Perched on the corner of Detroit St. and 5th St. in the little town of Ann Arbor is the seat of an international empire. It is the Zingerman’s Delicatessen and the little nondescript building that houses it has spawned an entity known by lovers of good food and business everywhere.
When I went to college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I knew of Zingerman’s, just like everyone did. I knew it was good, too, but I really never comprehended the magnitude of it until I left Michigan. Since then I have learned that they are nationally renowned for their mail-order service, business practices, overall quality of their food and more. So when I returned to Ann Arbor recently, I knew I had to revisit the wondrous little deli and reacquaint myself with its delectable foods.
Zingerman’s has scoured the globe to find some of the best foods in existence, but they don’t just try to convince you that something will taste good, they give you the chance to decide for yourself. Everything in the deli can be tasted and the people working there are all-too-eager to serve you some samples. On this trip, I tried multiple cheeses (awesome), pretzel bread (also awesome), bacon chocolate (not as bad as it sounds, but still not very good) and some aged balsamic (which was great despite the fact that the guy wouldn’t let us eat it with bread). After the exploring was finished, it was time to get some lunch.
The menu hangs over the deli, but I already knew what I wanted: #74, also
known as Dave’s Open Road. This delicious sandwich is filled with grilled Amish chicken breast, applewood-smoked bacon, Wisconsin muenster cheese and ranch, on grilled challah bread. The only down side is that it also comes with lettuce. I ordered it without and also made sure to ask for it without a pickle, then I headed outside to sit at a purple picnic table under a tent to wait.
Dave’s Open Road arrived just as I remembered and tasted just as perfect. All the components blended together in perfect harmony, yet were all distinct in their delicious flavors. Using Zingerman’s for mail-order purposes alone does not do justice to the original deli. The sandwiches, atmosphere and overall glory are something that everyone stepping foot in Michigan should behold. The prices are a bit steep, but well worth it for the experience, especially if you take your time to enjoy the samples.