Dear Ann Arbor Town, as it has been immortalized by the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, offers a vast and thriving market for an assortment of culinary experiences.
Start your day off strongly with an experimental brew at Comet Coffee, where the baristas are always tinkering to make the boldest, most flavorful coffee. Grab a cup to go and wander through the curiously whimsical Nickels Arcade over to the historic Kerrytown district. See what the bustling stalls at the Farmer’s Market have to offer - local greens, cheeses, fresh berries, Michigan maple syrup, exquisite pastries, and homemade breads are just a taste of what is for sale and sampling for locals and visitors. Take your time while strolling through the stall and don’t be afraid to ask for a sample or two. Pick up some raw food bars from Evan at B Bars, or try some fermented vegetables from The Brinery. Both are packed with flavor and make you rethink how local food can be done.
Meander through the market and shops to The Lunch Room, a delectable and creative vegan diner. Using local and organic produce from the Farmer’s Market and other nearby vendors, The Lunch Room serves up tantalizing, meat- and dairy-free dishes – try the Banh mi chay or the BBQ torta sandwiches. All the bread, cookies, pastries, and donuts are baked in-house, so order something sweet to go and head over to Nichols Arboretum to take in some of Ann Arbor’s natural beauty. Nicknamed “Tree Town,” Ann Arbor boasts plenty of green spaces for an afternoon nap, a stroll in the woods, or a riverside jog. The Arb is a perfect place to take a break and enjoy Michigan’s diverse prairies, wetlands, oak forests, and blooming gardens.
After a day of walking around campus and exploring downtown’s galleries, bookstores, and artisan shops, slide into the family style benches at Frita Batidos for a Cuban-inspired experience. This locally sourced joint serves up two staples of Cuban street food – the Frita, a burger served with shoestring fries on a soft egg bun and the Batidos, a tropical milkshake of fresh fruit, ice, and milk (rum is also an option). The chorizo frita is a classic, but don’t be afraid to venture into the black bean or fish territory. Make your fritas “loco” and don’t forget warm churros for dessert.
Once you’ve had your fill, head around the corner to Bill’s Beer Garden. This urban garden is open during the spring and summer, and patrons can sip on Michigan craft beer while enjoying live music and a bonfire. During Michigan’s many months of winter, try the Smokehouse Amber or the Bumper Crop IPA at Mash, an underground beer and bourbon bar that serves up creative cocktails and locally brewed beer to satisfy everyone’s tastes.
Photos: Comet Coffee, The Brinery, The Lunch Room