Food Fight! Stray Hen Cafe’s Stellar Breakfast, Lunch, and Brunch in Ann Arbor

Serving more than eggs and chicken in downtown A2 with pancakes, vegetarian, and protein bowls to please the whole family.

Because of its name, Stray Hen Cafe, might lead you to think its menu is full of chicken or egg-oriented meal options. But along with those items, there are many other offerings including pancakes, protein bowls, and salads. 

We visited Stray Hen Cafe twice. The first time we went more for guilty pleasures, the second time we tried healthier options. Both times we enjoyed all their dishes and service. It is kid-friendly, vegetarian-, and vegan-friendly as well. 

All ages are sure to enjoy many of the Stray Hen’s tasty treats.  They have both a breakfast and lunch menu. Located on the corner of Division and Washington in downtown Ann Arbor, and open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., it is a perfect spot for breakfast, brunch, and lunch.

The Waffles “Flight Combo” was a show stopper in presentation and taste. One aptly described it as a waffle bento box. Four mini waffles are displayed, each topped differently with fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and cookie butter and apples. The middle of the box has a dollop of whipped cream. It was a pleasure to enjoy different flavors with each individual waffle and the interior of the waffles themselves are light and fluffy with fragrant spices. 

Waffles “Flight Combo” needs to be tried at least once, if only for a guilty pleasure. Photo by Donna Marie Iadipaolo.

The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich had a classic Buffalo Chicken wing flavor, but was served in breast form, and accompanied by its traditional Buffalo red hot sauce along with the bleu cheese smothered inside. The bun consisted of a soft brioche and included lettuce, tomato, and red onion for a more hearty lunch option. 

The Burrata Toast was a relatively healthy option. It consisted of arugula, cherry tomatoes, burrata, balsamic glaze, and smashed avocado. This dish was nice in terms of the variety of vegetables that complimented one another along with the cheese for some protein and calcium. (Burrata is a semisoft white Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream and becoming more fashionable these days in many places.)

We also tried a salad that was aptly named, No Regrets, because we were not sorry that we ordered it and ate it all up. This delightful salad consisted of very fresh, crisp, and vibrant green romaine, Old Bay seasoned shrimp, roasted corn, black beans, cucumber, avocado, red onion, tomato, and cilantro. There was overall a nice balance of flavors in every bite for a fun salad.

Healthy Citizen was also recommended by many, which we will have to try next time. This special salad consists of romaine, spinach, egg, avocado, roasted cauliflower, asparagus, cherry tomato, red onion, goat cheese, and cucumber. 

One of their most popular items — the Bagel Sandwich, includes a Barry’s Everything Bagel, scrambled egg, sausage patty, and American Cheese. We tried it and found it delicious and also a bargain at only $6!

All of the coffee and tea options we tried were delightful. Many flavors are available to add to one’s latte, such as pistachio, and nice teas like wild berry hibiscus were refreshing. They even had a java chip drink that had chocolate chips and a marbled-like presentation.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is cheerful and full of light. The staff is friendly, helpful, and upbeat. Both times we attended there was a very long line out the door with people willing to wait over half an hour before eating their delectable delights. We liked all the succulent plants on the tables as a nature focus, as well as original art, and there is some outdoor seating as well with picnic tables.

The establishment overall has an overall positive vibe, with lots of children eating with their parents, and also high chairs are available for infants. 

Stray Hen Cafe in Ann Arbor has been open for about a year (there is also a location located just outside of Chicago in Elmhurst, IL). It is owned and operated by Chris Fronimos, who previously worked at Eataly, an Italian food establishment in Chicago.

Fronimos gets many of his ingredients from local establishments like DJ’s Bakery, Washtenaw Dairy, and Barry’s Bagels. Many people we chatted with said they were also happy with many of the dishes being affordable, particularly relative to other Ann Arbor restaurants. Stray Hen dishes generally range from $7 to $13. 

Stray Hen Cafe  403 E Washington, Ann Arbor. 734-929-2590. strayhencafe.com

Open daily from 8am – 3pm.

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