The Sidetrack Bar and Grill

The Sidetrack Bar and Grill
The Awesome Mitten- The Sidetrack Bar and Grill
Photo courtesy of Jim Long

If you are on the hunt for a delicious meal in a setting that is anything but average, then The Sidetrack Bar and Grill should be your first and only choice.

Known for it’s upscale bar menu, extensive beer selection and fun and friendly vibe, The Sidetrack Bar & Grill is the place to go for a good meal and a great time.

Strolling down E. Cross Street through Depot Town in Ypsilanti is like taking a step back in time, and The Sidetrack Bar and Grill is no different.

Depot Town is home to several blocks of restored 19th century shopping spots (most of the buildings were built between 1850 and 1880) and the building now housing Sidetrack has been home to a restaurant-bar since at least 1850.

According to owner Linda French, some of the original brickwork still exits within the three layers of brick on the first floor.

The Awesome Mitten- The Sidetrack Bar and Grill
Photo courtesy of The The Sidetrack Bar and Grill

That’s not to say that the location and Sidetrack itself has not seen some major evolution. French took ownership of the building in 1980, naming The Sidetrack Bar and Grill for it’s location, which looks straight out to the railroad (Depot Town is also a reference to the proximity to the Ypsilanti Train Depot).

Since Sidetrack’s inception, French has done an exceptional job of maintaining the historic feel of the area while adding her own zany spin on the business. The interior decor is part old West fun and part ski town charm, with a look that brings diners back to the California gold rush, while the 150 person patio provides the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and views of Depot Town.

The atmosphere of Sidetrack has not gone unnoticed; the restaurant is known as both a family-friendly dinner stop and a hotspot for local college students and faculty. In addition to the local regulars, Sidetrack draws many out of town diners, including a filming crew in 2009 when the restaurant was used in several scenes in the movie Conviction, starring Hillary Swank.

The ambiance of Sidetrack is second only to the exceptional fare. Boasting a large variety of Michigan craft beer, including French’s brother Dave French’s Frog Island beer on tap, Sidetrack is known for their frothy brews served in huge mugs. But possibly the most well known item on Sidetrack’s menu is the burger.

The Awesome Mitten- The Sidetrack Bar and Grill
Photo courtesy of The Sidetrack Bar and Grill

Even with weekly menu updates, these hand crafted burgers, fresh ground and hand rolled daily, have remained a crowd favorite, receiving nationwide recognition for their superior taste. In July 2005, the hamburger at Sidetrack made GQ’s list of Twenty Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die.

Jessica French, the Events and Promotions Manager at Sidetrack, notes that maintaining this high quality of both taste and setting is the focus of Sidetrack team.

Jessica said, “Sidetrack has been constantly evolving since its inception over 30 years ago and we are looking forward to the next phase of that evolution. One thing is for certain- The Sidetrack will always remain committed to providing guests with a unique and authentic atmosphere in which to enjoy good people, great food and huge beers.”

The Awesome Mitten- The Sidetrack Bar and Grill
Photo courtesy of The Sidetrack Bar and Grill

So head into Depot Town and enjoy some exceptional food and delicious drinks in a fun and friendly atmosphere at one of Ypsilanti’s favorite spots and be sure to like The Sidetrack Bar and Grill on Facebook!

~ Hayley Serr, Feature Writer

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Hi, all! A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Awesome Mitten creator Alex Beaton at one of my favorite Michigan landmarks: Michigan State University. Aside from my indulging Spartan roots with trips to East Lansing, I spend most of my time watching movies, cooking, hanging out with my family, and counting down the days until summer, when I can spend a few more days on any of the beautiful lakes of Michigan. Email me at: hayley@awesomemitten.com