Haab's Exterior
Haab's Restaurant
  An Ypsilanti Tradition Since 1934!

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Located at:
18 West Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Local Phone:
734-483-8200

Toll Free:
1-888-431-4222

Fax:
734-483-9676

Email:
haabs@provide.net

Hours:
Sunday-Thursday
11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday
11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Happy Hour:
Monday-Friday
4-7 p.m.

Closed:
Christmas Day

Plastic:
All major credit cards accepted.

















The Haab's Tradition

As stagecoach travel developed along the old Military Chicago Road, saloons and other establishments sprang-up along the route. They served both travelers and residents of the settlement which would be chartered as Ypsilanti in 1825. As traffic and the surrounding population grew, what was known as the Chicago Road would be renamed Congress; it would later be again re-named to the name it bears today: Michigan Avenue.

Haab’s Restaurant traces its roots back to the mid-1870s when the saloon,Interior of saloon owned by John Fulton in 1873. owned by James Fulton, provided fellowship—predominantly to gentlemen. A portion of the dividing-wall separating the men’s bar from the women still exists at Haab’s.

Just as today, turnover of ownership in eating/drinking establishments was fairly frequent.  When Adam Shaner owned the saloon, he added tobacco to the offerings of a traditional saloon. The best tobacco leaves were acquired and wrapped into cigars on the second floor, a “gimmick” which enabled him to maintain his ownership from 1894-1905.

Charles A Smith, owner of Smitty's Saloon & Riverside Lounge, 1905-1914.Charles A. “Smitty” Smith renamed the saloon “Smitty’s Saloon and Riverside Club” in 1905 and completely remodeled the space, installing a tin ceiling and modern bar manufactured by Brunswick Balke Callendar of Grand Rapids. Both the tin ceiling and bar remain today. Smitty held onto this successful business until his death. 

The onset of prohibition in 1920 caused the storefront to become dark.  Soon after repeal in 1933, brothers Oscar and Otto Haab had the foresight to open a saloon that reversed the traditional focus of a saloon. The Haab Brothers’ Café was the first establishment in Washtenaw County where food was the primary draw for the customer, with beer and wine offered as a complement.

In the 1940s and 50s, automotive travel on the main Detroit/Chicago route exploded, bringing travelers directly past Haab’s front door. Travelers and local residents alike discovered Haab’s, “where it’s fun to eat.”  With large portions of good food being their signature product, their customer base continued to increase. To accommodate more diners, the brothers expanded in 1963, adding two additional storefronts to the original “saloon.”

The dining rooms were decorated in an antebellum motif, with heirlooms from the original Haab Family homestead in Lodi Township scattered throughout. The hand-hewn beams, although they provide no support, were added to enhance the early-American atmosphere.
That atmosphere continues to be maintained today.
Haab's Henry J
But Haab's reputation was not built on its decor. Quality food, served in a friendly, warm atmosphere at affordable prices, is what has kept customers coming. Over the past 77 years, more than nine million people have been served in this single location. Seldom does a day go by that one or two guests don’t remark that it has been 20 years since they last visited, and fortunately for them, the service and food quality are just as they had remembered.

Well-known restaurants are generally known by signature menu items. Haab's
Restaurant is no exception. A thick-cut New York Strip Sirloin Steak, broiled to perfection, is unquestionably Haab's most famous item. Haab's was acclaimed locally in the Ann Arbor News reader poll as “Washtenaw County’s No. 1 steak house” every year until the category was retired. Haab's reputation has spread beyond the county, however, as evidenced by the article from Detroit Monthly, prominently displayed at the front entrance, "For the best steak in Detroit, go to Ypsilanti."

Haaab's RestaurantIronically, the New York Strip Steak is not Haab's most popular item. The Prime London Broil, as featured in Ford Times Magazine, consistently outsells everything else on the extensive menu. Seafood has also become increasingly popular in recent years, and Haab's has adjusted its menu to include over 15 fresh and frozen seafood items. In fact, it is not uncommon for customers to proclaim that, although they summer on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula, they await their return to Haab's to experience really great whitefish.


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Copyright 2011 Haab's Restaurant