Where to go to do dinner after a Michigan football game? J had suggested Zingerman’s Deli, but we would have had to go north through downtown which I didn’t really want to do and I’ve always been told Zingerman’s Deli is nuts on game days.
I started looking over the menu at Zingerman’s Roadhouse and while the prices all seemed a little higher, when I thought about it, dinner at the Roadhouse would have cost the same as dinner at the Deli. We love Zingerman’s Deli, so I had no reason to think we wouldn’t love Zingerman’s Roadhouse….plus, Bon Appetite did call their BBQ one of the best in country….and I do love me some BBQ.
Zingerman’s Roadhouse is on Jackson Avenue near the Westgate Shopping Center in Ann Arbor. It’s near the Interstate 94 Exit for Jackson Avenue, so after leaving Michigan Stadium, I headed back to the expressway. We left the game a little early to beat traffic since it was a blow out, so it only took a few minutes to get to the restaurant.
Leaving early also allowed us to beat any sort of post game rush. It was a little after three when we parked the car and there weren’t a lot of cars in the parking lot which was good news to me. We were both pretty hungry having skipped lunch at the Stadium, so the quicker we could get food the better.
The first thing I noticed about Zingerman’s Roadhouse was the To-Go area. I had to chuckle just a little. They have an old pull behind camper (may have been an Airstream) connected to the building. You could do a walk-up or drive thru and get some carry-out. Cool idea.
If the restaurant had been packed, we may have considered that, but it wasn’t, so we went in. You hit a hostess station as soon as you enter the door. The building is decievingly big. We were shown to a table for two in the bar area, but there’s another whole dining room plus an all-season patio.
J was really intrigued by the decor. The space screamed roadhouse with the wood floors and exposed beam ceilings, but they also had a collection of salt and pepper shakers that covered a lot of cabinet space.
Our server came to get drink orders and brought us a basket of bread. I love Zingerman’s bread. The basket looked like it was handmade and part of the structure was chicken wire. The bread was some sort of whole grain bread that was served with butter. There was a bottle of what we both thought was oil on the table, but it was actually some kind of spicy vinegar. It didn’t really taste all that great with the bread 🙂
Just about everything on the menu was over ten bucks and some of them could have been higher depending on the cheese. Along with the menus, we were handed a card with the cheese they had on hand that day and price per slice. The price of a grilled cheese or a cheeseburger depended on what cheese you chose.
The burgers sounded good as did the macaroni and cheese choices, but it was the BBQ that brought me there, so I decided to get a head start on our honeymoon and see how Zingerman’s pork stacked up. I ordered the Chopped Pork BBQ sandwich which came with choice of BBQ sauce, hand cut fries, and a mustard cole slaw. The waitress asked if I have had their sauces before and when I said no, she offered a taste. I declined because I know I’m not a fan of the South Carolina Mustard sauces and I still prefer a Memphis Tomato BBQ sauce over an Eastern North Carolina Vinegar sauce. The slow smoked pork was served on an onion roll with a touch of sauce already on the meat. It was delicious. Even though I usually complain about onion rolls, this one was pretty tasty. It would have been nice to have the sauce on the table or maybe just some extra in a little cup, but the meat was so good, I didn’t really care. The fries were awesome. This is how fries should be. They were fresh cut and fried perfectly. At any other restaurants, the fries would be the best thing on the menu. The mustard slaw wasn’t that bad and I don’t usually like slaw. J convinced me to take a bite and I ended up taking more than one.
J stuck with the BBQ thing as well and ordered the BBQ Pulled Chicken. Like my sandwich, it came on an onion roll, but she didn’t have the choice of sauce. Hers came with the Memphis Tomato Sauce which is what she would have ordered anyway. She also got the same hand cut fries that I got. Her chicken was de-freakin-licious. The chicken is pit-smoked free range chicken and it was fall apart good. J usually prefers a lot of sauce and commented on that when she first looked at the sandwich, but after taking a bite, I never heard another word about the sauce. The chicken was so good on its own. She loved the fries and she doesn’t usually like the fresh cut fries like I do. It really was a great meal.
As we were finishing up, the waitress came by and asked if we wanted refills on sauce, drinks, or fries. Fries? I didn’t ask because she caught me off guard, but yes, she offered a refill on fries. Had I not been tongue-tied, I probably would have taken her up on that offer. Fortunately for me, J’s sandwich was too much and I got some of her fries 🙂
Our bill was right at $30 which still seems high to me for sandwiches, but Zingerman’s uses quality ingredients and it really comes through in the flavors. We both loved our sandwiches as much as we loved the sandwiches from the Deli. The fries were some of the best restaurant fries I’ve ever had and the service was great. We were in and out much quicker than anticipated. The downside is it put us right back in game day traffic which we were trying to avoid, but how can you complain about efficient service? You can’t.
Ann Arbor is very lucky to have Zingerman’s.