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Posted on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 9:45 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery - go for the beer, stay for the Truffled French Fries

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

My son Jeremy had been wanting to try the Truffled French Fries at today's Frugal Floozie Friday feature — the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery — since I first told him that I'd found the intriguing dish while searching through a variety of menus one day while making a list of restaurants to visit.  He's not a fan of mushrooms, usually, so I wasn't very sure that he'd enjoy these.

So imagine how thrilled I was when Jeremy announced that "These are pretty delicious. These are the best fries ever!"

They were utterly irresistible — so crisp, so fragrant with rosemary, so subtly and perfectly flavored with truffle and salt — that we'd have each happily devoured our own serving rather sharing.  The fries were perfectly complemented by a rich mayonnaise-based dipping sauce — ketchup would be a sacrilege.

I've already made a note to myself that these fries will be on my Top 10 list for the year.  And they only cost $5, our mandatory per-person budget, despite a truly generous portion!

Another fabulous dish, though one that would need to be split to stay within budget (it could easily feed 4, particularly served with the fries) is the Three Cheese Pizza for $9: "Herb flecked ricotta, parmesan and gruyere cheeses, with shaved broccolini, caramelized onions and salsa verde."  The cheeses were rich and creamy atop a crisp, hand-formed, granite-baked crust ... sigh. Purely, simply delicious!

I'm sure some of you are wondering why I'm focusing on the restaurant's food offerings and ignoring the brewery options, since Jolly Pumpkin is noted for its beer and ales.  Well, first of all, I don't drink beer — that makes me sufficiently ignorant of the offerings that I shouldn't dare to pontificate about them. And a pint would just about use up our $5 per person budget — to my thinking, more food and less beer is a better value.  But I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from enjoying one of the fabulous creations.

In lieu of beer, Jeremy tried a $4 non-alcoholic Black and Tan, which is equal parts ginger ale and artisan ginger beer.  It was bright and refreshing, and would be spectacular on a hot summery day.

There are soups and ice cream available for $5 each, an olive assortment to split for $6.  Many options await you that all qualify for our $5 per person (or less!) budget.

The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, welcoming guests to come in and enjoy themselves without rushing. Share some fries, indulge in pizza, nurse a craft beer ... just be sure to find your way to the Jolly Pumpkin, where the food is exceptional and there are great values to be found!

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery
311 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Mary Bilyeu writes about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests ... 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 or comments or suggestions:

You should also visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related.

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.


Marshall Applewhite

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

Everything at Jolly Pumpkin is very good, but I wouldn't really consider it part of a frugal lifestyle. If I remember correctly, the burgers are $12 and an order of fries was $5 or $6.

Jessica Webster

Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

I'm a huge fan of the truffled fries. And the Maracaibo Especial. Mmmmm....

David Briegel

Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

The Jolly Pumpkin is a really good place to eat and the beer is outstanding! Those fries..............Ahhhhh..


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Best fries in town. And best beer! (Let the debates begin...)


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

i also love their veggie tempura!!

Spencer Thomas

Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

I love the truffle fries. I don't need the calories, but I can't stop eating them. The only recourse is to not order them at all. :-(