Best Midwest Food Towns
#3 Ann Arbor: Food scene grows up
Rarely has a city's culinary reputation been so intertwined with one restaurant as is Ann Arbor's with Zingerman's Deli (zingermansdeli.com). What began in 1982 as Michigan's best place to get a Reuben has grown into a mini-empire of deliciousness, with a bakery (Jewish rye), creamery (homemade cream cheese), coffee roaster (single-origin Brazilian peaberry), mail-order catalog (sour-cream coffee cake) and sit-down restaurant (smoked chicken mac 'n' cheese). Make no mistake. We love Zingerman's.
But we also love how Zingerman's has invigorated the larger food scene in Ann Arbor (population: 350,000). Bob Sparrow, owner of Sparrow Meat Markets and Produce (sparrowmeats.com), says that eliminating chemicals and using fewer, fresher ingredients means you can actually taste the cherries and duck meat in his gourmet sausage.
For years, University of Michigan students and faculty have sipped beers and lattes at downtown's sidewalk cafes. The city retains that college-town vibe, but the dining scene has grown up. You'll find fried local squash blossoms at Vinology (vinowinebars.net/vinology), a ginger-glazed salmon burger at Logan (logan-restaurant.com) and tender gnocchi at Gratzi (gratzirestaurant).
Pictured: Dining at Gratzi