!); hopefully next year we can surprise Amanda by throwing a party and inviting friends like, “Ren-Cen,” “Penobscot,” and, “Fischer

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