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Posted on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Old Town Tavern - save room for cherry pie

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Craig recently joined me for dinner at a restaurant that neither of us had been to in ages: Old Town Tavern, today's Frugal Floozie Friday feature. Good ol'-fashioned comfort food just sounded like the right choice that evening, and the cozy, friendly atmosphere at the Old Town made it the perfect place to go.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

I'd first thought of having a burger, which Craig then ordered and enjoyed thoroughly although it exceeds our mandatory $5 per person budget; it was a platter large enough to share, if we'd felt so inclined. We were very hungry, though, so we decided to each get our own meal.

The burger is made with nearly a half-pound of exceptional ground beef from Knight's Market, plus toppings and a generous side order of thick-cut fries. (Craig couldn't even finish the fries, so I happily snagged a few.) A perfect meal!

As I started to peruse the menu, I heard the gumbo... no, the Curried Pumpkin Soup (that day's special offering)... no, the hummus with fresh vegetables... no, the... Oh, everything was tugging at my heartstrings!

There was one stand-out, though, that was calling more loudly than any of the others: the chili. Rich, thick, hearty, and with a bit of a kick, it showcased beef, beans, tomatoes, and a nice gooey topping of cheese and green onions. At only $4.50 for a bowl, it was a good value. I also ordered a house salad for a mere $3.95, which brought an entire plateful of greens, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrot shreds, and an exceptional thick, garlicky blue cheese dressing so good that I've even written to the restaurant to see if they might share the recipe with me.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Of course, I still ordered dessert because I'd seen the day's special written on a chalkboard and simply couldn't resist. I had given very serious consideration to ordering the cherry pie as my dinner, but had determined that perhaps some vegetables and protein might make a better meal, with pie as a reward.

Craig is not a huge fan of fruit pies — and especially doesn't worship at the altar of cherry pie, as I do — but this was so exceptional that he happily enjoyed it with me. And because I'm a nice person, I shared with him rather than hoarding it just for myself. But the pie really is good enough that you'll want your own slice. And at $3.95, that's a deal you can't refuse!

The Old Town Tavern has been "a part of downtown Ann Arbor for over 40 years," and takes "pride in serving quality food and drinks at reasonable prices. It’s also important to us to support other Southeast Michigan businesses; we buy local as much as possible. We serve Michigan products like Faygo pop, Better Maid potato chips and four draft selections from Bell’s Brewery. Our sandwiches are made on bread from Ed’s Bread in Saline and Metro Bakery in Detroit. Nearly everything that comes from our kitchen is made from scratch."

And when they say "reasonable prices," they really mean it. The Soup of the Day can be had for $3.50 (cup) or $4.50 (bowl); gumbo costs only $3.35 or $4.35, depending upon the serving size; and chowder, available only on weekends, costs $3.50 or $4.50.

Appetizers — from corn chips served with either salsa or guacamole, to sweet potato fries, to hummus served with your choice of pita bread or fresh vegetables — are all within our $5 budget per person. And nachos, found on the late night menu, cost only $4.95. Other appetizers can easily be shared, as can the generous sandwiches (because remember, you must leave room for dessert!).

For comfort food and a comfortable atmosphere, all at great prices, be sure to eat at the Old Town Tavern sometime soon.

I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog, Food Floozie: go check it out, and maybe you could win a $25 gift card from Whole Foods Market!

Old Town Tavern
122 W. Liberty St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104
Monday - Friday: 11:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Sunday: 4 p.m. - midnight

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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 30, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

I hope they give you the recipe for the blue cheese dressing!!! (and, if so, I hope you share!!!)