Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
Sign In | Register for Free!
Restaurants Recipes Forums Eating Tours Merchandise FAQ Maps Insider

Zingerman's Deli

422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor, MI - (734) 663-3354
Posted By Michael Stern on 8/25/2008 4:39:00 PM
Zingerman's began as a small deli and has become a culinary empire that includes a bustling mail order business, a creamery, a bake house, a coffee shop, and a full-service "roadhouse" (review of that last one is forthcoming). While not every such achievement proves the adage that they must be doing something right, I would say that Zingerman's deserves success for the unbelievable number of things it does not just right, but fantastically well.

There is no point to enumerate them all, but foremost on any short list of the deli's wonders are its sandwiches made with top-notch ingredients (Nueske's bacon, Amish free-range chicken, Niman Ranch pastrami, Michigan-grown vegetables, Italian salami, Arkansas ham, smoked salmon from Maine, et cetera). They are constructed on slices of what is in my opinion the best bread in the Midwest – world-class baguettes, ryes, rolls, sourdoughs, chile-cheddar, pecan raisin and challah. I won't even get into such peripheral (NOT) items as pickles, olive tapenade, smoked fish salads, and multiple cheese spreads, including the best pimiento cheese this side of Paducah.

It is a place I find immensely frustrating because a single visit or six visits will not even put a bite into all the good things there are to eat … and to see and to smell when you walk in to place an order. Getting food, in fact, can be a little confusing to a first timer. You enter the shockingly small deli, which is primarily a retail operation selling meats, breads, cheeses, etc., and browse the menu posted all over the wall. While you are figuring out what you want and probably getting hypnotized by the beautiful foodstuffs on display, a server will approach to take your order and your name. You are given a check that you take to a register and pay. Find a seat and in a while your food will be brought to you. Unlike the classic New York deli staff, people who work here are friendly, helpful, and patient; and they are full of recommendations if you can't decide between, say halloumi and muenster cheese.

Yes, Zingerman's is more expensive than an average sandwich shop. A BLT is $9.50 or $10.99 depending on size; grilled cheese is $6.50-$7.99. But what you get is far superior to, and considerably bigger than, an average sandwich.

21 out of 22 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

No Yes

Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Reuben Sandwich (large)
Bread
Macaroni & Cheese
Cherry Pecan Bun
Rate this place

Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Zingerman's own corned beef is definitely the best I've had, very tender and with a flavor profile that I didn't find as intense as I'm used to. The corned beef in the Reuben is perfectly balanced with the kraut and Swiss.
"Zingerman's own corned beef is definitely the best I've had, very tender and with a flavor profile that I didn't find as intense as I'm used to. The corned beef in the Reuben is perfectly balanced with the kraut and Swiss."
Dave O'Ball





Not the best pastrami I've had but very good nonetheless. The bread is nice but I didn't think the grilling worked. I'd order it ungrilled next time.
"Not the best pastrami I've had but very good nonetheless. The bread is nice but I didn't think the grilling worked. I'd order it ungrilled next time."
Dave O'Ball


Just some of the offerings in the meat department at Zingerman's
"Just some of the offerings in the meat department at Zingerman's"
Dave O'Ball


Rush (lunch) hour at Zingerman's
"Rush (lunch) hour at Zingerman's"
Dave O'Ball


Seven different corned beef sandwiches are listed on Zingerman's menu. The beef is sliced Midwest-style, i.e. very thin, but retains extreme juicy succulence. The classic Reuben, here shown in its 'fresser' (large) size is corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on thick, hand-cut slices of rye that are grilled to a buttery crisp.
"Seven different corned beef sandwiches are listed on Zingerman's menu. The beef is sliced Midwest-style, i.e. very thin, but retains extreme juicy succulence. The classic Reuben, here shown in its 'fresser' (large) size is corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on thick, hand-cut slices of rye that are grilled to a buttery crisp."
Michael Stern


'It's just out,' said the order taker as she saw me eyeing a pan of macaroni and cheese. The serving I got was a chewy, cheesy festival of flavor with a bit of crunch and cream for days. Definitely one of the best mac 'n' cheeses anywhere.
"'It's just out,' said the order taker as she saw me eyeing a pan of macaroni and cheese. The serving I got was a chewy, cheesy festival of flavor with a bit of crunch and cream for days. Definitely one of the best mac 'n' cheeses anywhere."
Michael Stern


Here is a small fraction of the breads available any day at Zingerman's. Samples are available. I tried a chocolate cherry bread that was weird and wonderful, but it was the big pain de montagne that sent me to my knees in worshipful ecstasy.
"Here is a small fraction of the breads available any day at Zingerman's. Samples are available. I tried a chocolate cherry bread that was weird and wonderful, but it was the big pain de montagne that sent me to my knees in worshipful ecstasy."
Michael Stern


Adjoining the original deli is a coffee shop known as Zingerman's Next Door. It was here I found this cherry pecan danish to go with my excellent strong Zingerman's-brew coffee.
"Adjoining the original deli is a coffee shop known as Zingerman's Next Door. It was here I found this cherry pecan danish to go with my excellent strong Zingerman's-brew coffee."
Michael Stern


The original deli hasn't changed much since it opened in 1982, but Zingerman's has become a major force in American food.
"The original deli hasn't changed much since it opened in 1982, but Zingerman's has become a major force in American food."
Michael Stern


There are lots of tables outdoors for al fresco dining when weather permits.
"There are lots of tables outdoors for al fresco dining when weather permits."
Michael Stern



What is Roadfood?  |   Submit Content  |   Privacy Policy  |   Contact Roadfood.com   Copyright - Roadfood.com