The Bomber restaurant, located on 306 East Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti, opened in 1936 and was originally known as Baldwin’s Diner. Why the name change? The history surrounding the name change makes this restaurant more than your average diner made famous by their bomber breakfast and array of creative breakfast and lunch items.
If you ask owner Johanna McCoy, you will learn there is enough history surrounding this restaurant to make it a valuable landmark for the city of Ypsilanti.
“We are called the Bomber restaurant because the Willow Run Plant made bomber airplanes,” McCoy said. “People would move from the South to work in the bomber plant and would be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner by Mrs. Baldwin.”
Because of the history and the customers’ contribution to that history, Bombers is different from other places to eat in town, according to McCoy.
Model airplanes that are replicas of actual airplanes built and operated in WWII, historical pictures and other memorabilia decorate the traditional diner, most of it contributed by customers who have served in wars, like WWII and Vietnam, or who have had family members serve in the war.
“I feel an obligation to this place,” McCoy said. “This is a piece of
history. There are model airplanes all around the restaurant and memorable pictures. It means a lot to me if they [customers] want to give me pictures to put up. This is a secret mini museum.”
In 2003, Bombers also made its own history, when the Food Network channel named it one of the “Top Five Over Indulgences,” showcasing the now famous Bomber Breakfast.
“There have been people all over the country who have stopped in here because they seen the show,” McCoy said.
“A person called from the Food Network Channel and said they wanted to do an article on us,” McCoy said. “They were researching extreme, over-the-top entrees and had gotten on our website and were interested. Three years after the show aired, when they needed a filler, they would run the show and it took off from there.”
When asked how the Bomber Restaurant has stayed successful throughout the years, McCoy credits her staff and her customers, as well as the show for their success.
“Growing up [in Ypsilanti], I didn’t know where Bombers was,” McCoy said. “Michigan Avenue is a road that is traveled very fast. We have had a good following and have been blessed by word of mouth and by The Food Network putting our name out there.”
Bomber’s dedicated following of loyal customers has been because of the environment and the excellent wait staff and their dedication to great customer service, McCoy said.
“My wait staff brings people back in,” she said. “After a couple times of waiting on you, it begins to have that ‘Cheers’ feeling, where everyone knows your name. We don’t want anyone to have a bad experience, and part of the experience is having great service as well as great food. It’s like being at home without having to do the dishes.”
History is not the only inspiration for the dedicated owner; it is her customers as well, and Bombers attract all kinds of customers.
“We have families that come in, police officers, college kids and veterans,” McCoy said. “It’s just a wonderful melting pot of people. When the kids are gone in the summer, we still get people that want to come for car shows and this is the first place that they come.”
Bomber Restaurant offers a ten percent discount to all veterans and EMU students, as well as discounts to police officers, ambulance drivers and firemen. Open from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., Bombers specializes in breakfast foods, like their breakfast burrito with authentic Mexican sausage, and their creative pancakes — Captain Crunch and chocolate chip, which McCoy says are for the kids. Bombers also offer lunch items including Bomber dogs and turkey reubens. McCoy’s favorite? The country skillet.
“It has everything. You have all those elements and all you have to do is arrange it and you have the perfect bite.”
For more information on Bomber Restaurant, visit their website or ‘like’
them on Facebook.
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