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Posted on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

Frugal Friday at Conor O'Neill's Irish Pub and Restaurant - Share an appetizer or desserts for a low-cost sociable evening

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Frugal Floozie Friday is a feature that seeks out dishes — appetizers, drinks, snacks, desserts, sandwiches, whatever — for $5 or less per person. Sometimes I split generously-sized items with loved ones, saving both money and calories; sometimes I find a great deal on a single serving that fits perfectly within the mandatory budget. I try to showcase several options to choose from, and you never know where I'll find them. Check out the column every Friday!

Well, it's turned into "Rhubarb Week" here. In fact, as I wrote up my posts for Tuesday and Wednesday, I realized I should celebrate rhubarb by visiting Conor O'Neill's Irish Pub and Restaurant, knowing that it serves a lovely Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

But tempted as I was to order only dessert, Craig and Jeremy joined me in starting with our favorite appetizer: the Galway Bay Mussels for $10. (My family has ordered the mussels every time we've visited, for more years than I can remember.) Yes, indeed, it can be shared! There is not only a very generous quantity of the shellfish, but it is served in a very rich creamy garlic and sherry sauce. The mussels are accompanied by an assortment of white and traditional brown breads, and we've often asked for second helpings of the bread for dipping.

Not every gathering has to involve full three-course meals; sometimes you can just be sociable and enjoy a communal treat. But truly, the mussels are plenty of food for two.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

We also ordered the Dublin Brie - "Imported brie cheese tossed in beer batter, served with peach chutney and a combination of Irish and French bread." At $9, this is another appetizer that's readily shared with another while staying within our $5 per person budget. Creamy, indulgent cheese, the vibrant brightness of the chutney, hearty bread... definitely a dish for two.

And then we moved on to dessert, the primary reason — though hardly the sole one — for visiting Conor O'Neill's. The Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble is a generous serving of sweet-tart fruit, an oat-based topping, and two scoops of ice cream... again, perfect for two at $5.50. A soda for each of you, at $2.25 each, and a shared treat — it's a lovely romantic date for a mere $10 total.

Most of the desserts qualify for our mandatory budget limits. For $4.95, you can enjoy your own serving of chocolate cake, of Bailey's cheesecake, of a chocolate chip cookie sundae, or of a Guinness ice cream sundae.

But a pub is a communal place, a sociable one. Go with family or friends, share an appetizer or a dessert, enjoy some good food and even better company!

Conor O'Neill's Irish Pub and Restaurant
318 South Main St.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Sunday - Saturday: 11:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Dining Hours
Sunday - Thursday: 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. - midnight

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Mary Bilyeu - a self-proclaimed Food Floozie (named for her blog, which is taking a summer vacation) - writes for on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen. 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:

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.



Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

"A limited budget of $5.00 per person" If this is the premise of your articles, it would be more believable if you actually only spent $5.00 per person per visit. For example go to Connor's with one other person and order the one appetizer of Mussels, with water to drink. (I would hope you would still tip.) if you want to tell readers about other options then go back for dinner for $5.00 per person, and lunch the next day.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

The concept of "sharing" an item is not always met with a warm welcome at the restaurant. I used to share an entree with a friend at a local restaurant on a very regular basis, and noticed that the portions were getting smaller and smaller, and the service was deteriorating as time went on. No refills on water, etc. A clear message was being sent that sharing wasn't what the restaurant wanted from customers, not enough "profit." So we stopped going there. Some of these items listed in these articles are overpriced to start with, and "sharing" to stay under $5 each means only a taste of an item. That's fine if you are going on to have a dinner elsewhere, or if two people want a small bite of dessert, etc, but the restaurants in AA are overpriced to start with.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

I've had the mussels. Ate them all myself and left hungry. There has to be all of what? 2oz. of meat inside the shells. Maybe if you can carry in the other half of that bucket of chicken from last week it would be OK. By itself? Not so much. Admit it, you do this just to torture me.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

A little over a dozen mussels is a "generous quantity" for two? Are you eating the shells too? This isn't really a "frugal" place to dine at all...


Mon, Jun 24, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

I guess if you keep ordering more bread!