Northside Grill | Michigan | An Ann Arbor Breakfast Best

Review by: Michael Stern

Friendly Diner Vibe

At first glance, outside and in, the Northside Grill looks like a common cafe: bare tables, green-upholstered booths, knotty pine walls. A waitress patrols the dining room with three different pots of coffee in her two hands (regular, decaf, flavored). But at first bite, you know you are in for something extraordinary: an Ann Arbor breakfast best.

Even before the food arrives, you’ll notice that it is a diner with a difference. At 7:30am, NPR’s “Morning Edition” wafts from the radio. When you order coffee and choose French roast, the waitress says, “Good! It’s fair trade organic.” Oscar Mayer did not supply the bacon. No, it is nitrate-free and preservative-free. Cage-free chickens lay the eggs. You begin to think that Elvis iconography on the walls hangs there with a twist of cultural irony.

Kitchen With A Higher Calling

As you eat, you become certain that an elevated consciousness informs the kitchen. Just ease a fork down into a stack of apple-oat bran pancakes. The cakes really have a tweedy oatmeal texture. Large chunks of apple deliver fruity tang and cinnamon vibe. You will pay extra for real Michigan maple syrup. Worth it!

Just looking at a plate of potato pancakes makes me very happy. Crisp and crunchy on the outside but creamy within, they sparkle with herbs and spices. Slivers of grilled red onion festoon their top. Ramekins of sour cream and apple sauce come as companions.

Jump Start The Day!

Breakfast skillets, built upon hash browns and topped with eggs, meats, and cheeses of choice, are mountainous. The Nitro Skillet wows me every time with its “nitro mustard sauce” that infuses vegetables of all kind and melted cheese on top. The menu boasts that it is a “hot & spicy, flavorful jump start to your day!”

It is no secret that the Northside Grill is an Ann Arbor breakfast best. Expect to wait for a table any day, especially on weekends.

What To Eat

Potato Pancake

Apple Oat Bran Pancake

Red Eye

Hobo Skillet


Northside Grill | Michigan | An Ann Arbor Breakfast Best Recipes


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One Response to “Northside Grill | Michigan | An Ann Arbor Breakfast Best”


October 16th, 2023

I have been to this place in the past and it was really good, unfortunately that was not my experience today. Either they are under different management or just feel they have arrived and no longer needs to put out quality food and service.

The service was absolutely terrible. I placed a take out order and was told to wait at the table inside by Jordan. While I waited, I ordered a cup of coffee and was drinking my coffee at the table.

The restaurant was full, I had been waiting for 15 minutes for my take out and a group of four came in for a table. Jordan told them it would be about a 15 minute wait.

One of the older guys working there heard Jordan tell them there was a wait and asked him why they couldn’t be seated at my table. Jordan’s response was because it’s not available yet.

The older guy said “Is he waiting for takeout?” He then rushes to the back to check on my food. I suppose he rushed it because the sausage links are not done and the box was all messy.

So instead of allowing me to finish my coffee and wait for my food, he sends over the only black lady working in the restaurant to ask me to wait for my food outside on the porch in the cold and rain. She say we can turn the heater on for you.

I’m a black man and the only black person in that building besides this employee. Guess he thought it would go over better by him sending her to ask me to go outside.

By this time Jordan is bringing my food out to me in a hurry. Looking at my food, I noticed the box was covered with cheese and the sausages were not cooked completely.

I expressed to the lady I didn’t think it fair that I was asked to sit in the cold and wait for my food while I was drinking my coffee. She never apologized but was argumentative and cut me off and told me to listen to her.

I was a paying customer and if I came in to just have a cup of coffee, would I not be able to drink it at the restaurant. Would I be made to take my coffee to-go?

Please see pictures.

I used to like this place but never again will I eat here or make a recommendation to this place.

By the way Jordan was good! It was the other two. Maybe the owners.


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