So we finished up working today in Ann Arbor, MI, and asked our client (as we always do) for his recommendation for a place to eat lunch.
“Oh! Zingerman’s,” he said excitedly. “Zingerman’s is just a few blocks away.”
Zingerman’s? we asked. What is that? A sports bar or something?
He got kind of a stunned look on his face. “What? You’ve never heard of Zingerman’s?”
A couple of ladies in the office overheard and rushed in. “Oh my gosh! You’ve never heard of Zingerman’s? Seriously? It’s the absolute best deli on the planet!”
We felt a bit embarrassed. The best deli on the planet? Really? Then we’ll definitely have to check it out.
So we said our goodbyes and made our way into quaint and pretty downtown Ann Arbor and found the place. And as soon as we saw it we were tempted to turn around immediately and find something else. Not at all because it looked like a bad place – quite the opposite actually, it looked very cool – but there was a line of literally dozens of people waiting around the corner to get in. And unfortunately we’re not long lines kind of people. Maybe we’re too impatient, or maybe we’re just a bit jaded. Too many times in our travels we’ve found that long lines have equalled long waits, which equal crowded restaurants, which typically equal a vastly overrated experience. And the long lines must be a standard, day-to-day sight at Zingerman’s, because they actually built a covered walkway over the sidewalk outside to keep the folks waiting protected from the elements.
But we were starving – and the place came very highly recommended – so we summoned our patient, optimistic inner selves and decided to stick with it.
And man, are we glad we did.
Turns out, the line outside was long but it moved quick. We didn’t wait for more than just a few minutes, and one of the employees was actually out there manning the line, chatting up the folks and offering free samples of super delicious black cherry soda. When it was our turn they called us to go inside, where we found another line and a throng of people standing around waiting to order. Still, the line moved fast and we got our order placed in another few minutes. (We decided to share both a Cuban sandwich and pimiento cheese sandwich with bacon. Yum.) We paid at the register and found a table outside to wait for our order.
So did it live up to the hype? Was the wait worth it? Absolutely.
Only downside is that it was pretty expensive. We had the two sandwiches and two sodas and the tab was around $35. Ouch. But not only were the sandwiches delicious, the people at Zingerman’s – from the guy outside, to the girl working the door, to the people who took our orders, to the girl who delivered it to our table – were some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met. Crazy friendly. Which really, really, made the whole experience worthwhile and memorable.
Ever in Ann Arbor? Check ‘em out! www.zingermansdeli.com
And don’t let the line scare ya…