Campus community welcomes Detroit-based restaurant at Ross

Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 5:12pm

Wheeling its way down the freeway from the Motor City to Ann Arbor every Thursday, the iconic Slows Bar BBQ will be available weekly in the Ross School of Business’ Seigle Cafe to cater its famous slow-cooked sandwiches and other entrees to the community during lunchtime. 

Slows to Go first opened in the Business school Sept. 15, offering a selection of its famous slow-cooked meats and sandwiches, along with pit-smoked beans, mac and cheese and slaw. It is stationed every Thursday at the “Traditions” station in the Seigle Cafe.

Chuck Amyx, the Business School’s director of operations, said he supported bringing in such a highly acclaimed local restaurant.

“The culinary scene in Michigan is really taking off,” Amyx said. “They’re Detroit. There’s a Michigan connection there. They’re very accommodating and eager. And I think our community is very excited about it. It’s a win-win for everybody — the school, the University, the students and for Slows.”

Public Policy student Trevis Harrold said campus has helped Slows, serving as a bridge to a new community and market.  He added that he hopes this will be an opportunity for people in Ann Arbor to learn about Slows and maybe take a trip to Detroit to find out more about the restaraunt.

“I think it’s really good,” Harrold said. “First off, I love the food. I worked in Detroit over the summer, so Slows is definitely a popular spot for me. Slows is a really iconic place in Detroit, so for (students) to get some, what I like to call Detroit home-cooking, it’s really good and really beneficial.”

David Schroeder, Seigle Cafe general manager, said the process of bringing in the restaurant started last September 2015. After Slows catered several events at the Business School, executive chef John Miller reached out to Slows’ chefs and offered them access to Seigle Cafe facilities to operate at the University.

“We tried to get a diverse, ethnic, as well as cultural, difference of the restaurants,” Schroeder said. “We’re trying to follow the makeup of the students of the Business School. We’re trying to feed 5,000 students with 5,000 tastes and make everyone happy.”

Schroeder said in its third week, Slows’ success is largely due to their menu, which is changed each week. 

“They started out as a sales leader the first week,” Schroeder said. “They set the record for single-day guest restaurant sales the second week they were there. Then this week they doubled the sales of the closest best restaurant.”

Schroeder added that Slows offers a unique experience for students that they can’t find anywhere else in Ann Arbor. He also noted that they are sustainably sourced, which aligns with the University’s sustainability goals.

“They have a great product, they have a good story, and for us it’s a sustainable item that’s prepared within 250 miles of the University,” Schroeder said. “They use Michigan-based products wherever they can, which is what we do. We believe in ‘let’s grow it here, let’s prepare it here and let’s serve it here.’ So they fit into our mission, which is also the University’s mission.”

Slows shares its spot at lunchtime throughout the week with other rotating restaurants, such as Taste of India, Nagomi Sushi and Byblos Cafe and Grill on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, with Slows serving every Thursday. Amyx said these restaurants all produce high quality and diverse options to appeal to all students.

“We serve a very diverse community here,” Amyx said. “When you walk into Seigle’s, it isn’t just a one-trick pony. They try to cater to as many different groups — from vegans to people who like greasy burgers and everything in between — and they try to do so at a competitive price.”

The most popular item is the barbeque pulled pork sandwich, Schroeder said. Yesterday, Slows featured its unique spin of the beef Philly steak and cheese to offer alternative options for students with certain dietary restrictions.

“They always try to do one dish that’s non-pork,” Schroeder said. “We have a lot of students that are halal or Muslim that don’t eat pork, so they always have an alternative, and they have vegetarian options.”

Popularity for Slows has exceeded expectations, Amyx said. With lines out the door, Slows has had to bring in double the amount of food it began with. However, no matter how long the line is, Schroeder said the maximum wait time is 15 minutes.

Slows executive chef Brian Perrone said in a statement that he was excited to bring Slows to the University community.

Slows Bar BQ is extremely excited to bring our unique spin on classic barbecue to the Ross School of Business,” Perrone said. “We hope to gain new Slows fans and encourage students and faculty to come and visit us in Detroit and Grand Rapids for the full experience."

Through monthly meetings with the Student Government Association as well as the Ross Government Association, the Business School aims to elicit feedback from the students about the food and service, Schroeder said.

Amyx said given the huge success of Slows, he’d like for them to remain long-term.

“We really enjoy working with them,” Amyx said. “We think that what they’re doing down in Detroit — to revitalize that area of town — as well as their contribution to the culinary scene down there. … We think that’s great. And to be able to partner with somebody like that, that makes it all the better.”