West Side Location of Songbird Café Takes Flight

. January 31, 2016.
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The Songbird Café West Side
2891 Jackson Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-6pm (kitchen open until 3pm); Sat-Sun 9am-6pm (kitchen open all day)
(734) 436-8412 | thesongbirdcafeannarbor.com

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Yes
To avoid wait: Go before or after the noon lunch hour rush 
Noise level: Low to moderate
Bathroom amenities:  No changing tables
High chairs? Yes
Got milk?   Yes, plus orange juice, bottled water, and specialty bottled beverages
Kids’ menu? Yes
Anything healthy for kids? Try the Greek yogurt parfait

Food allergy concerns?  Gluten-free wraps are available. One kids’ sandwich contains peanut butter and nuts may be in some baked goods. Call ahead or talk with staff about your concerns.

A new song can be heard on Ann Arbor’s west side. It fills the air with notes of quality breakfast and lunch items, coffee, specialty drinks, and baked goods. 

The song comes from The Songbird Café West Side, the second location of a popular breakfast and lunch spot owned by the mother and daughter team of Youn and Jenny Song. The original Songbird Café on Plymouth Road opened in 2012. The West Side location opened this past summer in the space previously occupied by Great Lakes Coffee & Chocolate on Jackson Road.

With seating for around 30, the West Side location exudes a warm, coffee house vibe. Rustic wood tables are strewn throughout and floor to ceiling windows offer ample light. My kids, ages 12 and 9, and I noticed patrons armed with laptops and coffee the day we dined.

Music to your belly

The Songbird Café West Side is more than a coffee shop, however. Made-to-order breakfast and lunch items include sandwiches like the Sunrise, with sun dried tomato pesto, provolone, onion, tomato and egg on brioche and the Spicy BBQ Pork and Avocado Wrap with pickled vegetables.

A kids’ menu offers three sandwich choices: Nutella and jam, peanut butter and jam, or ham and cheese, all on Italian bread with chips or a pickle ($5.95). My daughter, 9, gleefully chose the Nutella and jam sandwich plus orange juice to drink.

My son, 12, selected the Grilled Cheese Trio ($7.50) with cheddar, smoked Gouda, provolone, and apple butter on Italian bread. He omitted the lowly tomato. I picked the most popular menu item, the Pistachio Turkey sandwich ($8.95) with oven roasted turkey breast, pistachio goat cheese, apple slices and fig jam grilled on Italian bread. My son picked up a bottle of water while I chose a lavender latte.

The right notes

My lavender latte arrived first and was delicious: creamy, not too sweet, with just a hint of lavender. 

“I can’t imagine that tastes good,” my son commented on my latte. He hesitantly took a sip before shaking his head. Just you wait son, I thought, Coffee is from the Gods.

Our sandwiches arrived next. My Pistachio Turkey fused the jam’s sweetness with the tart nuttiness of the goat cheese between soft, chewy bread. I ate it all and thought it fortuitous that my husband was unable to join us. He could have consumed two sandwiches easily.

“You can really taste the apple butter,” my son said of his grilled cheese. It proved too flavorful for him, though. Next time he would omit the apple butter. 

“Oh my gosh, this is so good,” enthused my daughter of her Nutella and jam sandwich, which she gobbled up.

We also indulged in house-made potato chips. My son and I originally thought them bland and thick, but their simple potato taste grew on us. We ended up liking them quite a bit. A Parmesan parsley version is available for a small upcharge. 

Finally, the Café’s house-made baked goods beckoned. We shared a white chocolate Oreo brownie ($3) that was chocolatey, dense, and yummy. Other choices, which rotate, included a green tea muffin, red velvet coffee cake and pumpkin pie bar. 

The Songbird Café West Side is a bit smaller than the original café at 2707 Plymouth Road, which also offers brunch items, not yet available at the Jackson Road location.