The Telway Hamburger System looks like it must have looked back when it opened in 1944. Prices of sliders have inched up a few cents each year, but Telway still serves one of the least expensive meals in town, competitive with the popular White Castles that abound in Detroit. Detroit is a town full of great cheap eats.
Telway is a minuscule lunch counter, with seating for about six (four comfortably), so most customers go to the window and order sacks of sliders and fish sandwiches to go. The hamburger system isn’t the marvel of efficiency that its name implies, but the food comes out quickly enough. Should you come when the counter is open, you will be presented with a conundrum. To-go sliders are cheaper, but the coffee costs more in a paper cup, while sliders in-house are more expensive, but coffee in a mug is cheaper. A slider coffee combo balances out in the end either way, so eating here is recommended for road-trippers. The place is a total hoot. Over the course of our tiny sandwich lunch we had several conversations with truly bizarre local characters, including the friendly folks behind the counter. Telway is charming in the seedy sort of way that we cherish.
Don’t get adventurous when you order. There are two things that nearly everyone gets: soft, grey cheeseburger sliders or a fried fish sandwich. Both are crave-able and satisfying in a low-expectation, fast-food sort of way, and they far exceed the expectations set by their prices. We like to get one of each: a poor man’s surf and turf.
We do not recommend the Telway’s Coney Island. Its chili tastes like something from a can and it contains beans, which is a very basic chili dog faux pas. If you don’t fancy lunch foods at the hour that you visit, the stellar hot coffee here can be enjoyed with a tasty, brought-in peanut donut.
Telway’s coffee cups still confidently insist that you are drinking the “best coffee in the world.” Actually, it’s pretty good coffee considering the shifty-looking slider shack surroundings.