Hello And Goodbye To Berkley’s Beloved Becky’s Nip ‘N Tuck Diner

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It was on the list for a while. Get up to Eleven mile road and experience the Nip ‘N Tuck for myself. Driving by in warmer months, the simple building would stand out in a somewhat industrial area with vivid flowers.

It’s the kind of diner that has legends attached to it. Legendary word of mouth, after all, I had been told not less than three times to go. Legendary stories about a beloved owner, Becky Bone, who as a person is almost one with the space she has occupied. A space adorned with Tigers memorabilia and patrons affixed to old-style round bar stools.

See, before “curated menus,” you went to a diner. A diner that had eggs, sausage, burgers, fries, bacon and your counter neighbor up in your business.

And that’s it. A natural simplicity without pretension.

By default, Nip ‘n Tuck was “curated” and “focused,” and even though they will never win a culinary award made of gold, the heart of the place is full of the precious metal.

The original “community table,” the laminated diner counter has a magic to it. The pink four walls housed years of bonds, like Marlene Smith who has been coming here for more than two decades.

“My husband used to come and have breakfast all the time here before … he brought me,” said Smith. “There’s this nice little place on Eleven Mile honey, come on I’ll take you to breakfast.”

Eventually, Smith came every single day. For a period, Eleven Mile between Griffith and Gardner was her place to go for a second time each day to help clean at the end of service to do something.

Filling salt shakers and sugar bowls. Washing baseboards. In fact, the only things Smith hasn’t volunteered to do, according to her, is mop the floors or clean the ladies room.

And Nip ‘n Tuck showed the love back. When Smith’s husband died, this was the place she could put herself back together again over conversation and coffee.

That is just one example. The place has clearly meant something special for decades to a cadre of area residents.

It should be no surprise that Nip ‘n Tuck feels like family. It’s been a true family business.

Becky Bone’s father, Bob, founded the place and Becky started working there when she was 11. A picture of her and her dad still sits high on the wall reminding us all of Becky’s more than 40 years behind the counter.

It was sold last month to someone with plans. Plans I’m told from talking to a few people that don’t include the old name but do include a remodel. Beyond that, they are being kept pretty close to the vest. Bone is retiring and will visit family in Florida for a well-deserved vacation. New chapters will turn. The cook will still have a job at the new place, so that’s a plus.

Friday, December 22 is the last day. I hear Paws, the Detroit Tigers mascot, might come by to send off someone who is clearly Berkley’s number one Tigers fan.

You may have noticed that I haven’t included a word from Becky, though I got bits and pieces as she was a whirling service dervish of activity behind the counter. This story is mostly told from the stories of a few people who loved the place.

Becky herself? Well, there were always two or three more customers in the door.

I didn’t feel offended. I was a mere visitor to someone else’s important gathering. It’s only appropriate that up to the last day family came first.

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