A2P Foodist Restaurant Review—The Original Cottage Inn

Restaurant Review: 2.5/5 stars (fair, satisfactory)—Ratings range from zero to five stars and reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, with ambiance, service and price taken into consideration, as well.


The Original Cottage Inn

512 East William Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Hours Mon-Fri 11:00am-11:00pm Sat 11:00am-12:00am Sun 11:00am-10:00pm

(734) 663-3379

Reservations suggested


In December of 2011, the Washtenaw County Health Department noted that The Original Cottage Inn was “under new management,” and that improvements in the restaurant’s cleanliness and food handling were “tremendous.” In October of 2012, the State of Michigan revamped its health inspection terminology. Violations went from easy to understand (i.e. “noncritical” and “critical”) to “core” and “priority foundation.”  To read the definitions of the new restaurant health inspection lingo, click here. The Original Cottage Inn was last inspected in December of 2012 and cited for two “core” violations, both related to food storage unit upkeep. In short, the violations are nothing to get your knickers in a twist about.

The service? It made reviewers on Yelp.com downright cranky:

“The service is spotty…”

“The wait staff is always ever-changing (it IS a college town after all) so the level of service is always ever changing….”

“The wait times for service are horrible and servers tend to become very careless when they see that you are ordering nothing but a personal pizza….”

“This paired with the waitress who (although she did her job in taking our orders and getting the food to us) gave off the impression that she *really* didn’t want to be there made for a negative experience.”

My experience, alas, was similar.

You don’t usually make reservations at a restaurant and then expect to wait over 30 minutes for your table, but at The Original Cottage Inn they had some very different expectations. My group arrived at about 6:55 p.m. for a 7:00 p.m. reservation. There where 13 of us so we’d order the food in advance as well as made a reservation (usually a good move when the idea is to speed dinner along). Unfortunately it did not work as well as planned. We weren’t seated until 7:35—all of us significantly hungrier than when we’d arrived. When we finally did get seated, our salad was already at the table, which was very nice, but there were no plates. The waitress finally appeared and brought some plates, but immediately disappeared before we could order drinks.

The décor of Cottage Inn is supposed to remind one of a rustic Italian home. Unfortunately from the unclean bathrooms to the rickety tables to the frying cheep carpet on the stairs leading to the second floor, Cottage Inn feels more like a ruin of ancient Rome. Noise levels are loud, making conversation difficult, and the evening I was there the restaurant felt like an overheated box—though this certainly could have been the result of a temporarily turned up theromostat, or some other temporary problem.

The Greek salad was very tasty. However, the salad was populated by some roughly cut vegetables (huge chunks of carrot and onion) and massive cubes of feta. The dressing was very flavorful and savory and the lettuce mix was crisp and fresh. The salad also had some nice fresh olives and tasty beets, which leant some nice flavor and color to the plates.

While waiting for the pizza to show up some of us wondered if perhaps they had they had called out for delivery. When the pizza did finally appear it was without its escort, the plates. The plates after being requested from a staff member where disappointingly small and could only hold one piece of pizza max and the ends were dangling off the side like they were sitting on the edge of a cream colored ceramic dock. The pizza itself was not a disappointment at all and almost, and I stress almost, worth the wait. The pizza although a little on the greasy side, had not too much sauce and seemed to be fresh when it finally appeared at our table steam rolling off, available in a multitude of different crust types the pizza is quite filling. My party got four pizzas for 13 people and that was quite enough. The pizza at Cottage Inn should be a focus of their menu but does not appear until the end of the 8-page behemoth. Also it has a high base price $13 for a regular larger and $20 if you want to add more than 5 toppings. You can also add any number off additional toppings for $2 each.

Cottage Inn also has a verity of Italian dishes and a “make your own” pasta section. This section of the menu is not one to be frequented and if at all possible to be avoided. When I went another time we all ordered non-pizza items which proved to be a huge mistake. The dishes took a very long time and two of them had to be sent back mine because it was so salty I could not eat it and another one because the salmon in the grilled Atlantic salmon ($15) was undercooked. Mine, the portabella mushroom ravioli ($13), had to go back a second time because it was stone cold and almost to hard to eat. When they managed to get my ravioli to an eatable state it was under seasoned and did not have much actual mushroom flavor. The pasta itself was gummy and overcooked, which was a disappointment for a restaurant that claims to import its pasta (I suspect it might be from Kroger).

Yelpers collectively gave the Original Cottage Inn a 3.5/5. They attributed this to good pizza and some good dishes with huge portion sizes, but also did note spotty service, loud noise levels and unpleasing décor. I would be remiss to not to mention that while at Cottage Inn I did see the entire University of Michigan women’s gymnastics team, they came in after us while we where waiting and got seated immediately along with about six or eight other parties who came in after us.

As one person I talked to said about Cottage Inn it is “a great place for U of M alums.” This I would have to agree to, there are some far better alternatives in this city and many within the price range or cheaper. Cottage Inn is a great place for pizza but not for much past that. Just remember to make you reservations far in advance for large groups or be a young attractive female collage student.

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