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February 19, 2008

Good Beer, Veggie Eats At Sidetrack in Ypsi

By George Bishop

On Valentine’s day my girlfriend and I forsook the usual romantic hot spots that Ann Arbor has to offer and took a brief trip down 94 to Sidetrack Bar and Grille in Ypsilanti. While I can’t recommend Sidetrack for a romantic getaway, it does have a great pub-like atmosphere, a good selection of beer on tap and some well above-average bar food.

Located in Ypsilanti’s historic depot town, Sidetrack, and the rest of the businesses on the block, seem as if they were plucked from the 1950s. The illusion is maintained upon entering the restaurant, where one is greeted with a sea of tables that stretch to the back of the building. The restaurant was packed to capacity (perhaps 75-100 people at tables and the bar) when we arrived around 7:00 but was not cramped or claustrophobic considering the large crowd. Upon the walls one can find a stuffed menagerie of the local wildlife along with some old-timey photographs. Despite the clichés, the décor resists the over-the-top camp of a TGI Fridays and makes for very cozy, tavern atmosphere.

While the atmosphere was a pleasant surprise, it was the menu that drew us to Sidetrack. My girlfriend had received a tip the Sidetrack was especially vegetarian friendly and the selections did not disappoint. The menu was quite varied and displayed more than just a nominal vegetarian selection (quite a surprise as Sidetrack is famous for its burgers). I decided upon a cup of black bean chili and the goat cheese quesadilla. The chili, which came smothered with cheese and onions, was perfectly seasoned, not too spicy but still with a little kick to it. After the chili, the quesadilla seemed a bit lacking. It came with a generous portion of goat cheese and a variety of peppers, spinach and other veggies wrapped in a grilled tortilla. The quesadillas were tasty but underdone and thus slightly soggy. For desert we split an order of cherry bread pudding topped with a caramel sauce. This desert was a tasty as you’d imagine and the portion was enormous as well. To cap it off, Sidetrack boasts a great selection of draught beers. While the selection can’t rival Ashley’s, anyone who appreciates a good brew should be able to find something suitable. In all I’d recommend Sidetrack to anyone looking to get out of AA for the night or if you’re simply searching for a good meal at a laid-back local pub.