OT-Best and Worst Restaurants in Ann Arbor?

Submitted by Transatlantic Flight on June 30th, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Recently I was convinced to eat at Zingerman's Roadhouse after many a friend told me "how it has unbeatable barbecue". Sadly, this was far from the truth. While I maintain a strict love of Zingerman's Deli, I was disappointed by the quality of food and service at the roadhouse.

By contrast, I also recently tried the Arbor Brewing Company for the first time and was incredibly impressed. What are you best and worst restauranting experiences in AA?



June 30th, 2010 at 5:02 PM ^

I have a love-hate relationship with Mr. Spots. I've never been there (though I'll probably cave eventually, because I've been Jonesin' for a cheesesteak).

I work on a humor magazine on campus, and we called them once to see if they were interested in advertising with us, since we run ads for a lot of popular places around campus.

Long story short, they let us go through the whole spiel, acted really interested, and then when asked how they wanted it to look, they said "We don't care, just make sure it says 'Never fucking call here again'".

It goes without saying they weren't exactly thrilled when we ran a full page ad with that line and sent them the bill.


June 30th, 2010 at 5:06 PM ^

I went to the Jolly Pumpkin for the first time not too long ago and it was really good.  They have an interesting selection of food too.


June 30th, 2010 at 10:36 PM ^

It just moved out to Dexter (well, Scio Township).  It is on Zeeb Road right off of the I-94 exit.  Still good German food, still lots of beer (including a special 1-liter glass boot of beer for ~$27 [you keep the boot]).

I think it was closed for late 90's through 2001ish.

Now I want some weissbier.  Or maybe Dinkelacker Dark.  Or Weihenstephaner.  Oh sweet nectar...

Blue 8198

June 30th, 2010 at 6:36 PM ^

Old guy picks:  The Earle (timeless), Knights (townie heaven) and Frasers Pub (fun).  While I'm at it, places I miss terribly:  The Del Rio (all time favorite hangout) and La Pinata (now a bank)


June 30th, 2010 at 7:30 PM ^

a big fan of Prickly Pear.  Maybe it's just because I've only been there during lunch hours, but I've never had any problems with service or wait time.  I have walked by during dinner, and can definitely see where some of the complaints are coming from.

I also LOVE Backroom Pizza.  I've heard a lot of people say it is gross and only for drunk people, but I think it is delicious.  I'll eat it even if I'm completely sober walking back from class.


June 30th, 2010 at 8:22 PM ^

Best: Logan.  Ridiculously good food and service.  These people really know what they're doing.

Worst: A tie between Arbor Brewing Co. and Gandy Dancer.

Arbor Brewing's food is just awful.  Their hamburgers, possibly the easiest thing on the menu to cook, are the worst I've ever had (and that includes McDonald's, BK, Wendy's, etc.)  I've been there three times with a number of different people, and literally not one person has ever enjoyed their meal there.  No sugarcoat.  If someone tells you they like ABC, it's safe to assume they're referring to the beer, the shuffleboard, and the darts. 

Gandy Dancer is also the worst, but for a different reason: what they do to the friends and families of unsuspecting Michigan graduates is borderline criminal.  Picture it this way: You're about to graduate, and you can't believe your luck: you've managed to score one of the few graduation day reservations at one of Ann Arbor's finer establishments.  Indeed, of the eight-plus thousand graduates that day, you (YOU!) will have the privilege of a celebratory dinner at the renowned Gandy Dancer with your friends and family.  The ambiance will be perfect, the service top-notch, and the food four-star.  Your parents will be so impressed, they might begin to believe you actually have some clout in this town.  How else could you get this reservation?

All these thought will put a smile on your face and some pep in your step...until you get to the train station.  That's where you learn how "lucky" you were.  That's where you find out that you will be dining with every single person who graduated that day, along with their friends and family.  That's where you will be lead into a tent (WTF!?) to sit in folding chairs (double WTF!?) around extended card tables and served food that's about as warm as Ann Arbor in January and that no where near approaches the quality demanded by the price.  It's 21st-century highway robbery, and by the time you realize what's going on, there ain't shit you can do about it.  Other than rant on mgoblog.

Blue Blue Blue

June 30th, 2010 at 8:55 PM ^

years after graduation, I took my wife back to Ann Arbor.  we hit downtown and MR Flood's  the nite before the game.......and Shakey Jake was in the house at Flood's, and he asked my wife to dance.


we convinced her it was an honor to dance with the crazy old guy, and she went along with it, but didnt really buy it.  the next morning, we showed her the Daily, with a picture of Jake as the Homecoming King.


July 4th, 2010 at 12:47 AM ^

Despite walking by Maize & Blue almost every day, I only tried it once last year.  I'm a big fan of corned beef and wasn't too impressed with theirs.  That doesn't mean it wasn't good - I was just expecting more based on what I've heard from some friends.  Regardless, it is a good deli and I'm disappointed that I didn't try it earlier.


June 30th, 2010 at 10:11 PM ^

...on a cold, February Friday night, with a 15-minute walk ahead back to your place after an unsuccessful, empty-handed night...nothing on this planet consoles your ego like 2 slices of Backroom pizza


June 30th, 2010 at 11:01 PM ^

I have no idea which restaurant is the best (so many choices), but I have to say that, as an undergrad, at two in the moring, coming back from a party, nothing beat Back Room slices for a dollar a pop or BTB.


June 30th, 2010 at 11:19 PM ^

I actually like the Roadhouse a lot (although I went on my parents dime, which might have influenced my decision).


Also, Seva's is really great, you completely forget that its vegetarian. The yam fries might be the best appetizer in Ann Arbor. 


July 1st, 2010 at 9:09 AM ^

...that it took this long to mention Maize & Blue Deli.  Kristi's favorite lunch (#40-something) FTW.  Also:

  • The Arena (all pints $2 on Mondays, great selection) + decent bar food
  • Frasers Pub (Bleu Cheeseburger)
  • Zanzibar (any breakfast), way better than Angelo's & no wait
  • Grizzly Peak (Beer Cheese Soup)
  • Chop House (pretty much anything)
  • Stadium Market (take-out pasta salad)

This list could go on forever


July 3rd, 2010 at 11:24 PM ^

Best Valentine's day restaurant, by far:


Not only was it a great meal, it was quite possibly the best restaurant experience I've ever had.  Great european-style meal, wine included with the dinner, very romantic setting, and a dude playing guitar. 

My date's mom was thoroughly impressed by her description of the evening, so yeah, Amadeus is full of WIN.