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Posted on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 8:45 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Village Kitchen - carrot cake is just one of many inexpensive comfort food options

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!

Jeremy, Craig, and I recently stopped by Village Kitchen for a late afternoon snack; I thought I might have something small, something savory.

And then I walked past the dessert case, and became completely smitten with the carrot cake. It was all I could think of, all I could hear calling me.

I was seduced. I succumbed.

But even I couldn't eat this entire four-layer sugar-fest all by myself; happily Craig split it with me. This is so rich, so intense, so wonderful! I couldn't resist. And at nearly $8 per slice, it's an ideal sweet treat to share with a sweetheart while staying within our mandatory $5 per person Frugal Floozie Friday budget.

Besides the array of lovely desserts, there is an entire array of other cost-conscious options at Village Kitchen.

Start your morning with a short stack of pancakes for $4.29 or hot oatmeal with sliced banana and brown sugar for $4.49. If you want something sweet, a warm danish costs $2.59.

Moving on through the day, Ms. Elizabeth's Soup Kettle offers selections that are made fresh daily. The Village Chili Bowl with cheddar cheese and onions can be enjoyed for $3.59 (cup) or $4.79 (bowl). The soup of the day, served with bread and butter or with crackers, costs $2.79 for a cup and $3.59 for a bowl. On Fridays, you can have chowder for an extra $1 beyond the soup prices.

Everything on the "Kids' Corner" menu costs $4.99: an egg and toast, silver dollar pancakes, or French toast are all served with bacon or sausage; a grilled cheese sandwich or two chicken strips come with applesauce; and spaghetti is accompanied by garlic toast.

While all of this sounds great — comfort food extraordinaire — I have to admit that when I go back to Village Kitchen, I'll still likely enjoy the carrot cake again. And I'll still share it with a loved one.


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

Village Kitchen
241 N. Maple Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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Mary Bilyeu - a self-proclaimed Food Floozie (named for her blog, which is taking a summer vacation) - writes for on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen ... 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:

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, Jun 7, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

$8.00 for a slice of carrot cake is frugal? Wow!

Pretty Gritty

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

I stopped going a few years ago. I grew tired of the older well dressed lady being rude to the staff. My guess is that she is the owner or part owner. She seems like a horrible person. I have found Bell's and Holidays to be better anyways.


Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

Decent choice. I have not been there in a few years and probably will go again, now that you reminded me. Seems slightly less frugal than Bells down the street, but is also a little bigger, so you don't have to share tables etc. Regarding one of your old articles; I finally made it to Taco King (in the same neighborhood). I did indeed get out for under five dollars. Good call on that one also.

Mary Bilyeu

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Thanks! Yup - it is, indeed, possible to eat 'round here for $5 or less ... :)

Mary Bilyeu

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

Well, as a girl with an English degree (proud graduate of UM), and as someone who watches the National Spelling Bee live every year (and is still debating the spelling of "knaidel!"), I do have to say that misspellings, poor grammar, punctuation errors, and such, irk me ... I'm a bit OCD-ed about such matters. However, even *I* can overlook these things when it comes to a divinely rich carrot cake and other hearty comfort foods ... :)


Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 10:02 p.m.

I notice those things too but I think I could ignore it quite easily for that carrot cake!!!!


Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Thanks for reminding me that the Village Kitchen hasn't increased their prices much over the years. Great soups, as I remember. Good service, too. Andrew...get a life!


Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

The problem with Village Kitchen is that their hand-drawn menu signs are always filled with misspellings and grammatical problems. Especially frequent: quote marks randomly added around words; apostrophes used for plurals; plural of "berry" spelled "berrys." It stresses me out every time I go in there


Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

That carrot cake would really go a long way toward helping me ignore the misspellings!!


Fri, Jun 7, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Must be "very" hard for you, with all those misspelling's. Especially in a tollage cown. I know I always prioritize the King's English over cost and quality of food at a greasy spoon.