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Barbecue restaurant set to fill Packard Pub space

Austen Hufford/Daily
Signs promoting R.U.B BBQ Restaurant adorn the outside windows of the now defunct Packard Pub. Buy this photo

By Alicia Adamczyk, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 14, 2012

Tailgating for the 2013 season just got a little saucier with the addition of R.U.B. BBQ Pub to the South Campus dining scene.

The R.U.B. BBQ Pub, a Michigan family-owned, sports-style pub founded 40 years ago in Detroit and Warren, will open its third location within the next 30 to 60 days on the corner of South State Street and Packard Avenue in the space formerly occupied by the Packard Pub.

Customers will be able to wash the Southern-inspired, home-style meals down with one of more than 200 varieties of bottled beer, or 60 beers on tap, many of which were produced in Michigan.The smokehouse will also offer tailgating packages and draft beer to-go.

Omar Mitchell, the smokehouse’s regional manager, said opening a restaurant in Ann Arbor is almost obligatory given its reputation as a “restaurant capital” throughout the state.

“As crazy as it may sound, Ann Arbor is missing great barbecue,” Mitchell said. “They have many different styles of cuisine, but good old Southern comfort barbecue is missing.”

Mitchell emphasized R.U.B.’s unique position in offering students and residents food options not available elsewhere in the city, including homemade sauces, gluten-free menu items and vegetarian meals. He said he hopes the pub becomes a staple among Ann Arbor diners.

“We tend to be that place, you know, if you’re looking to go have fun and relieve some stress and have some great food and some great beer, (R.U.B.) will be the place to go,” he said.

As for Ann Arbor’s notoriously limited parking options, Mitchell said he doesn’t believe this will hinder business significantly because students and residents are used to parking far away and walking to restaurants. He said the pub will also offer home delivery and, hopefully, curbside service.

In addition to its regular menu featuring barbecue staples such as Tennessee pulled pork and Texas beef brisket, the smokehouse also offers unique dishes such as the “Yzerman,” “Hitsville,” and “The Slim Shady,” throwbacks to its Detroit roots.

BBQ lovers might also be interested in what Mitchell refers to as the “peanut butter and jelly” of the restaurant, his favorite item, the St. Louis ribs.

“You can’t go wrong with a PBJ. Every time, it’s great. Every time, it’s consistent,” he said. “(The St. Louis rib) is just a good old-fashioned smoked rib ... every single time it’s great.”

Mikky Meyei, an employee at Subway located at 902 State St. next door to R.U.B., said he isn’t worried about the pub’s arrival because he believes Subway attracts a different crowd.

“We’re open until three in the night and that’s when a lot of people come,” Meyei said.

Mitchell said he gets as many as a dozen inquiries a day about the restaurant’s opening and that students seem excited about the smokehouse. Rackham student Megan Williams confirmed that she believes the restaurant will do well with the collegiate crowd.

“That area could always use more restaurants,” Williams said. “I think that for me, I really like barbecue, and also that it’s the kind of food, especially lately, that’s becoming more and more popular.”


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