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Posted on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 9 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Cafe Ollie - delicious Michigan-made options abound

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

I've had the great good fortune to visit Cafe Ollie twice recently — once with my very dear friend Sarah, and once with Jeremy and his best buddy, Mitch. Since the restaurant is so warm and wonderful, and such a supporter of Michigan products, it was time to feature it today for Frugal Floozie Friday.

Sarah and I each enjoyed a refreshing dish of Guernsey Farms Dairy's McGuire's Irish Mint ice cream, produced not too far from Ann Arbor in Northville, which was perfect on one of those way-too-early-to-be-summer days that found their way to Michigan before it was even officially spring. A single scoop — in either a cone or a lovely sundae glass — costs only $2.75, leaving plenty of room in our mandatory $5 per person budget to buy a local favorite: Faygo soda "made with real sugar in glass bottles."

Cafe Ollie also features daily soups, an assortment of coffees and teas and baked goods made from scratch (like the fabulous sweets pictured above). Sarah and I had originally intended to treat ourselves to cupcakes, but the ice cream was calling more loudly on a hot afternoon.  

We met just after 4 p.m., and were having such a grand time — truly, talking about everything from family to antique heating grates to Jewish law! — that we ended up closing the place just before 8 p.m., with only the gentlest nudge from the very sweet waitress just as she started to clean up. Many places would be loathe to let you loiter for quite that long, but we were welcomed stay right until the end of the day.

The next week, Jeremy and Mitch and I sat in the sun on the deck and enjoyed a late lunch of sandwiches, which are served with Detroit's own Better Made potato chips and Perkins Pickles.  For the exceptional price of $7, Jeremy and Mitch split the Reubenesque, Cafe Ollie's own Reuben sandwich.

Regular readers know that Jeremy will inevitably order a Reuben if he finds one on a menu, and can pontificate at great length about the pros and cons of each one!)

Jeremy gave this sandwich high points for generosity of filling, tenderness of meat, and — most importantly — excellent flavor.

Cafe Ollie features a menu filled with creative sandwiches and salads, and caters to carnivores, vegetarians and even vegans specifically. So whether you're looking for a light meal, a sweet treat, or some combination thereof — and no matter what your dietary preferences — you can absolutely find something delicious to eat.

And once you've finished eating, you want to meander next door to the fabulous shop that's also owned by Cafe Ollie's owners, Danielle Scherwin-Teachout and her husband, Mark Teachout. (If you don't find them on one side of the doorway, you'll find them on the other.)  

I first told you about the Michigan General Store in my post about Buffalo Celery Sticks, in which I used some Cajun-flavored chips I'd found at the shop to create a great variation on the famous wings. You can find so many, many exceptional items at this store, from salsas and mustards to wines and beers to smoked fish and cherry caramels, all made proudly here in Michigan.

So stop by Cafe Ollie and the Michigan General Store.  Enjoy delicious food and a warm welcome, and support both a local business and the Great Lakes State!

Cafe Ollie
42 E. Cross St.
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

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Mary Bilyeu writes about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

You should also visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.


Sarah Rigg

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

WIZ: I've eaten at Cafe Ollie a number of times and have introduced several of my friends to it who had never tried it. I'm a big booster of all the Mom n Pop establishments around here, especially in Ypsi, which is my hometown.

J. A. Pieper

Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

Everyone is really friendly at Cafe Ollie, and the food is delicious. It is one of my favorite places to meet friends! Well worth the visit, and the store has unique, wonderful items, all Michigan made.

Mary Bilyeu

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

Definitely a great place!


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

I agree with Jeremy on the Reuben. And the breakfast burrito is pretty tasty, too.

Sarah Rigg

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

I like Cafe Ollie a lot, both the atmosphere and the food. And their health inspection status isn't bad - they had several critical violations in March 2011 but had cleaned most of them up by the most recent inspection in September 2011. The only critical violation from the last report was a reach-in cooler not keeping foods at critical temps, and I'd guess they've replaced that by now.

Sarah Rigg

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

Goodness, my remark was meant to be 100 percent positive. There are commenters who often either bring up health inspection problems or ask include health inspection info on restaurant reviews, so I thought I'd mention right away that Cafe Ollie's stats are, comparatively, pretty good, since, yes, almost no restaurant in the county ever gets perfect marks.

Tony Dearing

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

The people who write for us on a freelance basis are members of the community and are free to post a comment on a story, just as any community member is. If Sarah has something to add to the conversation, we would not tell her she can't do that, and we don't see anything in her comment that is intended to contradict Mary's writing, or to disparage Cafe Ollie.


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

There are very few restaurants receiving perfect inspection scores, so, while the stats at all eating establishments bear watching, the more important point is that both food and ambiance at Cafe Ollie's is wonderful. I'll vote on this article by making sure to stop in to Cafe Ollie's on my very next trip to Ypsilanti. Sarah, would you join me?

Mary Bilyeu

Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

We're all friends at, so we try to comment and offer encouragement on each other's articles or recipes. And I know Sarah is a great supporter of all things Ypsi, including Cafe Ollie! There is a regular commenter/follower who chimes in about the health inspections no matter where I've eaten, and I think this was meant to show how good things are before anyone else snuck in with something overly critical ....


Tue, Apr 24, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Sarah, You are a freelance writer for this very paper ( How is this appropriate? To comment on another writers article seems a conflict of interest. Besides, you clearly have an agenda with the health inspection talk. For a paper to allow one of its writers to write a positive review and another to make misleading comments is certainly questionable journalism. Can I get an answer as to why this is allowed?