Mark Maynard is one of three owners of Ypsilanti favorite, Bellflower. When asked why this location was chosen, Mark stated, “Why Ypsilanti? Bellflower has three owners, and we all live in Ypsilanti. Most of our employees live here too. We love Ypsilanti, and we wanted to both create jobs here, and build a restaurant that supported our local farming community, while also producing incredible food that we were proud of.”
In an area with multiple wonderful restaurants, Bellflower ranks among the best. Do not be surprised by the unassuming appearance of the restaurant front.
Inside is a lively, contemporary dining establishment which could make you think you’d been transported to Chicago or New York City. The staff is friendly and welcoming. The open design concept includes a visible food preparation area and a fabulous stocked bar.
Maynard noted, “We purchased the old Michigan Bell Telephone building at 209 Pearl Street about five years ago. Up until that point, we’d been thinking a lot about what we could do that might be impactful here in Ypsi, and, with the building, we were able to start acting on those ideas.
Our first step was to renovate the second floor, which had been gutted by a fire a few years previously. We built ten offices, and opened Landline Creative Labs, where, as of right now, about a dozen film production companies, graphic designers, photographers, artists, nonprofits and podcasters call home.
Then we started work on the ground floor. We had a sense that Ypsilanti would support a chef-driven restaurant, and we wanted to do our part to raise the bar locally when it came to working with local farms like We The People Opportunity Farm, Whitney Farmstead, Good Neighbor Farm, Slow Farm, Holtz Farm, Wolfe Orchards, Tamchop Farm, Detroit Mushroom Company, Prochaska Farm, Bad Fairy Farm, Goetz Farm, Karpo Farm, as well as the regional produce hub at Argus Farmstop.”
Worth noting, the wine list is extensive and reasonably priced. Wine is also available for purchase to take home by the bottle. Personally, I ordered a Maker’s Mark Manhattan which was mixed to perfection.
The Bellflower lunch menu includes wonderful sandwiches (served on bread they bake daily) at their “Sandwich Counter” with options like fried oysters, shrimp, or tofu, chicken sausage, or crispy sweet potato. Specialty sandwiches include fried pork collar, pimento cheese sandwich, or cold cuts among a few other options.
The dinner menu offers many choices that are unique and interesting. We started with the milk bread and pimento spread – which was a treat! I had the fried oysters and shrimp and found them delicious, and not too greasy. The food portions are generous. They were accommodating for our group’s dietary concerns, including a vegan + gluten free option of red beans and rice – which was reportedly excellent and filling.
The seating is clean and tables spaced appropriately. Bellflower offers a covered outside area with heaters and a table fire pit. We found the bathrooms to be easily accessible and very clean.
Bellflower makes reservations online but holds ⅔ of the tables for walk-ins. Parking is on the street or in the parking lot across the street. Pricing is moderate but appropriate for the excellent quality of the food, drink, and experience.
Bellflower 209 Pearl Street Ypsilanti, MI bellflowerypsi.com