buy a burger, get a burger, at the sidetrack

OK, remember how, on the first of September, I arranged for you all to get half-price fried chicken dinners at Haab’s? Well, this month, I’ve got something just as tempting. Linda French and our friends at Ypsilanti’s legendary Sidetrack Bar and Grill have agreed to give us, the readers of, one of their delicious world famous burgers absolutely free, with every purchase of a burger at regular price. And that goes not just for beef, but for their tempeh and black bean burgers as well. All you have to do is print out this coupon and hand it to your waitperson…. That’s twice the burger for your money! And it’s all month long…. Enjoy.

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  1. Posted September 30, 2008 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    How many Haab’s chicken dinners got sold?

  2. mark
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Last I heard it was 45, but that was over a week ago. They were happy with the results.

  3. Posted October 1, 2008 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    This is a good one!

  4. Doug
    Posted October 1, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink


    Thanks, Mark!

  5. ytown
    Posted October 1, 2008 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like any of you, but I loves me a Sidetrack burger! Went there tonight! I don’t say it very often, thanks Mark!

  6. Posted October 1, 2008 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Ytown, I think we’re the only friends you have.

  7. ytown
    Posted October 1, 2008 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Good one Dude, you actually made me laugh!

  8. Posted October 1, 2008 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    ytown, I like you. I actually miss your comments.

  9. mark
    Posted October 1, 2008 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I bumped into a guy in Ann Arbor tonight who told me that he used the last coupon to take his family to Haab’s. He said he’d never been there before, and he liked it. He said he was surprised by how good it was. And he said that he’d go back. Hopefully there are other Ann Arborites out there willing to venture out to Ypsi in search of delicious, inexpensive burgers.

  10. Robert
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Hell yes, Mark! I’ll be taking advantage of the coupon as soon as I can find someone to go with me. I don’t have any friends, as you all might have guessed. Now I’m starting to feel bad that I alienated ytown so much. I really fucked up on that one. Did you come up with this deal just to taunt those of us out here who have no friends?

  11. Posted October 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I have to say that although the food is still quite delicious, we’ve had absolutely terrible service the last several trips to Sidetrack. It’s gotten bad enough that, despite the good food, we definitely think twice before taking friends there, especially people who haven’t been there before. Whatever the problem is, I sure hope they get it figured out.

  12. Brackache
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I had good sevice at Sidetrack once.


    Still the best club sandwich in Washtenaw County that I’ve tasted, though. It’s a give and take.

  13. Robert
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Looking for good service in a college town is like trying to find an intelligent comment on a blog…maybe even a little better. In fact, I’ll bet Ol’ E Cross is down at Sidetrack’s right now, bugging people to split a two-for-one deal with him.

  14. Curt Waugh
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I am happy to report that I have had excellent service at Sidetrack many times. I have had bad service, but no more than elsewhere. My overall impression is that they are average at worst. It’s still one of those places where everybody talks to everybody else. I think every time we’ve been there recently, we ended up talking to everybody around us. Don’t give up on them!

  15. mark
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never had horrible service at the Sidetrack. I suppose some times have been better than others, but I’ve had so bad an experience that I felt inclined to dwell on it, tell others, get pissed, etc. But, yeah, there’s some degree of turnover inherent in college town food service. It goes with the territory. I think the food, beer, and atmosphere more than make up for it. I proudly take all out of town guests there. No complaints yet… And, for what it’s worth, we have friends visiting tomorrow from Ann Arbor and we plan to take them to Sidetrack for dinner.

  16. ytown
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    The service is consistently bad when Linda isn’t there. When she is running about, excellent service.

  17. Posted October 6, 2008 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I’m generally pretty tolerant of poor service, and I know that being in a college town means there will be lots of turnover. But when the service turns really, truly, repeatedly terrible, to the point where that’s what guests remember about the trip, to the point that IF I recommend a place to someone, I feel obligated to warn them about the service, that’s a problem.

