You’ve just left the frenetic lights of the club behind, waving the beatific strains of PSY’s “Gangnam Style” goodbye. Sweat – most of it not yours – clings to your shirt. It’s a chilly night, but the cool breeze is exactly what you need after a hard night of bustin’ moves. You feel buzzed, probably from excitement. You’ve only had 3 beers.
Your friends, on the other hand… they’re trashed. Stumbling, wobbling, and laughing at nothing, they need help. A lot of help. As the designated DD, it’s your unofficial duty to sober them up.
There’s only one option: Telway. Located on the corner of 11 Mile and John R in quiet Madison Heights, MI, it’s the ultimate greasy spoon. Sandwiched between a CVS, a gas station, an empty lot, and a used car dealer, Telway’s bright white porcelain building and bold, precise red letters are out of place and out of time. It’s a 24 hour ’50s era throwback diner in a thoroughly modernized suburb, a tourist attraction where no tourists would ever even think to go.
Inside, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a restaurant that brags about selling $0.35 coffee: The stools have hard-won battle scars. There’s no public bathroom. The cooks have enough ink on their skin to write a good book or two.
You can pretty much only order basic sliders or coney dogs with fries or onion rings to eat, but apparently that’s enough. If you take a seat up at the small counter, you’ll bump shoulders with grumpy senior citizens, the homeless, teenaged punks, and angry working class people – practically every walk of life comes through Telway’s glass doors at one point or another.
Around 2 AM on Saturdays and Sundays, the drunks storm through Telway like a barbarian horde, puking in the parking lot, littering the sidewalk with half-smoked cigarettes, and knocking each other around in a great drunken revelry. Y’know, the type of stuff that makes you want to simultaneously turn your head and also gawk in amazement. It’s a glorious, Dionysian end to the night, filled to the brim with ketchup goo and grease. What could be better?
Oh yeah, those sliders, the stuff that’s made in Michigan, the supposed to be star of the show. What about those?
Some words come to mind: lumpy, greasy, disfigured, sweet, steamy, oniony, vinegary, beefy, salty. A phrase, however, is noticeably harder to come by. The whole of a Telway slider is clearly greater than the sum of its parts. Packed with pickles, onions (arguably the most important ingredient in a proper slider), and the same raw beef your mom used to buy for her infamous Hamburger Helper dinners, and topped with ketchup and mustard, the result is a small wonder. It has no right, no scientific justification to taste as good as it does.
When the remaining buns turn to mush halfway through your meal, you won’t even care. No, you’ll keep shoving it down your big, fat grease trap mouth with an alarming urgency. It’s the quintessential comfort food, right down the powerful meat aroma. Mmmmmm. I could go for a sack right now.
If you’re ever drunk and in Metro Detroit, you can’t do much better than Telway. It takes a White Castle and makes a mockery of it. This is real food.