The Ark

(Photo provided by visitannarbor.org)

Restaurants, Breweries & Music in Downtown Ann Arbor


Now that it’s springtime, the beautiful weather is providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy free time in one of Metro Detroit’s downtown areas. Next on the list in our “Downtown Series” is downtown Ann Arbor!

While I bleed green and white, I must admit, downtown Ann Arbor is quite nice. In fact, Ann Arbor was recently named one of America’s best Main Streets by Fodor’s Travel, so that must mean something! There is plenty to do, and if you’re looking for an afternoon of shopping, eating and drinking, this is the place to be. Let’s take a peek at some of the establishments that downtown Ann Arbor has to offer:

Food

NeoPapalis, 500 E. William St., makes Neapolitan pizzas with dough that rises for at least three days before it’s formed into a pizza pie. The rosemary chicken and Italian sausage used as toppings are marinated in white wine before being baked in stone ovens, and all vegetables and meats are sliced fresh daily.

Try the Pesto (with your choice of fior-di-latte fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella) or Margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil and sea salt) pizzas. You can also build your own with a variety of toppings, including caramelized onions, broccoli, roasted garlic, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon and spinach.

Blimpy Burger, 304 S. Ashley St., is a local favorite, with a very specific set of ordering instructions. If you’ve never been before, you may want to take a look at the rules before you go.

Burgers can be made as a double, triple, quad or quint, with your choice of cheese (Swiss, Cheddar, American, provolone or bleu). Extra toppings include grilled onions, bacon, salami, grilled egg, sautéed mushrooms and more. You can also order your burger on a Kaiser roll, onion roll or pumpernickel bakery roll. Don’t forget to order a side of fries or veggies (that are breaded and fried, still healthy, right?).

While in downtown Ann Arbor, don’t forget to check out Taste, 521 E. Liberty St., Zingerman’s Deli, 422 Detroit St., and Tomukun, 505 E. Liberty St., for some additional good eats.

Drink

Arbor Brewing Company, 114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, always has up-and-coming events taking place at the Brewpub. Today is a glorious day at the ABC Brewpub, because the patio is officially open, and it’s the release day of Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen. The brewery’s summer release is a medium-bodied wheat beer.

You can always find out what’s on tap before you drop by using this handy online tool.

Lab, 505 E. Liberty St. Ste. 300, offers the typical espresso, latte and cappuccino hot drinks you’d expect, but a few you’d probably never think about. You just may find a lavender and honey latte on the menu during your visit.

Tea offerings include white jasmine organic, black vanilla, herbal chamomile, oolong coconut and more. There are also plenty of gluten free items, breads, cookies, muffins and pastries to choose from. Don’t forget about the frozen yogurt and fresh toppings, either!

Grizzly Peak Brewing Company, 120 W. Washington St., and Jolly Pumpkin, 311 S. Main St., are two additional breweries worth checking out.

Dessert

Blank Slate Creamery, 300 W. Liberty St., is the place to go in downtown Ann Arbor if it’s a warm, sunny day and you’re craving a sweet treat. The ice cream here is made with Guernsey Farm milk and cream, along with fresh eggs and cane sugar. Many of the ingredients used are sourced locally, and are free of additives and preservatives whenever possible.

Flavors include Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Chocolate Covered Pretzel with Caramel Swirl, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Balsamic Strawberry, Bananas Foster, Malted Chocolate Stout, Blueberry Pancake, Vietnamese Cinnamon and more. Try one in a homemade waffle cone!

Iorio’s Gelateria, 522 E. William St., is another great choice when it comes to dessert. If you like gelato, you’re in for a real treat! At Iorio’s, the Italian ice cream is made with no artificial ingredients, and there are several dairy-free and vegan sorbet options to choose from.

Try Mexican Vanilla, Peanut Butter Cup, Green Tea, Nutella Cheesecake, Maple Bacon, Oberon, Spiced Hazelnut Fig, Mango Sorbetto or Banana Coconut Sorbetto.

Shopping/Entertainment

Literati Bookstore, 124 E. Washington St., is an independent bookstore with plenty of titles to offer. There’s always something going on here, whether it’s an event or a book club meeting, like the new Literati Cookbook Club beginning on Tuesday, April 21.

If you’re an avid reader, make sure you schedule a stop at Literati while you’re in downtown Ann Arbor. Once you get home, you can order whatever books you forgot off of the website!

Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., is a great place to catch a film or concert. Stay up to date with the upcoming schedule here, and stay tuned for the Wine and Film Series beginning on Wednesday, April 29. On Wednesday evenings through May 27, patrons 21 and up can enjoy a wine-themed film, followed by a tasting after the show.

The Michigan Theatre also offers kids programs and other special series throughout the year.

Rock Paper Scissors, 216 S. Main St., sells whimsical items, cute stationery and paper goods, and The Ark, 316. S. Main St., is a great place to listen to some blues or jazz.

No matter which of the above activities you choose to enjoy in downtown Ann Arbor, be sure to check as many as possible off of your list. Enjoy!