Saturday, December 8, 2007

What the...?

After our visit to Miller's Bar in Dearborn for dinner yesterday, we decided to seek out another burger joint that had been spotted and emailed to me a few months back. Sue from Brooklyn wrote: 

"I'm a HUGE burger fan and your last name is the pinnacle of hamburgers in Detroit Michigan....Motz's Hamburgers at Fort and Green...It's a great little white enamel counter joint enjoyed by all the freight haulers and locals of downtown. If you ever get to that neck of the woods you have to check it out." 

Needless to say I was curious. We found the tiny burger spot in a desolate industrial neighborhood just off I-75 but it was closed (the grill shuts down at 6pm). It was very bizarre to see my name on a sign (not the most common name) but even weirder next to the word 'Burgers'. I left Detroit without trying the burger, but i'll be back...


Colt said...

I agree Motz Hamburger's is Detroit's undefeated crown champion when its comes down to making some slider's. It's one of Fort St. last standing relic's, and with 80 year's of the flipping business leave this to the expert's. Talk about how a burger should taste like. Voted top ten! Pretenders try beating this number #1 !

rwda said...

I was stationed in Detroit in 1967 and 1968 and me and my buddies would go to this diner (Mott's Hamburgers) near Ft. Wayne late at night and have a half dozen or so of these small burgers with grilled onions. The meat was rolled in a small ball instead of a patty and they'd throw them on the same grill with the onions and with a spatula they'd smash the small meat ball into a patty and serve it on a small toasted bun and the grilled onions. There is not a better burger on the planet than a Mott's burger! I'm in Houston now and I wonder why no one has ever been able to recreate that! I am so hungry right now!!

porterstowing said...

Ah, someone who remembers the burgers the way they used to be. Motts burgers were the best until approx 2000.

Do you remember when there were two motts locations. One was on Livernois and Fort and the other just 5 or six blocks down at Fort and green.

My dad took me into the Livernois location all the time when I was a kid. He was a truck driver and I would ride along sometimes.

Later when I was old enough to drive on my own I tried the other location at Fort and Green. The taste of the burgers were sooooo different. Kinda unbelievable seeing both places had the same name, same building and the same grill and products.

It was no wonder my dad stopped at the Livernois location all the time. Sadly sometime near 2000 I witnessed the Livernois location being bulldozed.

Shortly after the other location on Fort and Green changed from Mott's to MOTZ. The unmatched taste of the burgers from the Livernois location did not follow.

The burgers are still good, but no where near the same. Motz now has a frier and sells hot dogs and such. The whole experience is different.

I will never forget the taste of those burgers. And the tiny little area the customers had to stand in to order. The stainless counter with only four stools.

I remember the fresh doughnuts in the cake display. They had no frier. they only had small bags of potato chips you could buy separately. I dont think they even served drinks. I remember going to the gas station next door to buy soda pop.

So if you ever make it back and it seems that the taste is not the same, well it is not. Not even the little balls of meat. Everything is done differently. Its kinda disappointing.

I still go there though. I order my burgers. Never any fries or drink. Then I drive five or six blocks over to the gas station at Fort and Dragoon (next to where the old Mott's once stood) and buy a Faygo. I then drive into the parking lot of the Coney island on Fort and Livernois and eat my Burgers in the parking lot in the place where the Great Mott's once stood.

Unknown said...

Grew up in Southwest Detroit and it was Motts for years! The "S" was changed to a "Z" when they were sold. I was told it was cheaper than buying a new sign. The one on Fort and Livernois had THE BEST burgers EVER!! The Livernois location was torn down prior to 2000, I think it was 1995-96. There was no fanfare no announcement other than one day the door was locked and the buldozers were at the ready. The day before it was buldozed the scavengers had gotten in and I made it a point to get in there to snag a momento of the place, and I noticed that the original Motts grill was disconnected and sitting on the counter. I grabbed it and took it home. I still have it and have used it many times.
I was friends with a lady who cooked at Motts for many years and she taught me how to make the burgers just like they did in the 60's. The trick is in HOW they are made as well as a seasoning trick that no one realizes.

Unknown said...

The lady that you met at Mott's was no doubt my Grandmother Eula. She worked there to over 30 years and retired making 3.32 an hour. She passed away in 2004

John in New Hampshire said...

There was at least one other Mott's location--Ford and Outer Drive next to the Trail Bar. It was open all night until sometime in the 1970s.

Mott also had a buddy in the business--Chuck Hebert. He had the same type place on Telegraph near Cherry Hill.

The best, however, were Powers Burgers on Michigan Avenue and Oakwood. Whether you sat at the counter or in the one booth for six, you know you were in for a treat. When the grease seeps through the bag, the burgers can't be beat.

edgar molina said...

My grandfather was a frequent Motts patron since it was between his mom and pop store on Vanderbilt in Delray, our house on 24th or the Wonverine Packing company where he bought his groceries for the store. Even though it has changed in many ways i will stop by my next visit to Detroit in memory of him. My fear is that eventually like most things it will be gone.