I've drove by Haab's countless times over the years, but only recently did I finally have the opportunity to dine in. Despite a rather unfortunate experience at Haab's some 15 years earlier (involving a cockroack!) my parents agreed to join, as did 4 other family members. I wanted to like the place, but Unfortunately, Haab's disapointed at every level, from facilities to service to food, and I was completely NOT impressed and would NOT recommend Haab's to anyone until they make some major changes.
Haab's is located in a historic building in Ypsilanti's historic downtown district. The area is nice and there is plenty of parking both on street and in nearby parking lots. While the building dates from the 1870s and features a handsome and largely original (though whitewashed) exterior, the interior has been heavily modified over the years. While some original woodwork, stained glass, tin ceiling, and an interesting pully system that operates the ceiling fans do exist, the rest of the building looks like something cheap from the 70s. The bathrooms are located in the basement, and you can smell them from the top of the stairs. The stall door was missing it's lock, and the restrooms were dirty.
The two most important things at a restaurant are the service and the food. Haab's disappointed in both regards. The hostess seemd confused, and despite a plethora of empty tables, she insisted she could not seat our group of 7 together, and we ended up with 4 people in a booth in one room, and 3 people in a booth in another room. We stayed for an hour and a half, and nobody ever occupied any of the many empty tables we could have pushed together so all 7 of us could sit together. Our waitress was rude and very unattentive - I had to ask for a water refill. When I ordered a lemonade, she informed me they had their own lemonade that was carbonated, I said that was fine. She failed to mention that unlike almost everyplace else, there were no free refills, and I was never asked if I would like a second lemonade. While we were served bread after we sat down, we were not given a bread knife, though several other tables were.
A less than steller atmosphere and horrible service can only be offset by one thing - and that is good food. Unfortunately, with the sole exception of an excellent baked potato, all of my food ranged between bad and mediocre. I ordered a meal that for $18 came with a 6oz sirloin steak and a fish of choice (whitefish) and it came with a choice of 2 sides. I choose the baked potaoto, which as I mentioned was excellent - about as perfectly cooked as a baked potato can be - and "fries" of some sort, which were quite awful. The steak was bland and flavorless and not cooked as ordered, and the fish was among the worst Ive had. My girlfriend's fries came with something that clearly didn't belong on the plate, and looked like burned chewing gum. My parents and aunt and uncle and cousin were all likewise unimpressed with their meals.
The menu was printed on a thin piece of paper that served as a placemat - I thought this was rather tacky for a nice, sit down restaurant. I also thought the menu was a little small, and no non-alcoholic drinks were listed on either the paper placemat menu, or a secondary drinks menu.
I try to support local businesses, and spend my money in the area where I live, but unless there are some major changes made at Haab's, I won't be spending my money there again - there are far better dining options in the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor areas.
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