Most people that know me can always spot me in a crowd, because I am always wearing a hat, it is a trademark for me I guess. So The Topper was a natural for me. Everywhere you looked there were framed photographs of the famous and near famous wearing headwear. There were pictures of Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill in bowlers, Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra in fedoras, John Wayne and Randolph Scott in Stetsons (I think you get the picture). The owner was a gregarious man who loved golf and was usually seen in a bucket hat.
Not only did The Topper laud headwear, they also had great food. It was nearly impossible for me to order anything else but the Braised Short Ribs, the best in the area, and I tried them all over and kept coming back for more. My Bride was more into the seafood and fish dishes, but she would always have some of my dish (to be truthful we always taste and share each other’s choice of entrees).
The bar at The Topper was always a lively place as well and there was always the chance of having one of the locals as guest bartender to keep it even livelier. During the annual Homecoming that Dearborn always had, trying to get to the bar was the hardest ticket in town. On some nights there would be live musical entertainment to compete with the entertainment at the bar. There would be combos and singers and a small dance floor which just added to the ambience of the place.
The wine selection was always ample, but they were not after the “four star” crowd. There would several Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other wines. They would all be in the mid range in price, as that is where they wanted to do the business, and it was a good business plan. As you looked around at the tables there would always be bottles of wine being served. Good honest food and good honest wine, is what brought the regulars back time and time again. It was always fun to try a different wine, mostly which would pair well with Braised Short Ribs. One wine that I had a notation from The Topper was a bottle of Preston Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 1989 from the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. This is not a wine that one encounters often, but I must have enjoyed it, since I had made a special notation on the back of the label. I tend to do things like that. All of a sudden I feel like putting on my coat and hat and go somewhere for some wine and maybe some dinner, and as Francis Albert would croon “excuse me, while I disappear.”