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Posted on Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

Ypsilanti's Sidetrack Bar and Grill to expand, add 30 jobs

By Katrease Stafford


Sidetrack Bar and Grill has purchased the adjacent 6,000- square-foot building and plans to renovate it.

File photo

Ypsilanti's Sidetrack Bar and Grill has purchased the adjacent 6,000-square-foot building at 52 E. Cross St. and plans to add up to 30 jobs, Concentrate Media reports.

The space was previously occupied by Bird Brain, which has since relocated.

Sidetrack, located at 54-56 E. Cross St., will now have a 5,000-square-foot second floor that will be used for catering and other events. Owner Linda French told Concentrate she would like to turn the third story into apartments.

Sidetrack is expected to receive a $15,000 rehabilitation grant from the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority. reported in September that the DDA awarded $51,002 in grants to nine business owners for various renovation projects.

Jake Albers, former DDA Community Development Coordinator, said at the time that the program aids job creation and downtown revival. The Sidetrack project will create 30 jobs.

Read the full story here.


John Tucker

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.



Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

Absolutely love the Sidetrack. My friends and I will drive from Ann Arbor and Chelsea to meet there after work, we like it so much. And we've never had anything but positive interactions with their friendly waitstaff.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

I love this restaurant!

Harry Styles

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Hopefully this expansion will take care of that awful stench that penetrates the walls of this place. I find it hard to consume food while eating there. Also "best bar" in the nation is a bit far, the food is atrocious and the servers always look Dirty. Hopefully the grant money will buy new uniforms, work shoes and an air filter

jay raugnerson

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Looks like someone has an axe to grind. I've been going to the Sidetrack for years and years. Any smell was taken care of by the last expansion and re-do of the basement and hasn't been back since. I'm sure the next expansion will make this place even bigger and better.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

If you don't like it, stick to McD's.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

I used to go there a lot in college. They were priced right and there was nothing else worth eating in Ypsi (besides fast food and the Bomber or Abes). Now there are options. My own reason for eating elsewhere stems from their broken "deep warmer". Ice cold frozen in the middle fries twice in a row made me ill especially since I had eaten wonderful food there for years. If they buy a new deep fryer or at least have the existing one serviced/refurbished I will give them a try again.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

Linda is a powerhouse and an amazing restaurateur. We look forward to many more visits to the Sidetrack! The Sidetrack is a great alternative to any of the overpriced Ann Arbor restaurants.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Good deal. Sidetrack rocks, but it could use some more space and freshening up. This should be a good thing.

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

Sidetrack is definitely among the top (if not the top) bars in the county. The great beer selection, excellent food, non-corporate chain decor, and lack of frat boy culture..

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

The lack of the frat-boy culture and more authentic feel make it perhaps my favorite restaurant.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

never a mention for the architect or designers responsible for these projects.

Hot Sam

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

Love the Sidetrack...wish them luck...hope they proceed with caution. I have seen too many great places suffer from expansion...Cracked Crab...Full Moon...Box Bar in Plymouth... just to name a few.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

Excellent point.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

I agree Sam, I really used to love the Box Bar! Now it's just another restaurant in Plymouth. If you're ever up north, go to the Keyhole in Mackinaw City. It is reminiscent of the old Box.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 4:22 a.m.

Please renovate the bathrooms while you're at it. In a city of dive bars, Sidetrack's are the worst.

Mary Ann Barbary

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Weird. I love the women's bathrooms. The wainscoting, stools, big mirrors. I hope they don't renovate them into some cookie-cutter, pre-fab, plastic clone of a "modern" bathroom.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 3:25 a.m.

I remember going to the Sidetrack in the mid to late 80's for lunch frequently. When we didn't go there we went to the Old Town down the block. Both great places. Good for them.

two canoes

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

Great restaurant, happy to see the expansion.

Jim Osborn

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

I'll drink to that...

Honest Abe

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

You would think there would be a conflict of interest issue going on here, since Linda French is on the DDA Board. Just sayin........

Honest Abe

Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

Just viewed the minutes from the DDA board meeting that approved these grants. For the record - Linda French was present and voted on the disbursements, that included her own business. You can verify this by visiting the Ypsilanti DDA website. The meeting was on 8/16/2012. Now what do you have to say, folks?


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

The 'grants' went to the owner of the Wolverine Grille, the person who owns the building that has the Mix, and the Sidetrack. Each of those people are on the DDA. The city attorney also got a 'grant'.

Paul Taylor

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

It depends if she voted on the issues related to Sidetrack getting any grant money. Usually, members of such public boards abstain from such votes, specifically in order to avoid the conflict of interest. You would have to review their mi utes to be sure, though.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

Way to go Sidetrack! Since I've moved away I miss you and your great food, drink and atmosphere almost every day (though I live in a place with many fine restaurants and bars)!

Real Life

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : midnight

I truly believe there's a Sidetrack franchise in Heaven. There has to be.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:21 a.m.

looks like somebody has a bone to pick.

Honest Abe

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

I always wondered what it would be like to live above a bar.

Real Life

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

It would down down on those nasty DUI's.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

It couldn't happen to a better place.

Honest Abe

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

I beg to differ.