Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Bar-b-q | Delicatessen | Eclectic | Hamburgers | Health Food | Meat-and-Three | New American | Oyster Bar | Smoke House | Southwestern | Vegetarian
Worth driving from anywhere!

Like Zingerman’s Deli, Zingerman’s Roadhouse can be maddening. No matter how many people I go with, no matter how much I order, I am sure to walk out regretting I didn’t have a chance to taste, for instance, the yellow-and-blue-corn hushpuppies made from Anson Mills corn or the hand-pulled Texas cabrito or the buttermilk-fried chicken or the whole Yazoo catfish or the West Coast cioppino macaroni. You see, everything I have tasted is terrific, many items among the very best versions of the dish I have ever had.

If you described Zingerman’s Roadhouse to me, I would be skeptical. I love its motto — “Really Good American Food!” — but what is a place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, doing with a menu that lists iconic meals from the Deep South, New England, the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Gulf Coast, not to mention the Midwest’s own heartland? I would think no kitchen could have such a broad reach and maintain a deep understanding of how all these diverse things ought to taste. But they do; and if you doubt that, have what is listed as “Eastern North Carolina Pulled Pork.” These pulled and chopped nuggets of long-smoked hog are right up there in a league with the Skylight Inn, the Brick Pit, and Wilber’s: just barely sauced with vinegar and only enough pepper to coax out all the exquisite flavor that blossoms in a fine veil of smoke. From a completely different culinary mindset comes “Really Wild-Wild Rice Roast,” built around hand-harvested Minnesota rice. Those earthy, al dente grains are mixed with radiant dried Michigan cherries and candied orange, plus fire-roasted local vegetables, all drizzled with organic cider vinegar syrup. Wow, what a flavor thrill.

I will leave more detailed descriptions to the photos and captions, but it is important to make note of the superb bread that comes to the table before dinner – slices from a dark loaf so crusty-good with delicious chaw that it was all I could do to refuse a refill when my basket was empty, which I did only because I had about six other things for which I was desperately trying to save appetite.

The dining areas, which include a lively bar with multiple TVs, are big and spacious, décor including lots of retro salt-and-pepper shakers as well as maps and postcards signifying trips along the great American road. I walked out glowing with joy and wanting to burst out singing Woody Guthrie’s “This land is your land, this land is my land…”

What to Eat
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Corn Dogs
Corn Dogs
Technically, these three little tubes are corn dogs, but the firm, garlicky, snap of the all-beef dogs and their coat of batter made from Anson Mills' organic corn meal really makes them another foodstuff altogether. Three different mustards are supplied for dipping.
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Wild Rice Roast
Wild Rice Roast
There's a broad-spectrum tongue appeal to this wild rice roast, from its sweet dried cherries and differently sweet carrots to a whole other sweetness of the cider balsamico drizzled on top. Balancing all that is the earthiness of grains and bitterness of greens. What a fun dish to fork up!
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Flight of the Bumblebee
Flight of the Bumblebee
How could I say no to a dessert named 'Flight of the Bumblebee'? It is a sampler of three different regional honeys, one of which, the waitress told me, comes from a swarm of bees whose owners actually move them around to fields of flowers that grow only after there has been a fire, the nectar of which these particular bees just love, and from which they make super-sunshiny honey. Little Madeleines come alongside for dipping. I forsook the cookies and used a spoon.
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Bread
The bread slices you get to begin a Roadhouse meal are just-baked fresh and delicious.
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Pulled Pork
Pulled Pork
Zingerman's menu said 'Ask for a taste!' and this is what I got -- the most succulent little heap of smoked pork outside of North Carolina. It's only a slight exaggeration to say it melts in your mouth. In the background is a sample of sweet corn pudding. Yum!
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Macaroni & Cheese
Macaroni & Cheese
The menu here boasts six different kinds of mac & cheese. This especially creamy version, known as Roadhouse Macaroni & Cheese, is made with two-year-old raw milk Vermont cheddar. Superb!
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ceres Salad
Ceres Salad
I visited Zingerman's Roadhouse at the height of tomato season, and so could not resist this appetizer made from nearby Cornman Farms' heirloom tomatoes.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday9am - 9pm
Monday8am - 9pm
Tuesday8am - 9pm
Wednesday8am - 9pm
Thursday8am - 9pm
Friday8am - 9pm
Saturday9am - 9pm
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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