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Name a dozen "good restaurants" ...

17. June 2004 • Rob Goodspeed
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The benefits of variety also help explain why many people are willing to pay more to live in big cities. Thanks to greater variety, urban dwellers get more for their money.

Professor Weinstein, who used to teach at the University of Michigan, explains it this way: “In Ann Arbor, you have maybe a dozen good restaurants to choose from, and in New York you probably have several thousand good restaurants to choose from. Yet when you compute the price of a meal, you don’t take that at all into account.”

> NYTimes: “The economic value of variety”



  1. And I thought the restaurants were a selling point for this town! Not many places have such variety and quality per capita, in my experience.

    Perhaps if you only consider restaurants like the Gandy, Chop House, Daniel’s, and the Earl “good” you only have a dozen to choose from…
       —Scott Trudeau    Jun. 17 '04 - 12:03PM    #
  2. Really, Scott? I can only think of about a dozen truly good restaurants here in town. Maybe because I’m a poor vegetarian, and that limits my options…
    js
       —js    Jun. 17 '04 - 12:17PM    #
  3. its stupid to compare ann arbor to nyc…most places in the world can’t compare to nyc’s variety…but in my experience, ann arbor has a lot more to offer than most of the variety-less suburbs of america, and even some so-called urban centers such as, oh i don’t know, atlanta…

    this is, of course, coming from the guy who is probably moving to larger town in a few months…

    do as i say, not as i do,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 17 '04 - 12:21PM    #
  4. As a vegan, I can’t imagine a better place in the Midwest of comparable size for veggie options and variety. Madison, Wisconsin, is supposed to be pretty good, but I think AA is up there.
       —Eric Goldberg    Jun. 17 '04 - 12:34PM    #
  5. JS,

    think you missed Scott’s point.

    ;-)
       —Mark    Jun. 17 '04 - 02:09PM    #
  6. I got his point. I just agree with the statement that there are about a dozen truly good restaurants in the city. For reasons I stated above.
       —js    Jun. 18 '04 - 06:10AM    #
  7. I, too, can agree that there are probably only about a dozen “good” restaurants in Ann Arbor (and yes, I’m also a poor vegetarian).

    But. Let’s please keep this in ArborUpdate land and not AAiO land. I’m going to go one further on Eric’s statement and say that Ann Arbor is pretty good, restaurant-wise, for a city of its size, midwest or otherwise. Granted, I don’t know much about the SE quarter of the country, which may host dozens of small cities with good vegetarian fare, but I think Ann Arbor is still near the top of the list. You just can’t compare it to NYC or San Francisco, and it’s silly to try.
       —Murph    Jun. 18 '04 - 07:36AM    #
  8. Mr. Spot’s
    Big Ten Burrito
    Jimmy John’s
    Jerusalem Garden
    Taco Bell
    The Brown Jug
    Amers
    Potbelly
    Einstein Bros

    That’s all I’ve got…
       —T.J.    Jun. 18 '04 - 10:49AM    #
  9. Egads, T.J., no wonder we disagree on everything! You have terrible taste! ;)

    Of T.J.’s, I would second Jerusalem Garden and maybe Amer’s; I’d add:

    Kabob Palace
    Earthen Jar
    Red Hot Lovers (great tempeh burger)
    Raja Rani
    Macaroni Grill (chain, yes, but good custom pasta)
    Seva
    Rendezvous
    Mongolian BBQ (chain, veggie-friendly)
       —Eric    Jun. 18 '04 - 11:08AM    #
  10. Never made it to Kebab Palace.

    I lived on S Division two doors down from Raja Rani and that’s why I hated it. Let me paint a scene for you… First month of school, dumped by my then-fiance, given Mono as a going away present, sick as a dog, EXCRUCIATING sore throat, no energy, no internet access, no air conditioning (so I had to leave the window open 24/7), no money, in a filthy apartment in a filthy house filled with people I didn’t know, and all of this occurred on Sept 9th 2001. You might remember what happened two days later.

