Friday, August 3, 2012

[Friday Night Bites] The Other Side of the Tracks: Wurst Bar & Sidetrack in Ypsi

Looking for something to do this weekend? Friday Night Bites has you covered.

It doesn't feel like that long ago that I was heading to Ypsi to go to BW3 for quarter wings, $2 tall boys and karaoke before heading back to Ann Arbor to close out the night at Rick's. I got a hangover just from typing that sentence. In the 8 or 9 years since I've done that, B-dubs is long gone (replaced by Korey's Krispy Krunchy Chicken) and a solid Friday night now consists of a good meal and a couple craft brews. With that in mind, we headed to Wurst Bar for some elevated sausages and then to Sidetrack for one of the best MI beer lists around.

The best... forget it, the puns write themselves at Wurst
In case the pun is lost on you, Wurst Bar focuses on gourmet sausages, all made in house and all using natural casings. The menu includes items like spicy rattlesnake chorizo, alligator & crawfish boudin, and some great snacks like curry wurst corn dogs. On my couple visits, I have not been able to peel myself away from the sausages to try the fresh-ground beef brisket burgers.

On my most recent visit, I went for the special wurst of the day - the hopwurst - on a pretzel bun with kimchi-kraut, while Mrs. T got the Red Rock smoked kielbasa with caramelized onions and spicy peppers. The kimchi-kraut, a blend of pickled carrot, cabbage, and broccoli, is a great topping that I could see working well on a lot of sausages. Mrs. T's kielbasa with onions was straightforward and delicious. I hit it with a bit of creole mustard - one of about 5 sauces on the table. Meat isn't the only focus at Wurst - they also have a good beer list and extensive whiskey collection.

Down Cross Street across the river in Depot Town is Sidetrack Bar & Grill.

your trivia for the day: what two antlered-animals are on Michigan's flag?
Sidetrack is quickly becoming one of my favorite bars in the area. It has some of the best patio seating around, a beer list full of MI craft beer, and a burger that made GQ's list of The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die. The bar gets its name due to the nearby railroad tracks, which became an issue back 1929 when a train derailed and took out a corner of the building. That portion of the building was never rebuilt and a patio now sits at the point of impact.

Watch for passing trains
Ashley's in Ann Arbor gets deserved praised for their tome of a beer menu. However, when it comes to local craft beer, it's tough to beat Sidetrack's rotating selection, which includes smaller breweries like Grand Haven's Odd Side, Sawyer's Greenbush, or Fernale's meadery B. Nektar, along with all of the usual suspects.

I was there during a takeover event by Shorts Brewing (Bellaire, MI). I had their Evil Urges, a dark, strong Belgian Ale that would be perfect on a cool fall day. Mrs. T tried their summer seasonal Beach Wheat - an easy-drinking, fruity Hefeweizen. Finally, I couldn't leave without trying Strawberry Short's Cake, a golden ale brewed with strawberries and sugar for sweetness and a certain variety of malt to give a hint of biscuit flavor to complete the shortcake taste.

Ypsi does not get the hype it deserves. With a burgeoning food scene and established member of the craft beer movement, it certainly belongs in your weekend rotation.


  1. I love sidetracks but their service is slooooowwwwwwww. I won't go unless I have 2 hours to spare.


    1. Yea, the service isn't always the quickest, but I've never noticed it to be exceedingly bad. One of the benefits of getting old is that I drink much slower now, maybe that's why I don't notice it as much.