My mind was playing tricks on me.
As I stepped into the Blue Wolf Grill on Washtenaw, I could tell the location used to be a fast food restaurant. I wanted to follow the tile floor to the counter and order; instead, I was invited to take a seat in the carpeted dining room. My eyes darted above the counter for the menu; instead, a mural of a wolf howling at the moon occupied that spot and a server at my table handed me a menu.
The Blue Wolf Grill opened last year in a spot formerly occupied by a Taco Bell. Decorated in earthy browns and midnight blue, the small dining room exudes a casual Up North feel. The restaurant’s menu boasts American cuisine with Michigan flair and strives to use only Michigan based food distributors and local ingredients whenever possible.
The restaurant offers a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and entrees. After considering the Michigan salad with walnuts, dried cherries, and crumbled blue cheese, I decided on the Whitefish Panini ($10; fries $1 more). My husband debated between the apple brined chicken, slow smoked with Michigan cherry sauce, and the flank steak with hunter’s sauce. He went with the steak ($17), which included a salad and one side.
My 9-year-old, enjoying a growth spurt, scoffed at the “pup sliders” on the kids’ menu. Instead, he ordered the half-pound Blue Wolf bacon burger, sans lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise ($9). Meanwhile, his little sister, age 6, had no problem choosing from the kids’ menu. From its selection of sliders, pizza, or chicken tenders (each $6 with one side), she picked chicken tenders and mashed potatoes.
The Whitefish Panini was a modern version of the classic tuna melt. The whitefish salad tasted smoky and mixed well with melted Monterey Jack. The fries, seasoned with Parmesan and garlic, were light and yummy. My husband declared his flank steak good, accompanied by an appetizing sauce laced with mushrooms. His side order of collard greens with bacon was nicely wilted and tasted earthy and tangy. His entree also came with a whole wheat croissant, which he found flaky and crusty.
“It’s bacon-rific,” my 9-year-old proclaimed of his Blue Wolf bacon burger. I noticed thick cut bacon and plenty of melted cheddar before the burger disappeared. “Yum-may!” my daughter commented on her chicken tenders. The mashed potatoes were too sophisticated for her, but I found them appealing with hints of Parmesan, chives, and melted butter.
We shared a slice of peanut butter cheesecake for dessert. While pretty to look at with crumbled peanuts and chocolate sauce drizzled on top, our piece tasted dry. Next time I would try the croissant bread pudding with vanilla sauce.
While perhaps the interior harkens back to the structure’s fast food past, the Blue Wolf Grill overall was well suited for families and a comfortable spot for tasty sandwiches and burgers. The restaurant also serves breakfast, with Michigan flair, from 8am-2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.
Blue Wolf Grill
2332 Washtenaw Ave., Ypsilanti
Hours: Monday 11am-8pm;
Tuesday-Thursday 11am-9pm; Friday 11am-10pm;
Saturday 8am-10pm; Sunday 8am-8pm
THE SHORT COURSE
To avoid wait Dine before 7pm
Noise level low to moderate
Bathroom amenities No changing tables
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes, plus pink lemonade and soda
Kids’ menu? Yes
Anything healthy for kids? The kids’ pizza with fresh mozzarella and a side of vegetables would be your best choice.
Food allergy concerns Some gluten-free items are offered. They encourage you to call ahead or talk with the manager about
other concerns, which they will strive to accommodate.