    So there I am, in absolute MISERY, and the only thing on TV is continuing coverage of 9/11. No sports, no MTV, no nothing. Just me, sick as a dog, lacking the energy to read for class, and the awful smell of Raja Rani wafting into my room 24/7.

    I think you can understand why I could never eat at Raja Rani…

    Macaroni Grill is crap. Across the street, right next to Olive Garden is a place called Mediterrano. Janelle has a bit more money than I do, and we went there for our one year anniversary. Expensive as hell, but it was tasty!

    Mongolian is great.

    Said fiance was a vegetarian and loved Seva, so I did my best to avoid that place as much as possible. That and the food sucked.
       —T.J.    Jun. 18 '04 - 11:59AM    #
  11. all of you are fools…you have all forgot zingerman’s (he says mouth watering at the thought)...it has veggie options…

    oy to the world,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 18 '04 - 12:07PM    #
  12. Wow.

    I knew I was forgetting something, but I didn’t know that it was going to be so significant.

    Yes, Zingermans. Easily the best thing in Ann Arbor, quite possibly the best restaurant in the midwest.

    If only it were cheaper and could be franchised nationwide while still maintaining that same quality…

    That said, I saw the Zingerman’s guide to good eating or whatever it’s called at Barnes and Noble at the Coronado Mall here in Albuquerque the other day. Made my mouth water.

    Ari, you may be a horrible son of a bitch, but you have good taste in deli food. Damn.

    My kingdom for a Zingermans Georgia Ruben with a garlic pickle and a bag of salt and vinegar chips…
       —T.J.    Jun. 18 '04 - 01:00PM    #
  13. There’s an Onion article (now, sadly, languishing in the pay-only archives) titled “Area Mom Could Have Made Same Meal At Home For Much Cheaper” which rather neatly sums up how this vegetarian views Seva… the last time we went there, which was luckily on a gift certificate we won, I believe I spent rather too much time explaining to my bored husband exactly how this dish or that dish could be made at home and we could start college funds for any future children on the money saved. I will, however, always treasure the memory of my rather bewildered brother ordering pancakes for dinner there.

    There’s Blimpy Burger, too… not exactly a good place for the fastidious, but the only place in town that I know of for a deep-fried veggieburger. Prickly Pear is one of those way-over-five-dollar Main Street places, but has very good Southwestern food…And it’s been some time, but I confess I still miss Hinodae.
       —Liana    Jun. 18 '04 - 01:47PM    #
  14. I like Seva ….. I’ll duck while everyone throws rotten vegetables at me. It is way, way overpriced, though.

    Still haven’t been to Zingerman’s and I’ve lived here almost a year now. I’ll duck again.

    I like Mongolian a lot. Bandito’s is pretty darn good. Tios isn’t bad, either.

    There are a lot of good ones I hadn’t heard/thought of just in the lists in this thread. For a town its size, I think AA has a lot of good eat-out options.
       —Frank    Jun. 19 '04 - 08:15AM    #
  15. Breakfast:
    Doughboys – Bakery
    The Northside
    Angello’s

    Cheap Eats:
    Sabor Latino
    Jew Garden
    Quiznos ( best chain sandwich )
    University Cafe
    Blimpy Burger

    Qdoba – A chain, and from what I have been told, owned by the same people as Starbucks. However I can’t complain about a company that charges five bucks for a burrito the size of your head made with fresh veggies.

    Bar/Grill:
    Arbor Brewery
    Casey’s
    Old Town

    Dinner:
    Shalimar
    Seva
    The Earle
    Argeiro’s
       —Kat    Jun. 19 '04 - 10:43AM    #
  16. Knights Resturant ‘review’

    I live the place.
       —Mark    Jun. 19 '04 - 03:13PM    #
  17. Don’t forget Mysoor Woodland, by the Farmer’s Market. They opened a store in Toledo too…mmmmmmm.
       —Ellen    Jun. 21 '04 - 09:41AM    #