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Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery

March 1, 2015

  • Jolly Pumpkin311 S. Main Street
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 913-2730
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s been a long winter…but seriously, I don’t need to tell you that.  Getting out of the house has been difficult.  J and I spend so much time on the road in bad weather at work that when the weekend rolls around, we want nothing to do with crappy weather.

That cabin fever has really been settling in over the last few weeks.  We’ve been trying really, really hard to get out of the house for a while.

Last Saturday, after catching a kids music show at Old Dog Tavern, we wanted to find something to do in the afternoon.  We eventually settled on trying ice skating at Millennium Park, but during the search for something to do, I cam across the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.  It was too late in the day for a road trip at that point, but we put it on the radar for this past weekend.

A trip to Ann Arbor also meant a trip for delicious eats.  There are so many great restaurants in Ann Arbor that it can be hard choosing just one.  I, of course, chose one of the breweries and one that we have had great luck at in the past.

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery is right in downtown Ann Arbor on Main Street.  This location is about fifteen minutes from the brewery and taproom in Dexter and one of three Jolly Pumpkin restaurants.  The three of us at ate the Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant, Brewery, Distillery near Traverse City when we went up that way this past fall.  The third location will be in Detroit where they are opening a pizzeria and brewery.

We walked in to the building just before noon on a Saturday.  They have both an upstairs area as well as the main floor.  At this time, only the main floor was open, so we headed back to the host station.  We were taken to a booth/table combo near the back of the space.  The area we were sitting in is actually a four top with two-tops on either side that share the same bench.  Luckily it was not that crowded.  That’s really not my favorite type of seating arrangement, but it does allow for more guests during peak times.

I grabbed the beer menu and found a cider for J right away.  Just like the restaurant in Traverse City, they had Nomad from North Peak which is a dry hard cider.  The cider is brewed in Traverse City , on Old Mission Peninsula using locally grown apples.  I don’t drink a ton of cider, but I tend to go for the sweeter varieties.  This cider is much, much drier than I’m used to drinking, but J seems to like it and I only end up finishing what she has left anyway.  

I was looking for something I haven’t had before and I found one that, of course, I couldn’t pronounce, but sounded interesting.  My choice was the Madrugada Obscura.  In the beer menu, they called it a Sour Imperial Stout.  I see other places online calling it an Imperial Stout, but maybe that’s because they don’t have the classification of a Sour IP.  The taste was really interesting.  It looked like a stout, but tasted like a sour.  The flavor was very tart and other than the color, I didn’t really get stout at all.  It was a delicious and interesting choice.

When our drinks came back, we were ready to order lunch.  Everything I had heard about Jolly Pumpkin before this visit revolved around the pizzas.  When the waitress asked what we wanted, L looked up and ordered a pizza for herself.  They have a cheese one on the kids menu so that’s what we got her.  J was intrigued by the pizzas as well.  She ordered the Margherita.  Both pizzas were surprisingly the same size.  We figured L’s would be a little smaller, but it came out the same size as Mama’s.  They are made from a 100-year old sourdough starter and cooked in a Granite oven.  The pizzas come out with a crispy, flavorful crust.  J’s pizza was topped with oven dried tomatoes, a house made mozzarella, and fresh basil.  L was itching to get to the “play place” so she only ate about a piece and half before trying to rush us out the door.  J ate a little over half of hers and loved it.  She talked about it all afternoon and couldn’t wait to get home to eat the leftovers.

Since the ladies both ordered pizzas, I opted for a burger instead.  I ordered the JP Burger.  This delicious sandwich is a custom blend of grass fed beef with cambozola cheese, crimini mushrooms, and applewood smoked bacon on a flaky challah roll.  The burger came out really juicy with a slightly pink center.  I left the mushrooms off and, really, this sandwich didn’t need them.  The cheese and bacon were absolutely magnificent.  The sandwich came with shoestring fries.  They were nothing to write home about, but very tasty.

Our bill for the three of us and two drinks was a little over $30.  The good news is we had plenty of leftover pizza that J and I will enjoy throughout the week.  Once again, Jolly Pumpkin served up an incredible meal that works as a great compliment to their unique beers.

Jolly Pumpkin

Jolly Pumpkin


Jolly Pumpkin

Madrugada Obscura

Kids’ Cheese Pizza

Jolly Pumpkin

Margherita Pizza

Jolly Pumpkin

JP Burger w/Shoestring Fries

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery on Urbanspoon

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