The Short Course
To avoid wait: Come for an early dinner
Noise level: Loud
Bathroom amenities: No changing table
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes
Kids’ menu? Yes
Anything healthy for kids? Yes
Food allergy concerns? Friendly staff are more than willing to accomodate
Jim Brady’s makes a great first impression for kids and adults alike
Jim Brady’s knows how to make a first impression. A bright red carpet entrance and shiny wood floors, painted red, provided an exciting invitation to this Metro Detroit export that had our three-year-old oohing and ahhing. The design and construction of the new location is reflected in an interior unlike anything else on Main Street. Jim Brady’s decor is incredible; with fun pop art, mid-century light fixtures and furnishings, and raised booths we really felt like we were dining out. The kids enjoyed exploring the three floors and we all agreed that the third floor was our favorite. Request one of the two circular mezzanine booths for a truly memorable dining experience.
Kids options abound
We started with the roasted cauliflower ($10) appetizer along with grandma’s fried chicken poppers ($10). Warm and tender, with light breading and a mild seasoning, the chicken poppers were a huge hit with the kids. The adults also enjoyed them, along with the ranch dipping sauce infused with McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix. A note for readers, these are the same chicken poppers offered on the kids menu. With a number of options (buttered noodles, quesadilla, chicken breast, burger, mac & cheese, and corn dogs) each priced at $7 and served with one side, the Jim Brady’s kids menu helps it stand out among Main Street dining options. Our kids tasted the awesome mac & cheese with its super rich flavor and the corn dog, but the stand outs on the kids menu were the sides. There were many options, including some healthy ones – fries, salad, tots, tortilla chips, apples & yogurt, and pineapple wedges. Our kids loved the thin apple slices, served with vanilla yogurt.
The adults ordered the namesake burger that helped to make Jim Brady’s famous back in the 1950s, the Diamond Jim Brady’s special sandwich ($11). Surprisingly, this burger classic does not boast too many fixins’ — that is no bacon, BBQ or onion rings on top. We appreciated the no frills approach to the burger and enjoyed the savory house spice blend that makes this burger shine. We also tasted the blackened chicken carbonara ($18) and enjoyed the fresh, al dente vegetables that accompany the pasta. The sliced asparagus and sweet peas side was a nice touch to balance out the chipotle cream sauce.
The menu has a balanced variety of choices, without being overwhelming to those trying to make a decision amidst somewhat wild little ones. Surely there is a salad, sandwich, or entree for most diners. Many items on the menu have stood the test of time and are served exactly the same way as they were way back in 1954!
What really stood out for us was the dessert. The house made Vernor’s ice cream ($4) was outstanding. We were advised by our server that on a follow-up visit we should try their banana split which features the Vernor’s vanilla ice cream along with their house made strawberry and chocolate ice cream flavors as well. “You can’t find a banana split like it these days,” she added. For our family, however, we zeroed in on Jim Brady’s famous homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting ($7). It did not disappoint. Even our 5-year old declared it worthy of a return visit (high praise). And the best part is that for every piece of carrot cake sold, the restaurant donates a portion of the price to Ann Arbor’s very own Tiny Lions Lounge & Adoption Center.
Jim Brady’s is a bit pricey for our normal casual meal out with the kids, but if you’re looking for a new and unique atmosphere to check out along Main Street, it’s a solid option, with more kids’ choices than most. Save some cash by hitting Jim Brady’s happy hour Monday through Friday from 3pm-6pm, when all appetizers are priced at $6.
Jim Brady’s , 209 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-562-1954 | jimbradysdetroit.com
Open daily, 4pm-12am (kitchen closes at 11pm; lunch hours coming soon)