Jan 21, 2018

Travelers are discovering that a passion for food permeates every crevice of this quintessential college town.

From small plates to cocktails, this palate-pleasing Midwest town is garnering considerable admiration from celebrity chefs such as Mario Batali and Takashi Yagihashi. In fact, Chef Yagihashi opened a second location of Slurping Turtle, his acclaimed Chicago restaurant, just a few blocks from the University of Michigan’s central campus.

Honored by Alton Brown and Food Network Magazine for having the best Mac 'n Cheese in America, Zingerman’s Roadhouse elevates the standards of traditional Americana comfort foods. Sister restaurant Zingerman's Delicatessen has been praised by Oprah, President Obama (who said, "The reuben is killer."), Mario Batali and others, and is consistently ranked as one of the best delis in the United States. Other Zingerman's mainstays include Zingerman's Creamery, Zingerman's Coffee Company, Zingerman's Cornman Farms and Zingerman's Bakehouse.

Along Ann Arbor’s Main Street (the one Bob Seger paid tribute to), visitors will find very few chain restaurants. Instead, local establishments line the street, each one showcasing the specific talents of its chef. One such location is Spencer (a favorite of Mario Batali's, and recently featured in HOUR Detroit), where local ingredients and culinary passion come together for an outstanding dining experience. Others include Taste Kitchen, where Chef Danny Hua fuses Vietnamese, French and American cuisines together in a completely unique menu paired with a beautiful wine list - and Frita Batidos, where Chef Eve Aranoff draws inspiration from Cuban and Latin American culture but has created a whimsical menu that is all her own.

One of the newest ventures from local restauranteur Sava Lelcaj is Aventura, offering Spanish tapas, a variety of paellas, hand crafted cocktails with house made tonic, and a Spanish wine menu with something for everyone. Sava's first restaurant, aptly named Sava's, is another acclaimed eatery on bustling State Street, near the University of Michigan's campus. If you're holding a one-of-a-kind event near Ann Arbor, Sava's Tavolina Catering will be a crowd-pleaser.

If you’re looking for the perfect setting for a cocktail, check out The Last Word which delivers a speakeasy ambiance with its unmarked entrance and dark, eclectic décor. Spirits-lovers will savor the new Ann Arbor Distilling Company, located in a lovely neighborhood on the north side of Ann Arbor, and producing rum, vodka, gin, and coffee liqueur created from locally sourced ingredients. Microbreweries are also scattered around Ann Arbor and the surrounding communities, and if you're looking for unique and interesting beers, we have it all! Unity Vibration creates kombucha beers in nearby Ypsilanti, NULL Taphouse specializes in award-winning sour beers just outside of Ann Arbor in the charming town of Dexter, and Wolverine State Brewing Company is your spot for lagers. Other favorite breweries include Arbor Brewing Company, Salt Springs Brewery in nearby Saline, Ypsi Alehouse, Original Gravity Brewing Company in Milan, and Chelsea Alehouse Brewery in actor Jeff Daniels' hometown of Chelsea.

Flavors abound in this friendly, walkable city. In between meals, there are a number of museums, shops, and other attractions to explore. Plan your visit today.


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