March 3, 2011 - 4:33pm
BY CLAIRE HALL
Those who visited Zingerman’s Delicatessen with their parents last weekend might not think the Ann Arbor landmark could get any more popular. However, the restaurant may see even more business in the future since it was recently recognized in Zagat’s Detroit Top 10 list.
Zingerman’s is one of three Ann Arbor restaurants that made it onto Zagat’s recently-released “2011 America’s Top Restaurants” Detroit Top 10 listing. The other two Ann Arbor restaurants named among the best in the Detroit Metro area are West End Grill and Logan, making Ann Arbor the most represented city on the listing.
According to Zagat.com, the Zagat Survey collects thousands of reviews from ordinary restaurant-goers and compiles them into ratings, on a scale from 0 to 30, for food, décor and service. The price listed is estimated as the cost of dinner plus one drink and tip.
Restaurants that serve American or European food dominate this year’s Detroit ratings, with four of the top ten identifying as American, two as Italian and one as Continental. Like many of the restaurants that made the Detroit list, Ann Arbor’s Logan and West End Grill are classified as having higher prices and “New American cuisine.”
Zingerman’s, an award-winning local favorite, was the only deli to make the list, differentiating this establishment from the others. Though reviewers gave the deli a score of 16 for décor, it earned a food score of 27. Zingerman’s also has the lowest price listing in the Detroit listing’s top ten at $22, compared to the next lowest price of $35.
Kristen Jackson, a front-of-the-house manager at Zingerman’s, said she believes the delicatessen’s uniqueness and commitment to good food and service set it apart as an establishment.
“We do everything really well and we use the best ingredients,” she said. “We also try to source locally whenever possible.”
Zingerman’s emphasis on responsible culinary practices, local producers and taste make it a place you can visit and “know everything’s going to be consistently good — or great,” Jackson said.
LSA senior Sarah Glassberg said every time her parents come to Ann Arbor they eat at Zingerman’s, a tradition shared by many other University students.
“Their food is just really good,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had bad service there.”
Logan — a restaurant less known by students — won its first recognition by making the Detroit Top 10 listing.
Logan’s success is due in large part to the restaurant’s “steady pushing forward for excellence,” chef and owner Thad Gillies said. The restaurant’s chef- and owner-driven approach is another, he said.
“The biggest thing that we do differently is that we are here every night, and we’re only open five days a week,” Gillies said. “We have the same staff that works the same positions every day.”
Open since Nov. 2004, Logan has seen a rise in business since the guide was released, according to Gillies.
“We had our best week ever last week,” he said.
West End Grill is no stranger to awards, according to Roland Pohlman, the restaurant’s owner and manager. The restaurant has been previously recognized by Zagat.
“We’ve remained really consistent over the years,” Pohlman said. “We’ve been open 15 years now, had the same chef for almost that whole time.”
Like Gillies, Pohlman said that he takes a very “hands-on” approach as owner.
According to Pohlman, “a balance of food, service, and atmosphere” is an important goal at West End, which is located on West Liberty Street.
Though students tend to reserve West End Grill as “sort of a special-occasion place,” Pohlman said business has generally been very good this fall. In regard to the new Zagat listing, Pohlman said it was difficult to quantify the effects on business thus far, but that they’ve had several customers mention the listing.
The restaurants filling out the Detroit top 10 list are Lark of West Bloomfield, Bacco Ristorante of Southfield, Common Grill of Chelsea, Café Cortina of Farmington Hills, Beverly Hills Grill of Beverly Hills, Saltwater of Detroit and Streetside Seafood of Birmingham. Zagat also named two other Ann Arbor restaurants, Eve and The Earle, in the top 20 Detroit restaurants.