Le Dog, Ann Arbor’s small and often-overlooked red hut, teaches us a lesson in not judging a book by its cover.
These guys are old school. I mean there is no website, no set menu, no restaurant seating, no credit cards (yes, cash only, folks) — and there’s a tight window of opportunity to grab your grub (Le Dog is open from just 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday). Despite this, however, the unsuspecting East Liberty food stand has been a landmark in Ann Arbor for years, with a consistently steady line of eager, soup-loving fans.
The restaurant’s menu changes everyday (insider tip: call ahead to see what they are selling on the day you plan to go — they are more than willing to share), and the only items offered are a variety of hotdogs and homemade soups. Despite the name, it’s the variety of authentic soups that people go crazy for (although you can smell the tempting meats from a block away). The soup selection ranges in style from vegetarian bean stews to Italian Wedding, and the owners have been known to try unique creations, including beer and cheese soup.
The “beer” variety is all well and good, but Le Dog’s top seller (typically served on Fridays) is more of a classic. The lobster bisque is somewhat spicy and super flavorful, packed with large pieces of fresh lobster. Although the lobster is plentiful, the broth is pretty thin, so if you’re a fan of a thick and creamy lobster bisque, I would look elsewhere.
My pick for the real star on the menu, and another fan favorite, is the cheesy chicken tortilla soup. This soup is packed with everything you could want in a bowl: the perfect amount of spice, juicy chicken, plenty of melted cheese (which thickens the broth just the right amount) and an extra little crunch from the tortilla strips. They sell this regularly, so don’t hesitate to swing by last-minute and order it on a whim.
Is Le Dog the most filling lunch in Ann Arbor? No. But for about seven bucks, guests get a warm bowl of soup that is guaranteed fresh and homemade. For an extra dollar, get a Zingerman’s pretzel roll on the side — it’ll add some more substance to your lunch.
Affordable and authentic, Le Dog is a lunchtime hit that’s perfect for these freakishly-chilly October days.
Address: 410 E Liberty St
Hours of operation: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30p.m., Monday-Friday