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Posted on Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

Frugal Friday at Uptown Coney Island - many inexpensive options for comfort food

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!

After a day of thrift shopping, Craig and I needed a bit of sustenance. We were near Uptown Coney Island, so decided to stop there for dinner; a bit of comfort food, and a menu with a great deal of variety, sounded ideal.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

You don't go to a diner for healthy options, so I didn't even bother looking at the array of salads. I ordered the Grilled Ham and Cheese pictured above, which came with pickles and chips for $4.99. A plain grilled cheese — triple stacked with your choice of American. Swiss, or Cheddar — costs $3.99. Or you could indulge in the classic BLT for $4.99.

A small order of the Chili Cheese Fries costs $3.29; a large costs $3.99. These were really good, as the fries were nice and crispy and held up to the chili. Often the fries are neglected in this dish (yes, I've tried enough samples to be able to discuss this!), since they're just getting buried anyway. But it's infinitely better when the fries are sturdy instead of soggy.


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Craig ordered the Coney Island because, of course, it's what these places do best! A single costs $1.99, and the Coney Special — topped with seasoned ground beef, chili, mustard, and onions — can be enjoyed for $2.99. Add fries, coleslaw, or soup for $1.59, or add cheese for 39 cents. The onion rings cost $3.49, ordered separately.

There are other options at Uptown Coney Island that qualify for our mandatory $5 per person Frugal Floozie Friday budget: a Cheese Quesadilla costs $4.99; soup is available for $1.99 (cup) or $2.99 (bowl); and chili for $2.29 (cup) or $3.09 (bowl). A cheeseburger costs $4.99.

Breakfast also offers many inexpensive choices: a cheese omelet for $4.79; a cinnamon roll for $2.39; a bagel with cream cheese for $2.29; or a short stack of pancakes with either blueberries or pecans for $4.49. The Bagel Breakfast — two eggs with bacon or ham or sausage, a choice of cheese, and hash browns — costs only $3.99. And Donna's Biscuits & Sausage Gravy with hash browns or two eggs is only $4.99.

And, of course, don't forget dessert; options range from baklava for $1.99 to slices of pie ($2.99-3.99), homemade Rice Pudding for $2.29 to the Brownie Delight (a sundae) for $3.59.

A very friendly, welcoming place with good food for good prices, Uptown Coney Island is definitely worth a visit!


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

Uptown Coney Island
3917 Jackson Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Monday - Saturday: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday: 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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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.


Lynn Liston

Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

Great choice this week, Mary! I love 'The Coney' as friends and neighbors call it and have been meeting friends there for years for before movie meals, breakfasts, brunch, lunch, glass of wine and snack- you name it. In addition to the Frugal Friday selections that you note, they have a large menu of varied options, including salads, so you can eat light if you can bring yourself to skip the fries, coneys, burgers, and desserts. Speaking of desserts, they also have a delicious panna cotta drizzled with caramel and chocolate. My new favorite pre-Opera broadcast breakfast is panna cotta and their fruit cup, served in a large goblet. This is a well-run restaurant with staff who are universally friendly, courteous, thoughtful and very efficient and as you say, the food is really good.


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

I use to be a regular commenter on, I stop by only a few minutes a week now as I find 99% of what they write not worth my attention. However as I scanned the first page today I noticed this post and caught Uptown Coney in the title so opened it up. I LOVE Uptown Coney, or as we say simply Uptown. We stop by at least once a week, most often twice a week. Or we call in an order for take out. Simply the best service and food of any coney around. The owner is often there working alongside his employees and they are all so pleasant! Never had bad service here or had questionable experiences from my menu selection. The place is always clean and although it looked great before they recently redid the booths and floor. It's our go to place for good filling food, quick friendly service and affordable prices, all with free parking. if you love lemon rice soup or rice pudding there's is the best


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 5:02 a.m.

In my opinion Uptown is the best Coney in the area. We eat there regularly and find it to be consistently better than similar restaurants. The management is very responsive to problems or suggestions and the service is usually really good. Our favorite menu item would also qualify for the frugal list. Their Strawberry Shortcake is fantastic! It's big enough for the two of us to split and at $3.29 it's definitely worth every penny.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

I've found Uptown Coney Island to be far more than just a Coney Island. Their home made soups and specials are as good or better than any comfort food I've had anywhere! And the staff is so friendly and go out of their way to please. We often go there before or after a movie at the Quality 16 across the street.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

Uptown Coney is the best! After finally OD-ing on Fleetwood after years of weekly Sunday visits, I decided to give Uptown a try. I'm a regular there now. The food is as good as any coney or diner in town, and the service is exceptional. You can always tell well-managed eateries (or any retail business, really) because the employees seem like they genuinely enjoy working there.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Good call. Most coney islands fall into the "Frugal Friday" category and this is certainly one of them. We have had several good lunches there over the years. If you are feeling less than frugal and can spare the extra buck, the gyro and greek salad are both good.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

This is indeed a good frugal friday choice. More in line with the frugal part. I know I certainly apprecitate it. Thanks Mary.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

I've been going to Uptown Coney for as long as I can remember. The staff is always friendly, no matter how busy it is (and it gets very busy on weekend mornings). The stapes (coney dogs and fries) can't be beat - they're the best in Ann Arbor as far as I'm concerned.

Sarah Rigg

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

Coney places seem to be a really good bet for filling comfort food on the cheap. I like this place and can vouch for their rice pudding - yum!