1.) The Blue Nile
Owner Habte Dadi and Alma Lessanework created an authentic Ethiopian experience at their restaurant. Along with food served on a traditional platter and eaten with hands, Ethiopian art adorns the walls and the service replicates the culture’s hospitality and reverence for customers.
221 East Washington Street, Ann Arbor
Robert Campbell manages this restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor that serves quintessential Caribbean dishes, including specialties from Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago and the Bahamas. Everything is made from scratch. Customers love their Jerk chicken, plantains and coconut shrimp.
314 South Thayer, Ann Arbor
Need a healthy meal while still making it delicious? This unique restaurant offers salads, healthy wraps, soups, sides, and desserts. Their slogan is: “You are what you drink.” Fun names for many of their healthy options like “Kale-yeah!,” which contains kale, spinach, and various fruits; “Beet-it!,” which contains beets, carrots, and oranges. Shots of wheatgrass are available, along with Italian, Southwest, Asian, and other styles of salads.
1816 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti
This business is largely about inclusivity and accessibility. The owners started this business by home-brewing, and it grew from there. The “734” is meant to identify the area code of the Ann Arbor and Ypsi area. Their motto is “Ypsi born, Ypsi brewed.” They also wanted to demystify crafter and any pretension it may have associated with it. Additionally, because the craft beer industry is predominately white male, they are reportedly trying to also appeal to women, people of color and older people. One of the part owners of 734 is African American.
15 East Cross Street, Ypsilanti
Cuppy’s is one of the few soul food restaurants in the area. Their saying is: “Cooking just like Momma use to do…With the secret ingredient, Love.” This business began in a residence and moved to their larger current restaurant as demand grew. Some of their favorites are catfish sandwiches, gumbo and fried green tomatoes.
2469 Washtenaw Ave, Ypsilanti
Donna Marie Iadipaolo is a writer, journalist, and State of Michigan certified teacher, since 1990. She has written for national publications like The Village Voice, Ear Magazine of New Music, Insurance & Technology, and TheStreet.
She is now writing locally for many publications, including Current Magazine, Ann Arbor Family, and the Ann Arbor Independent. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she graduated with an honors bachelor’s degree and three teacher certificate majors: mathematics, social sciences, English. She also earned three graduate degrees in Master of Science, Master of Arts, and Education Specialist Degree.