Restaurant Week Features Local Produce

Dec 04, 2017

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week partners with local farmers to bring a fresh twist to the table in January.

The benefits of eating locally grown foods abound and the number of restaurants sourcing local has grown exponentially over the last five years. Locally grown food is more flavorful, has more nutrients, and supports the local economy.  Purchasing from local farmers and growers keeps dollars in the community.

The Ann Arbor culinary scene has seen an explosion of restaurants committed to serving local ingredients, everything from fruits and vegetables to cheese, eggs, meat and fish. This philosophy has been part of the food culture in Ann Arbor long before it became a trend. Michigan summers provide a bountiful harvest of produce for consumers and restauranteurs. Michigan winters, however, bring on a much different landscape for local sourcing.  

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week has challenged chefs and joined forces with area farmers to bring fresh, locally grown produce to the table in January. Many farmers in the community operate greenhouses or hoop houses where they grow arugula, spinach, kale, and microgreens even in the cold weather months. In addition, farmers have stored crops that chefs can tap into in the winter. Items such as potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beets can be sourced in the area all year long. 

 “The goal is to expand the knowledge of what can be sourced locally in the winter, to connect more chefs and farmers to establish working relationships throughout the year, and to provide Ann Arbor Restaurant Week customers with some amazing seasonal produce from right here in Michigan,” says Maura Thomson, Executive Director of the Main Street Area Association, the organization behind Ann Arbor Restaurant Week.

Chefs from fifteen restaurants participating in the January Ann Arbor Restaurant Week have created menus that include ingredients from these newfound collaborations. Melange, under the direction of Chef Eve Aronoff, Pacific Rim, Aventura, Allen Rumsey Supper Club, and Seva are just a sampling of the restaurants that will push the local envelope this upcoming Restaurant Week. Look for the “Taste the Local Difference” symbol next to each participating restaurant on

This farmer-chef initiative is a collaboration between the Main Street Area Association, Michigan State Extension – Greening Michigan Institute, and Taste the Local Difference, a social enterprise of the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is a biannual city-wide event that offers special menus and prix fare pricing at over sixty restaurants. Diners enjoy lunch for $15 and a three-course meal for $28, many of the restaurants offer two for one pricing. Two for one pricing is a great option for families, office lunches, or any large group. While the $28 three-course dinner opens the door to some of the best restaurants in Ann Arbor at a very affordable price. The January event takes place Sunday, January 14 through Friday, January 19, 2018.

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