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On my first visit to Ann Arbor in high school, I fell in love with Zingerman’s Delicatessen even before I fell in love with the University. With its characteristically maximalist decor and cases of fresh bakery goods in various shades of yellows and creams, entering the deli for the first time was a transcendent experience. The atmosphere was buoyant, buzzing with Ann Arbor locals and visitors alike relishing in the delightful sights, smells and tastes of the restaurant consistently ranked as one of America’s best Jewish delis. 

And just a few steps away was the deli’s smaller but equally-as-charming sister shop, Next Door Cafe, where a bold-but-sweet vanilla latte told me I might just have to commit to the University to get the chance to return to this brightly-colored paradise of pastries and potato pancakes. 

Tucked in the heart of Kerrytown, Zingerman’s has been mastering the art of all things sandwiches and soups since the ’80s, when owners Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw, having been disillusioned by the rigid nature of the corporate food world, set out to reintroduce quality, culinary tradition to the folks of Ann Arbor. Today, the deli has expanded into a kind of maize-and-blue empire; it’s nearly impossible to drive through campus without stumbling upon one of their storefronts, including Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Coffee Company. 

Needless to say, Zingerman’s has become a quintessential part of the Ann Arbor community and the University experience — trying one of their Reuben sandwiches has come to carry all of the ritualistic sanctity of attending your first football game at the Big House. A prospective University student would be remiss not to make Zingerman’s Deli one of the main stops on their next campus tour.

Senior Arts Editor Grace Tucker can be reached at