YpsiTasty – Saturday Restaurant Review
Today’s Saturday Restaurant Review is a bit different. Instead of featuring one restaurant, we will be talking about our experience at the YpsiTasty Grub Crawl organized by the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Regional Chamber and Growing Hope. During YpsiTasty we visited a number of food venues in Ypsilanti including Depot Town, Downtown, and near EMU’s campus.
About Grub Crawls
The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber organizes Grub Crawls several times a year. Each Grub Crawl features restaurants and food related businesses in a particular region of town. We have attended several events over the years. Personally, I prefer the events that are held in either Downtown Ypsilanti or Downtown Ann Arbor since many of the venues are walkable. They have also held events along Washtenaw Ave or in the Briarwood Mall area.
Tickets for YpsiTasty were $20/adult and $5/child under 12 and included all food samples. Beverages are not included, but can be purchased at each venue. Some restaurants provided water when we arrived and we also carried water bottles with us. You can also buy drinks at any of the locations. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the next Grub Crawl and will be sure to add it to the event calendar. For our family, it is definitely a fun family outing for $45 and one that we look forward to. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for an announcement of the next Grub Crawl.
During the YpsiTasty Grub Crawl we visited a number of different restaurants in Downtown Ypsilanti. At each participating restaurant, we received a sample of one or two dishes. The selected dishes each featured at least one fresh, local ingredient. Some restaurants had the food available in buffets and others served you upon arrival. A couple of the restaurants also provided water to us when we arrived which was appreciated.
We were very excited that we were assigned to start our YpsiTasty experience at Wurst Bar (participants are assigned different starting locations to distribute the group throughout the route). The last time we attended a Grub Crawl in Ypsilanti, we tried to visit Wurst Bar towards the end of the event and it had a long wait for Grub Crawl participants. Since we visited Wurst Bar early (and the EMU students are gone), they were not crowded.
At the Wurst Bar (705 W. Cross St), everyone received individual mini-bratwurst topped with pesto made from local ingredients. They also brought us water and offered us their drink special – any 10 oz beer for $3 which my husband opted for. We all enjoyed our mini-bratwurst and are planning a return trip to checkout their full menu.
Upcoming Sponsored Events
Sweetwaters Cafe is located near Wurst Bar, but they were offering desserts so we decided to save them for the end of the night when we returned to our cars. We hopped on the YpsiTasty Shuttle for a ride to the central Downtown area for our next set of restaurants.
Red Rock Downtown BBQ
My husband’s request for a first stop was Red Rock Downtown BBQ (207 W. Michigan Ave), one of his favorite restaurants. The pork belly was quite good although the accompanying slaw was a bit on the spicy side for my daughter.
Don’t miss our full review of Red Rock BBQ from our Father’s Day dinner there.
The Ypsilanti Farmers Market has two locations. They are open on Tuesday evenings on Washington St just south of Michigan Ave and on Saturday mornings in Depot Town. We sampled some salsa and sunflower shoots (which taste just like sunflower seeds). Unfortunately, they had already given out their YpsiTasty samples of ratatouille when we arrived around 6:45 (they close at 7p).
Bona Sera Cafe
Bona Sera Cafe offered my two favorite dishes of the night – Mac & Cheese and BanToffee Pie. The Mac & Cheese included Dearborn Ham and the BanToffee Pie (banana, toffee, and whipped cream) featured butter from Calder Dairy. Both of these dishes were delicious. We will have to return to Bona Sera Cafe (200 W. Michigan Ave) again soon.
Encuentro Latino is a relatively new Guatemalan restaurant at 228 W. Michigan Ave. They were offering fried tacos topped with tomato sauce and coleslaw. They also provided us with water upon arrival and copies of their menu to take home. Encuentro Latino has a bit of a diner atmosphere making it a better choice for a quick casual meal than a dinner out.
The new Ypsi Alehouse was one of the stops. It is located at 124 Pearl Street, Suite 100 (the old Huron Hotel, currently the Centennial Center Building). The Ypsi Alehouse is a microbrewery offering their in-house brewed beer and food served European pub style (order at the counter and they’ll deliver the food to you). We tried a Blueberry Panna Cotta which was quite good. While their offering was a dessert during YpsiTasty, we checked out their menu and will definitely be back to try a weekend lunch or dinner.
From Ypsi Alehouse, we walked to Depot Town for our final set of restaurants. My daughter and her friend enjoyed playing Pokémon GO as we walked to Depot Town. We encountered several Pokéstops, Pokémon, and even a Gym on our walk.
Maiz Mexican Cantina
Depot Town had a gathering of motorcycles on the same night as YpsiTasty, so the restaurants were quite crowded in DepotTown. Maiz Mexican Cantina (36 E. Cross St) was particularly crowded since it was Tuesday and they offer a Taco Tuesday special. They were serving YpsiTasty samples out back on their patio where they were also offering $2 mini bottles of Corona Light.
Their food sample was a chicken tinga tostada or a potato tostada. Since the chicken was spicy, my daughter and I both went with the potato tostada.
Be sure to check out our full review of Maiz Mexican Cantina from earlier this month. Don’t forget that they offer Kids Eat Free every Sunday.
Aubree’s was serving both a margherita pizza featuring fresh, local cherry tomatoes and their feta cheese bread. We enjoyed both dishes. We enjoy Aubree’s (we also eat at their Ypsi Township location).
Aubrees (39 E. Cross St) was offering both a margherita pizza and feta cheese bread which were both good. I definitely recommend their lunch buffet to sample a variety of pizzas.
Aubree’s is located at 39 E. Cross St in Depot Town.
Cultivate Coffee was offering iced coffee as their sampler. Since we had 4 non-coffee drinkers in our party, this wasn’t a big hit. But, it was our first chance to visit Cultivate Coffee (307 N. River St) and my daughter wants to return to play games while enjoying drinks.
Ypsi Food Co-op
My husband was the only one to visit the Ypsi Food Co-op since the rest of us were full by this point. He enjoyed customizing a mini-sub with their fresh local toppings. The trolley stop to return to our car near Wurst Bar was in front of the Food Co-Op so he ran in while the rest of us watched for the trolley.
The Ypsilanti Food Co-Op is in Depot Town at 312 N. River St.
Sweetwaters Cafe (735 W. Cross St) was our final stop of the night. We were able to sample Carrot Cake, Chocolate Cake, and pies. They were quite delicious.
Restaurants we Missed
We were not able to visit all of the restaurants due to a combination of schedule constraints and our food preferences.
We skipped Harvest Kitchen since their offering was Curry Chicken Salad and most of us do not care for curry. As we approached Depot Town, we saw how crowded Maiz was so most of our group went ahead to Maiz while our neighbor stopped in to Harvest Kitchen to try the Curry Chicken Salad.
We also skipped ABC Micro Brewery (Corner Brewery) since it was getting late and were no longer hungry. We were also fairly full. In May we had dinner at ABC. My daughter and I definitely recommend the Corner Cristo.
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