    I doubt I’ll stop going to Sidetrack altogether (the food is too good!), but I certainly won’t go there as often and I certainly won’t continue to take out-of-town guests there.

  18. worstlittleburgerever
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the coupon should read, “Buy a burger and get quite possibly the worst dining experience ever!” Maybe that’s just me, someone who has been to Sidetracks at least 40 times and cannot recall a single visit leaving me slightly satisfied. Unlike most of the customers who seem to be more concerned with cheap happy hour prices and getting wasted, I put more stock in my overall experience of food quality, service, and timeliness. Clearly I place more importance on these factors than the restaurant’s management and staff. You’re lucky to find a friendly, efficient server(Don’t get me wrong there are a few of them lurking in that sorry excuse of a restaurant). After waiting an eternity, for your food you take your first bite of disappointment. Then when the server never returns except to take your money, you’re hit with more disappoinment. I might just sound like a bitch, and maybe I am, but I work in a restaurant and I would be appalled if my workplace behaved the way Sidetracks does. I don’t think a 15 to 20 minute wait time for food is unreasonable. Since I have to put on my happy face with customers I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the Sietrack staff to do the same. And lets nip this excuse that it’s a college town and turnover nonsense in the bud. I’m young, just graduated from EMU and I have a work ethic. I take pride in doing a good job, providing great service, and above all else, that’s how I make my money. So let’s not chalk the terrible dining experience Sidetracks provides up to young workers, who just don’t give a damn, because like I said before there are a few gems in that building. Obviously it has to do with a serious lack of standards, which needs to be communicated from management.

  19. Doug
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I go to Sidetrack probably twice a month at least, and the service is almost always very friendly (I can think of a very few exceptions), and the food is always good.

    We were there tonight having Mark Maynards, and it was an altogether delightful experience. I can’t explain the previous commenter’s displeasure. If Sidetrack people are reading this, don’t be discouraged; you’re awesome.

  20. mark
    Posted October 8, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Well, I had to see for myself. So I went there tonight for dinner. And I’m pleased to be able to report back that the dining experience, the service and the food were all top-notch. Seriously, a really nice young man was our waiter, and he did a very good job. Our burgers did show up just a minute after we got our appetizer, but we didn’t mind. It was all good and hot and delicious.

  21. Ol' E Cross
    Posted October 22, 2008 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    True story: We moved to Ypsi many years ago because of Sidetrack and a nice autumn walk. My wife was a grad student at EMU. I was in town with her and we went for a walk in Riverside Park and through the Depot Town streets. There were skeletons hanging from one house and dried sunflowers growing across the yard of another. There was a four-wheel-drive Gremlin with enormous, flat tires. We saw a house for sale on Maple, were curious about local prices, and took down the number. We then stopped, for the first time, at Sidetrack. It was happy hour. We ate rubens, we drank the ounces and we used the pay phone to call a realtor. We envisioned the idyllic life we now live. (That house had sold, but the combination of walkability and happy hour beer had us hooked and we soon found a place even closer to those amenities.)

    Since then, we’ve crossed the track a hundred times. I’ve organized work events at Frenchies and have been to weddings catered by Sidetrack. The closest thing to “bad service” I’ve had was water dripping through an outdoor table onto my hot leg for lack of coaster.

    As far as turnover, sure some faces change, but its one place in town that I see the same servers for years. I’m not going to go too far down the road of comparison, but Sidetrack has given me and mine some of the best service I’ve found in any local joint.

    I have to agree with worstlittleburger’s self-assessment: “I might just sound like a bitch, and maybe I am.”

    Couldn’t of said it better. And, while I’m sure you work very hard at Taco Bell, some customers want more than a ten-second burrito.

    (Yes. I admit it. I don’t have time these days to comment on the blog but I do, somehow, find the time to check for coupons. From now on, I only comment on coupon related posts … although that Eller one is tempting.)

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