Get sidetracked

. March 19, 2013.
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Sidetrack Bar and Grill
56 E. Cross Street (Depot Town)
Ypsilanti, MI 48198-2835
Phone: 734-483-1035
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00am – 2:00am
Sun noon – midnight

At first glance, Sidetrack Bar and Grill did not strike me as particularly kid-friendly. The place looked like it was straight out of a Western movie, occupying an historic building next to the train tracks in Ypsi’s Depot Town. Inside, the restaurant was dark, filled with a bar, tables, and an eclectic assortment of old photos and animals mounted on the
walls.

I did not see another family with young children even though the restaurant was crowded with people watching a game on TV. I also noticed there were no children’s menus. This might be interesting, I thought. 

Thankfully, my kids, ages 6 and 3, were oblivious to my first impressions. My daughter, the youngest, waved at the bear and moose on the wall. My son was thrilled to get an IBC root beer in a bottle. I could tell he felt like a grown up. My husband and I relaxed as the noise from patrons around us assured us that our kids could be kids (aka loud) and no one would care.

Digging into the menu

Our server was accommodating and helpful. Although I fretted about the lack of a children’s menu, I was placated by her suggestions for the kids: a side of mac and cheese, a plain pita pizza, grilled cheese, or sliders. She also assured us we would like the appetizer we were eyeing up, the Irish Pub Egg Rolls. 

She was right. The Irish Pub Egg Rolls were a dill pickle, ham, and Swiss wrapped into egg rolls and served with course ground mustard. They tasted like fried bites of a ham and cheese sandwich. Even the kids liked them, after we
removed the “disgusting” pickle per my son’s request.

Our entrees were pleasing, too. My daughter tackled her mac and cheese, made with penne noodles and smothered in real cheddar cheese. Meanwhile, my son ate his way through
2 of his 4 sliders. 

“It is so good,” he enthused. “Try it!” he demanded, putting a slider close to my mouth. I refused as I had my own burger to enjoy, a hand crafted 1/3 lb. beauty cooked medium well and
topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and provolone cheese. My burger was juicy and flavorful,
but not greasy.

Yankee Pot Roast, slow roasted for 8 hours, accompanied by mashed potatoes, gravy, and roasted carrots were my husband’s dinner selection. “This is ridiculously good,” he shared. “There’s some TLC in there. Even the cooked carrots are good.”

Here comes the train!

Just then an Amtrak train rumbled through the crossing. The kids scrambled into the window to watch while I swear I heard an excited “oooo” rise up from the adults seated in the innards of the restaurant. I should mention that Sidetrack offers outdoor seating when the weather’s nice, perfect for train watching. I should also mention that there are plenty of other
tempting items on the menu including big salads, homemade soups and chili, sandwiches and pasta.

For dessert, we chose the Giant Strawberry Shortcake. It was enormous, and delicious. I swear there was a half-gallon of Guernsey vanilla ice cream sandwiched between a sweet biscuit the size of the Diag smothered in fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

“I’m gonna marry this!” my son proclaimed.

As we finished up, my husband commented, “I gotta be honest. I wasn’t excited about coming here, but that was one of the better meals we’ve had.” I agreed. And the kids—sans children’s menus, crayons, balloons, etc.—had a fine meal and a fine time, too.

 

THE SHORT COURSE
Kid-friendly
More yes than no
To avoid wait Go Sun-Thurs. You can also do ‘call ahead’ seating.
Noise level High
Bathroom amenities No changing table in either restroom
High chairs Yes
Got milk No
Kids’ menu No, but try the sliders, plain pita pizza, grilled cheese or a side of mac and cheese
Anything healthy for kids This is bar food!
Food allergy concerns They use vegetable- based oil for cooking. Talk with your server or the manager about specific allergy concerns

Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer who lives in Saline. Contact her c/o editor@annarborfamily.com