UNIVERSITY OF FOOD DIVERSITY Zingerman’s feeds sophisticated tastes in Ann Arbor BY MAYA PARSON on’t tell Ari Weinzweig that you can’t build a world-renowned gourmet food business in a small Midwestern city. After graduating from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Weinzweig, along with partner Paul Saginaw, launched Zingerman’s Delicatessen in the sleepy college town in 1982 with a $20,000 bank loan, a staff of two and a love of good food. Today, Zingerman’s attracts over 500,000 visitors a year and has expanded to include a bakehouse, restaurant (the Zingerman’s Roadhouse), creamery, catering business, book press, coff ee roaster, consulting business, candy manufacturer and a working farm with event facilities. Zingerman’s also does a booming mail-order busi-ness (Zingermans.com) and organizes international culinary tours. In 2007, Weinzweig and Saginaw were recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards for work in the food industry by Bon Appétit magazine. When I asked Weinzweig why he chose to build his food empire in Ann Arbor (instead of, say, Chicago, where he is originally from), he simply explained, “Because I like it here.” After a trip to Zingerman’s, we can guarantee that you will, too. Edible Michiana: How would you describe your perfect Saturday in Ann Arbor? Ari Weinzweig: For me it would be somewhere between June and September, when the weather might be really nice and the farm-ers market would be fi lled with local produce. I usually start my Saturdays at about 7am, working at the back table at Zingerman’s Next Door [the Zingerman’s coff ee shop, literally “next door” to the deli]. Later on, some time at home, a long run, working the fl oor at Zingerman’s Roadhouse, cooking dinner at home with my girlfriend Tammie. EM: Where do you take out-of-town guests (other than Zinger-man’s, of course)? AW: As a shy introvert I don’t really go out much. But I send people to the Ark [Ann Arbor’s acclaimed folk music venue], the University of Michigan Art Museum, the historic Michigan Th eater. Also, the Arboretum, walking around Kerrytown (shops and markets in his-toric buildings just across from Zingerman’s Deli and the farmers market), downtown Ann Arbor or Depot Town in nearby Ypsilanti (a historic district with shops, food and museums). EM: What do you love most about living in Ann Arbor? AW: I love Ann Arbor because we have so much great art, music, in-tellectual and creative activity and energy—lots of interesting people and a lot of internationally diverse presence—yet we’re a pretty small town that takes at most 15 minutes to drive across. Th e farmers mar-kets are great; lots of good food. Lots of park access if you want it. 22 22 edible Michiana edible Michiana Spring 2015 Spring 2015 D Add in all the athletic activity, which brings even more interesting people and energy. And because we’re so close to a major airport (Detroit Metro), we have easy access to most places in the world with direct fl ights. EM: What Zingerman’s item is most popular with locals? AW: Hard to say what’s “most popu-lar,” but top sellers include the Reuben and Georgia Reubens at the Deli; the Paesano, Farm and Rye breads and Magic Brownies at the Bakehouse; the handmade cream cheese and goat cheese at the Creamery; the espresso at the Coff ee Company; fried chicken, Eastern North Carolina pork barbecue and the donut sundae at the Road-house; Zzang candy bars and hand-made peanut brittle from the candy company. And of course with mail or-der we can ship to anyone who moves away but wants to stay a local at heart. EM: How can you tell a local from a tourist at Zingerman’s? AW: Locals know where they’re go-ing without asking or they know what they want and aren’t afraid to ask for tastes or help to fi nd it. Th ey know that at Zingerman’s we give tastes of anything free for the asking. First time guests usually don’t know that and are more likely to be a bit overwhelmed by the wide range of food and drink we have to off er. “Like every New Yorker, I think that whatever we have in New York is the best and nothing else rates. Well, when I went to Zingerman’s, I was ready to burn my birth certiﬁ cate and put that I’m from Michigan.” —Jane Stern, co-author of Roadfood Maya Parson is the editor of Edible Michiana . You can also ﬁ nd her online at CulturedGrub.com. Heading to Zingerman’s? Look for our sister publication Edible WOW (EdibleWOW.com) to learn more about the best local food and drink in Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan.