Eating at the Gandy Dancer in an old train station

I was a guest of William Buckley, host of the US TV show, "Firing LIne" and editor of “National Review.” He took us to the Gandy Dancer, a restaurant at Ann Arbor in Michigan. It was famous for its food, but perhaps more famous for its ambience. It was converted from an old railway station no longer in use. The term gandy dancer was a slang term for a type of railroad track layer or maintenance worker who worked with a gandy, a long-handled tool, and who worked in co-ordination, like dancers. While the station itself was no longer in use, the tracks alongside it certainly were, just a few feet from the building.

Trains, often long ones, would pass by two or three times during the meal, making a loud noise that shook the whole building. Invariably they would ring their bell when the cab passed right outside the window. Every time this happened, all the diners would put down their knives and forks and applaud with a rousing cheer. The food was excellent, and probably still is, but the atmosphere topped it. The restaurant had decided to trade on the novelty of its location by keeping a railroad theme to its decor. It was one of the most exotic places I've eaten in, and certainly one of the most amusing.