Former Ann Arbor restaurant, at 3750 Washtenaw, circa 1971.


Part of a national chain which started in St Louis in the 1950s, perLost Tables.

In literature

  • Tokyo Central: A Memoir / Edward Seidensticker (published 2002, recalling a 1966 visit)

Perhaps the chief glimpse of pleasure during the day came from the recollection of the waitress we had at the Flaming Pit last, the dumbest little blonde with the sweetest eyes, the flattest midwestern accent, enormously pleased, it would seem, with her ignorance of every item on the menu. Americans are *not* all alike. You would find no such specimens, I think, among precocious self-assured California young ladyhood. That's why people wish again they was in Michigan.


I worked there as a cook for almost seven years while a student at U-M. (Yes, I spent most of the seventies as an undergrad--not a bad situation, really, especially in Ann Arbor.) The Flaming Pit was a traditional American restaurant that specialized in big steaks and a few seafood dishes. It was decorated in some sort of "Early American" style. They served stiff drinks and had quite a popular happy hour in the bar and dining room. In those days there were far fewer eateries in that neighborhood, and we were absolutely packed on football Saturdays; the waiting list didn't clear out till 11:00 p.m. some days. It was really hard, messy work, but the staff was a great bunch of people, mostly college-age, friendly, and sociable. I still have my T-shirt that says "Flaming Pit Drinking Team."