CSL’s destination guide to Ann Arbor Michigan – where to eat, where to stay, what to do.
A quaint college town with a walkable downtown, there are ample cultural experiences and a growing choice of ethnic restaurants, farmers’ markets and urban gardening initiatives. The local food scene has burgeoned in recent years with farm-to-table and community supported agriculture (locals pay to be shareholders in a farm and receive produce weekly) championed by local chefs and farmers. Ann Arbor Tourist Information, 315 West Huron, Suite 340 Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 995-7281.
Michigan Stadium/Big House
Dubbed the “Big House” and built in 1927, it is the largest stadium in the United States with a seating capacity of 109,901. 1201 South Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 764-4599.
Messiah at Hill Auditorium
During the holidays don’t miss Handel’s Messiah performed by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and the Grammy Award-winning University Musical Society Choral Union at Hill Auditorium on the University of Michigan campus.
Kindlefest at Kerrytown Market & Shops
Annual, traditional outdoor holiday market featuring handmade gifts, decorations, and typical holiday fare. 407 North Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 662-5008.
Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Buy everything from tamales, chocolate and produce to baked goods, eggs and honey. The Kerrytown market is held every Wednesday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., May through November; Saturday only, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., December through April. City of Ann Arbor 315 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 794-6255.
Cherry Republic Ann Arbor
Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is often referred to as The Cherry Capital of the World. Even if you’re not here during the season, experience the fruit in a variety of concoctions from cherry mustard, to cherry butter, preserves and even furniture at this eclectic store. 223 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 585-5231.
Kerrytown Market & Shops
Historic area home to distinctive markets and shops. 407 North Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 662-5008.
EAT AND STAY
Ayse’s Turkish Café
Owner Ayse Uras has been serving Turkish home cooking (think lentil soup, cold salads, pilavs, boreks, vegetarian stews, meat pies, white bean stew with lamb, moussaka and homemade desserts) here since 1993. Expect seasonal farmer’s market fare and don’t miss the eggplant or Turkish coffee. 1703 Plymouth Road Ann Arbor, MI 48105; (734) 662-1711.
Traditional Spanish comfort food from Chef Jules Botham including extensive vegetarian options, cocas, tapas and Basque pinxto. Wash it all down with Spanish wine, or the house made gin and tonics and save room for the ice-cream served tableside using liquid nitrogen.216 E. Washington Street Ann Arbor, MI; (734) 369-3153.
Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina
With 48 beers on tap (many local craft beers from Michigan), and pasta dishes, soups, salads, and gelati, this is a great classic Italian restaurant. The big draw though, is wood fired pizza leavened without commercial yeast or added sugar according to the Italian bakers’ style called biga. 3050 Washtenaw, Suite 112 Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 971-2442.
Owned and operated by Hediye Batu and Alan Zakalik and inspired by French novelist Emile Zola, this downtown café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu draws from French, Italian and Turkish cuisine. 112 West Washington Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 769-2020.
Owner Adam Baru’s new Mexican restaurant. 341 E. Liberty Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 213-7400.
Logan—An American Restaurant
Thad Gillies, chef and co-owner, Ryan Gillies, general manager and co-owner and sommelier Kevin Hobart intimate restaurant features Asian influenced dishes rooted in American classics. 115 West Washington Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 327-2312.
Mani Osteria & Bar
Owner Adam Baru offers Old World small plates, house made pasta, wood-fired pizza and wine modeled on the Italian osteria (simple wine and food). 341 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 769-6700.
Newly opened in the summer of 2014, this restaurant helmed by executive chef Brent Courson serves local, seasonal food influenced by Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, and Moroccan cuisine. Wines from the Mediterranean are served by the bottle and diners pay for only what they drink. 120 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (888) 456-3463.
Paying homage to the Japanese custom of slurping noodles, and with a sister restaurant in Chicago, the Slurping Turtle serves casual, authentic Japanese comfort food from chef-owner Takashi Yagahashi. 608 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 887-6868.
Fine wines from around the world are served at this winebar and restaurant. Don’t miss the Bubble Room where 400 hand-blown glass balls crafted by Furnance Hot Glass in Dearborn create a unique dining space. 110 South Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 222-9841.
The Last Word
Speakeasy inspired bar with live music and great cocktails. 301 W. Huron Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 623-1443.
Chief fermenting officer’ David Klingenberger experiments with fermented foods including pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut which are sold locally. 2531 Jackson Avenue, Suite 157, Ann Arbor, MI 48103; (734) 717-4469.
Rows upon rows of loose leaf tea from all over the world line this shop alongside a bevy of tea accoutrements. Owner Lisa McDonald also serves light tea time treats. 204 North 4th Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 622-0460.
Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
Alongside the landmark Deli (which serves bagels, specialty foods, cheese and more) is Zingerman’s Mail Order, Zingerman’s Bakehouse (breads and pastry), ZingTrain (seminars and consulting), and The Roadhouse. A culinary titan in Ann Arbor. 422 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 663-9304.
Part of the Zingerman’s family of businesses, serving cheese, gelato, and sorbet. 3723 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108; (734) 929-0500.
Wine bar specializing in local wines from Northern Michigan including Black Star Farms, Good Harfbor Vineyards, and Mawby Vineyards. 48104, 111 West Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (734) 368-9750.
A short jaunt from Ann Arbor this University City sits on the Huron River and is home to several museums, shops, restaurants and a farmer’s market. Ypsilanti Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 106 West Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti, MI 48197; (734) 483-4444.
EAT AND STAY
Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest
Sits on 135 acres of championship golf course. Great water views. 1275 S. Huron Street, Ypsilanti, MI 48197; (734) 487-2000.
EAT AND STAY
Chelsea Alehouse Brewery
Christopher Martinson, owner and brewmaster specializes in English and American ales. Light meals and small plates also available. 420 N. Main Street, Chelsea, MI 48118; (734) 433-5500.
Ugly Dog Distillery
Since 2010 Jon Dyer and partner Dewey Winkle have produced handcrafted vodka from Michigan winter wheat. Recent additions include gin and light rum. 14495 N. Territorial Road, Chelsea, MI 48118; (734) 433-0433.
Purple Rose Theater Company
Actor and Chelsea native Jeff Daniels founded this American theatre which supports Midwestern talent. 137 Park Street, Chelsea, MI 48118; (734) 433-7673.
Zingerman’s Cornman Farms
This 42 acre farm grows 70 varieties of vegetables, raises livestock and hosts gatherings. 8450 Island Lake Road, Dexter, MI 48130; (734) 619-8100.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of City Style and Living.