SOUTH LYON (WWJ) – It has been a family favorite for over 50 years, but this weekend will mark the last order up at the 1960s-style Brown’s Root Beer Stand & Sandwich Shop in downtown South Lyon.

Tammy Smith of Lyon Township, both a lifelong customer and former employee, says it’s the end of an era.

“I’m devastated…We’re sad to say it go, definitely,” said Smith, who quit her 15-year diner gig three years ago to take care of the grandkids.  “I grew up here. My brothers played baseball; after their games we always came up for root beer, ice cream, yeah…This has been my entire life, you know?”

Ed Brown says he has worked at the small restaurant that bares his family name since it opened in 1960, when he was just a kid.

“At 10 years old I was a traffic cop in the parking lot,” Brown told WWJ’s Jon Hewett. “Trash, dishwasher, I’ve done it all.”

If you’re looking for one last coney, cheeseburger or root beer, Brown said he’ll be open through Saturday afternoon — but suggests you arrive early. It’s been busy all week as the end draws near.

(credit: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

(credit: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

“At nighttime it’s an hour-and-a-half to get in here,” Brown said, adding that he’s touched by the response from the community.

“We knew being in business 56 years, you’d made a dent — otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But we never realized the dent we made. It’s very emotional,” Brown said.

“I was Grand Marshall in the pumpkin fest parade, and and people were yelling, ‘Change your mind! Change your mind! We don’t want you to go,’ you know? But it’s gotta happen.”

  1. My family moved to South Lyon from IL (originally England) about 16 years ago and Browns has been an absolute must for any visitors we have from Europe. It embodies the America that exists in everyone’s imagination. The 60’s, “drive in Root Beer and Hot Dog icons: that everyone has seen in the movies. One of my kids worked there for a while so it has even more of a place in our lives. We wish Ed all the best, we understand and respect his reasons, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t sad to see it close.

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