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Posted on Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 11 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Mary's Fabulous Chicken and Fish - filling lunches available for $5 or less

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!

As with so many restaurants around town, I'd driven past Mary's Fabulous Chicken and Fish dozens of times, always thinking, "I need to try that place!" Not only does it bear my name, but how many times do I use superlatives like "fabulous"? Just as there is undoubtedly a drinking game that encourages a swig every time Guy Fieri says "Winner, winner, chicken dinner" on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," when I get my own show on the Food Network there will be a drinking game — sips of coffee only, though; I can't condone anything stronger — associated with my effusive adjectives.

But I digress ....

Jeremy and I went out to lunch on our first really truly spring-y day recently, with no coats, sunglasses on, windows open. And as we drove past Mary's, we decided the time had come to try it.

The menu is fairly extensive, with many family-friendly dinner packages available. There are also frugal options that meet our mandatory $5 per person budget.

Jeremy ordered the cheese steak hoagie, asking for no peppers (which he loathes), for $4.99. A foot-long sandwich, it was generously filled with meat and was a hearty lunch.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

I ordered the two-piece chicken luncheon special, also for $4.99, which offered chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, coleslaw, and a roll. It was a good-sized lunch, with all the traditional fixin's.

Other options that come in under the $5 budget are a two-piece fish plate with fries for $4.99, a 10-piece order of chicken nuggets for $2.89, and a variety of chicken snacks — mix 'n' match wings, thighs, or breasts — ranging in price from $2.59-$3.95. You can even choose a large order of gizzards (which was selected for take-out as we ate) for $3.99.

There's a table to sit at; but the bulk of the business is clearly take-out, as four different orders were placed and filled as Jeremy and I sat and enjoyed our meal.

Mary's does make good chicken, and it's worth stopping by to get some.

Mary's Fabulous Chicken and Fish
3220 Packard
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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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.



Mon, Apr 22, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

How about finding some vegetarian places that are cheap?


Sat, Apr 20, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

I've eaten there many times, had just about everything on the menu. It's all good!


Sat, Apr 20, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Try it! I used to eat there 36 years ago....I even played softball on a team they sponsored. I didn't know they were still around....glad to see they are.


Sat, Apr 20, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Love the chicken, but the Reuben Hoagie is a simple delight that stands out to me. There's something about the tightly-packed ingredients in the roll that really hits the spot.

Tim Carlson

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

My wife and I used to drive by this place for years and mildly joke about it's greasy spoonness. Having been dissatisfied with the food the last time we got chicken to go at other establishments in town, we decided to give Mary's a try and see how Fabulous it is. To us, the chicken (especially) and fish live up to it's name and is the only place we go when we want to have fried chicken. We typically pickup a bucket of chicken only to supplement side dishes we cook at home rather than getting the full meal, but the chicken is so tasty and has a nice bit of heat in the spices. Our kids (ages 2 & 5) think the breading is a little too spicy, but we remove it and the chicken is still very tasty for them. We also love them fish for the times we want fish and chips. We haven't tried much else like the subs, but those are not really our thing anyway. It is indicated in the review at the end, but it should be highlighted that the restaurant is CASH ONLY, especially because for people like me who don't carry much cash anymore, it can leave you scrambling if you didn't bring cash with you. Anyway, just wanted to write the review so people can have some insight into this place we wondered about for some time as well.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

It has the DAG factor in spades - Divey Appeal, and Grease. It beckons, alone on the side of the road. The sort of place that does not need to advertise or waste money on glitzy adornments. Get yer fried chicken before they outlaw it.

Vivienne Armentrout

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

I've given up trying to cook "Southern fried chicken" since we discovered that Mary's does the real deal. Need to limit intake - I suspect that some trans fats may be involved. It tastes just like my mother's did after cooking in Crisco. The breading is spicy and crunchy. Sides are merely acceptable but one tends to be too busy tearing at the chicken to notice. I thought Jessica Webster gave me the tip on this.


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

"Need to limit intake - I suspect that some trans fats may be involved." Have you asked them what they fry their chicken in?

Jessica Webster

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

I've been driving past that restaurant for twenty years, fascinated by its retro appeal and of course by its fabulousness, and I still haven't stopped. Was it as fabulous as its name suggests?


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

How was the food though?