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Posted on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Chef Restaurant Mediterranean Grill - many filling options fit a tight budget

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Jeremy and I had a great dinner the other night, stopping by a new place I hadn't known of that we just serendipitously drove by: Chef Restaurant Mediterranean Grill. The bright, friendly restaurant is tucked into a strip mall across the street from Eastern Michigan University. Its convenient location, coupled with its excellent prices, make it today's Frugal Floozie Friday feature.

We were greeted by a very warm and friendly hostess/waitress, who let us pick whichever table we wanted. As we perused the menu, it was clear that there were many items which would qualify for our mandatory frugal budget of $5 per person: soups, sandwiches, salads, desserts... an entire array.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Jeremy chose the Fried Kibbe sandwich for a mere $3.75. Longer than a dinner fork, it was tightly wrapped and fully stuffed with a generous quantity of lamb and vegetables. Jeremy loved it, and I think was even tempted to order a second one simply because it was so good!

He also ordered a side of fries for $2.95, which would make a nice snack with a soda or juice. The small order was still quite a good size, so I can't imagine how much you'd get for the large one!

I decided to start with a cup of the lovely lentil soup, which cost $2.50. It was rich, but not heavy, and subtly spiced. It was a perfect serving if you were going to help your son to eat the copious quantity of french fries he'd ordered.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

But I also heard the sandwiches calling to me, as Jeremy had, and ordered the Chicken Shawarma variety which cost $3.75. It was tender and garlicky, with crisp, fresh vegetables to complement the other flavors and textures.

The chef, who is originally from Lebanon and has an impressive background of international travel and culinary experience, came out to the dining area briefly and smiled happily as Jeremy and I told him how wonderful his food was. Our waitress then brought over a laptop, after watching me take the necessary pictures of our dinner, and showed gorgeous photos of elaborate displays that the chef has prepared. Had we ordered more expensive meals — none very highly priced, but more than our $5 budget would allow — our plates would have been works of art.

There are many vegetarian options at the Chef Restaurant, and everything we ate was fabulous. The next time you're craving Middle Eastern food, be sure to stop by and indulge for very reasonable prices!


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

Chef Restaurant Mediterranean Grill 1098 N. Huron River Drive Ypsilanti, MI 48197 734-544-1161 Monday - Friday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday: Noon - 9 p.m. Sunday: closed

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Mary Bilyeu writes for on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests, meeting new friends ... 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, comments, or suggestions:

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — where she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related; and look for her monthly articles in the Washtenaw Jewish News. "Like" her on Facebook, or send a tweet on Twitter, too.

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.



Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Mary, totally dig your articles, and I can't help feeling paranoid that I'm going to come accross as a nitpicky reader, but here goes: Is your $5 a person budget a rough number, or am I missing something? You and Jer spent $12.95 -- not including drinks, tax and tip. Maybe it's $5 per item? I look to the Frugal write up to target places for a cheap lunch. A $5 budget is tough in this town. I appreciate your effort!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

I've said this before, but need to repeat: Mary is giving a taste of more than just the food for $5. It's a wonderful service to have someone vet different restaurants for food, ambiance, and the experience a person can have enjoying all the fine venues offered in Ann Arbor, without going bankrupt doing so.

Sarah Rigg

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

Poor Mary can't win. She's engaged in the comments before and was told she was defensive and shouldn't be talking back to complainers. Now, when she doesn't defend her $5 limit, she "no longer deigns to answer questions on that topic." Anyway, in response to UncleMao, her schtick has always been finding treats or noshes - NOT necessarily a whole meal - for $5 or under.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

Mary is very defensive about her $5 target and no longer deigns to answer questions on that topic. In general, she is just looking for a less expensive restaurant and the $5 no longer applies. Places with an actual $5 max are rare.

Ron Granger

Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

Sounds like a great option for the East side!


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

"The chef, who is originally from Lebanon" That's all you had to say....I'm going. They will have homemade Toom. I just wish there was a restaurant that served Tadig.