“i’ll have a mary ann starkweather steak”

[This comes from a 1980 issue of the Ypsilanti Heritage Foundation Newsletter. At first I just liked the canibalistic ring that “the Mary Ann Starkweather steak” had to it, but the more I think about this place, the more interested I am to know more about it. If anyone has any information on how long they stayed in business, or what ultimately led to their closing, please leave a comment… I should add, there is a similiar entry in a 1979 edition of the newsletter about the opening of another local restaurant. It was called the Sidetrack.]

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16 Comments

  1. mark
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    “I’d like to make a reservation… Donner, party of eight… We’ll all be trying Mary Starkweather.”

  2. Tommy
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Wonder if Sloppy Joe was on the menu as well!

    MM readers, I need some help. Trying to remember the name of the mid 80s restaurant on the South Side of Michigan Ave just west of the River (across the street from Materials Unlimited). Used to play darts and get drunk there regularly, but my friend and I can’t for the life of us remember the establishment’s name.

  3. Paul Kean
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Tommy, I want to say it was called Main Street, which doesn’t make sense as it was on Michigan Ave. Maybe that’s why it eventually failed. I’ve also heard it was haunted.

  4. maryd
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Before it was Mainstreet it was Casanovas, they made great Antipasto salads. The old Centennial building was the Huron Hotel when I came to town (1975) we drank vodka gimlets & ate hot buttered cashews there yum. And of course our Club Divine & Pub 13 was the old Spaghetti Bender.

  5. Kirk
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    In the 80s the restaurant on Michigan was called Main Street. A friend of mine worked there and as I recall it was in business quite a while.

    More trivia – Main Street had a really cool bar and a Hollywood director (I think Robert Altman) filmed a beer commercial there. The staff were shown the finished commercial but it was intentionally not aired anywhere in this area.

    The Woodruff’s Grove restaurant was still around in 1982-83, don’t know about after that.

  6. Vera
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    My husband and 2 of his sisters worked at Main Street. It closed down after a fire. It hadn’t been doing too well for years prior.

    One of the daily bar patrons ended his life by walking in front of a train during the time my husband worked there. This would have been in ’91 or ’92. I think someone on this site mentioned seeing that happen?

  7. Tommy
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    While we ‘stuck in the 80s’ crowd reminisce about the good old days, do the college kids still go to Theo’s for Kamikazes on Wednesdays? Or to what was George’s for some local blue collar flavor ( along with smoke, elbows on the bar propping heads up, shot-and-a-beer crowd)?

    Or do they go to a fine establishment like the Corner Brewery and spend time texting on their phones, saying ‘like’ or ‘amazing’ every third word, and showing little respect for any and all service folk?

  8. Oletimer
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    The hotdog at Woodruff’s Grove was called “Demetrius’s wiener”.

  9. Kate
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Woodruff’s Grove was still around in 1986, because it was one of the places my now-ex and I considered for our wedding reception. I think it closed down within a couple of years after that, though.

  10. Posted February 18, 2008 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    mark you suck. you and your liberal friends need to go to Ann Arbor and enjoy you silly ideas there. I saw your comments about ypsi needing a gay bar and an indian restaurant and believe that’s totally stupid. Ypsi may not be great the way it is due to the dead beats, but your idea’s are not the answer.

  11. egpenet
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Mark, you DIDN’T! A gay bar and an Indian Restaurant? Really!

    (If you wanna score points with the locals you gotta write about having an authentic Eyetalian Restaurant and a Hell’s Angels-themed biker bar.)

  12. Rin
    Posted June 5, 2008 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I worked at Woodruff’s Grove, and it closed because the older couple who owned the place gave away lots of food and drink to the regulars. They sunk themselves financially. The didn’t know how to run a restaurant. They used their retirement money to buy the place because they’d always dreamed of owning a restaurant. Great people, but bad at business.

    Those of us who worked there knew how bad it had gotten, but we were blindsided about its closing. We showed up for work and were greeted at the back door by our manager who said, “We’re done. It’s closed.”

    It was a cozy little place that should have been around for a long time.

  13. mark
    Posted June 5, 2008 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the history, Rin. I was hoping that someone would come along who knew the story.

  14. ypsi-man
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    I think there was a restaurant called “the grainery” that was across from Materials Unlimited. I was a chef at Woodruff’s Grove for three years, and I can tell you that it was a fun place to work, the crew was awesome, and they spared no expense on getting quality food. Great filet mignon & desserts….

  15. ypsi-man
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Ah – I also remember a place called the wooden leg (or something like that) on the same side of the street as materials unlimited. And who can forget the “John Bar”?

  16. Julie Gest
    Posted July 4, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I worked at Woodruff’s Grove when it opened. The original owner was Paul, whose name escapes me now. It was a great place, diners were billed monthly. He was a genius, if anyone knows of him, please let me know.

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