Even if you have never been to Ann Arbor, Michigan, there is a fairly good chance you have already heard of Zingerman’s. It happens to be one of the coolest, hippest, and yummiest delicatessens anywhere on planet Earth.
Located in the historic Kerrytown district of the city just north of downtown, Zingerman’s is a must see, shop, and/or dine third place on almost every Ann Arbor visitor’s itinerary. Even getting there by automobile can be an adventure as the one-way streets of Kerrytown seem to whisk one in every direction except toward the delicatessen. Add in the never-ending dearth of on or off-street parking spaces with meters that eat quarters by the dozen and it is truly best to venture there on foot or by bicycle. That only adds to the mystique of the place.
Once you enter the front door, one feels instantly transported to New York City or Europe as dozens of happy aromas compete for your nostril’s attention – cheeses, fresh-baked breads, meats, and an assortment of other delights all vying for your attention. Scanning the menu, it is quite difficult to decide what to eat, especially for a first time customer, as all of the choices sound absolutely heavenly. In addition, good luck coming out of Zingerman’s without having purchased at semi-truckload deli goods, sweets, or other goodies – the store is packed to the rafters with them.
Part of the fun of Zingerman’s is its overall atmosphere – the eclectic collection of deli and dessert options adorning several historic buildings, standing in line to order your meal amid the plethora of epicurean delights, the occasional celebrity sighting (my family saw Emilio Estevez there a few years back), the communal dining arrangements, and the general setting on a brick street. It is like you entered a live placemaking forum. Having been there a dozen or so times, Zingerman’s never fails to satisfy one’s craving for great food, good fun, and the Bohemian spirit in all of us. Definitely check it out!