Looking for a place to sit and eat lunch... for free.
May 22, 2009 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Where can I eat my brown-bagged lunch in Ann Arbor, MI?

I currently work in Ann Arbor, MI, near the corner of Washtenaw Ave and South Huron Pkwy. There are LOTS of good places to eat nearby, and I frequent them... too much. I need to save money and pack my lunch! The thing is, I don't want to sit in the office all day without taking a break. Where nearby can I take a brown-bagged lunch and eat it? Ideally, I'm hoping for an indoor location that I can use year-round. Huge bonus points if there's wi-fi access! A public library that allows you to eat inside would be ideal... but I doubt there is such a thing. Does what I'm looking for exist? What do you suggest? Thanks!

P.S. Any other suggestions related to what to pack, how to shop for cheap but healthy food, etc, are welcome.
posted by Vorteks to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're in walking distance of Manchester Park, which is a nice place, and there's a picnic area out there as well. Washtenaw and Huron pkwy is not a great spot. If you have a car, Gallup Park is also nice, and only about two miles away.

As for Cheap/healthy food, you're about a mile from the trader joe's which is a perfect place to get cheap, healthy food. I don't live in ann arbor, but I usually pack a sandwich, or leftovers from the night before to save money. I wish I could be more specific than that, but just keep veggies and fruit in the fridge at home and then make a sandwich and bring a piece of fruit and you're good to go. You're also Kitty-corner to a whole foods, right? why not just eat at their cafe? (a place to go, but def. not cheap)
posted by orville sash at 12:39 PM on May 22, 2009

I suspect if you bought a drink you could eat at the tables at Whole Foods without anyone caring. Probably not at the nearby Panera. Don't know if the Panera wifi reaches Whole Foods... The nearest library is on Packard south of Stone School - drivable but probably too far to walk at lunch time. The libraries do allow you to eat in them and have wifi although I don't know about that particular branch. I have no idea about wifi but the County Rec Building on Washtenaw at Platt has some tables and you could even work out. It costs $6/day to go in and use the facilities if you're a county resident - or $200/year - a deal at the price but not necessarily useful as a lunch place unless you were also going to work out.
posted by leslies at 12:44 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: You can absolutely bring food and covered drinks into the Malletts Creek Branch Library but it's 2 miles away, actually on Eisenhower east of Stone School. The wifi there is free and fast, even if you don't have an AADL library card you can get a guest registration that's good for a month at a time. There's an eating area with vending machines, tables, and plugs right inside the front door.
posted by ulotrichous at 1:08 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: Here's a picture of the seating & eating area at Malletts.
posted by ulotrichous at 1:14 PM on May 22, 2009

ulotrichous probably hit it for you. I worked a block away from there for about twenty years, and I can't think of anyplace else that meets your requirements. The library is a five minute drive from that intersection.

Of course there is fairly healthy food at Whole Foods, not so cheap, and you probably know about it already. Other food sources, not so close...the Food Coop downtown near kerrytown, farmer's market for veggies (also Kerry Town), Frog Holler for veggies (out on State Street, just past the the Stadium overpass).
posted by HuronBob at 1:49 PM on May 22, 2009

Best answer: Washtenaw Community College is nearby - just a couple minute's drive if you hit the lights and enter via Clark Rd. Where there're students there're probably common areas, wifi, coffee and food.
posted by klarck at 10:45 PM on May 22, 2009

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