Ann Arbor’s best restaurants serve up their menus to enjoy at home
With restaurants only partially open during this time of COVID-19, all establishments, even upscale, high-end places, have modified their offerings for pickup and delivery. But at double or triple the cost of more traditional takeout, like pizza, is upscale or otherwise unconventional to-go food worth it? Absolutely, say local diners.
“During this time when there’s a lot of uncertainty and general sadness about the state of everything, I’ve found that indulging in fancy takeout is a form of self-care,” said Tiffany Walther, Ann Arbor. “It’s something to look forward to at the end of the night when the kids are in bed, and is just a nice way to treat ourselves for navigating yet another pandemic-filled day.”
Ann Arborite Susan Zink agrees. “Early on in the pandemic, we decided to make Saturday night ‘date night’ so we’d have something on the calendar to look forward to while everything else was getting canceled,” said Zink. “So far, all of the higher-end restaurants have done a great job with packaging considering this was thrown on them with no notice and most everything has traveled well.”
Abby Olitzky, who owns the restaurant Spencer with her husband Steve Hall, says they miss talking to customers, plating and tasting wine, but are finding solutions in the switch to serving only takeout items. “We are faced with new challenges: how to convey how a bottle tastes, how to make sure our food travels well, how to make cooking at home fun with our pantry section,” said Olitzky. “And in a larger scope, how to make a restaurant a safe and viable option as a place of work and for its community at large. It’s a lot to tackle. It’s hard not to daydream of times past, or think too far in the future. It’s a lesson in staying present.”
Spencer fan and Ann Arborite Rachel Ufer appreciates Olitzky and Hall’s efforts. “Eating a meal from Spencer feels special, almost like a normal, happy occasion and I’m so grateful for all they are doing for their customers, as well as keeping all their employees,” said Ufer. “Abby and Steve acted so quickly when the pandemic hit and switched to delicious takeout at a time that is so hard for these restaurants to stay afloat. I hope they can continue to successfully serve our community and stay with us until the pandemic passes.”
Here are a few of the local high-end restaurants that are currently doing take-out. If we missed any of your favorites, feel free to email and let us know at [email protected]
The Black Pearl
Black Pearl’s signature Deconstructed Fish Tacos are available for $3 off every carryout order on Tuesdays.
302 South Main Street, Ann Arbor. 734-222-0400. blackpearlannarbor.com. I Hours: 5-11pm, Sunday-Wednesday; 5pm-12am, Thursday; 4pm-12am, Friday-Saturday
The Blue LLama Jazz Club
Blue LLama offers Family Dining for Two or Four from Blue LLama Express or its Latin-inspired Jibarito pop-up. Each contains a main entree, 2-3 sides, and a dessert to share. The regular menu and cocktails are also available to go.
314 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. 734-372-3200. bluellamaclub.com. I Hours (Delivery & Carryout): 5-10 pm, Monday- Thursday; 3-11 pm, Friday-Saturday; and 3-9 pm, Sunday
The Chop House
Open for dining, carryout, or delivery, The Chop House offers its prime steaks and signature desserts. And as a Main Street Venture restaurant, The Chop House offers a virtual Cook-At-Home Adventure. The “Chef Experience Package Steak Edition” includes a link to an instructional video, two secret signature cocktails, all the ingredients for a three-course dinner for two, and a bottle of wine.
322 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor. 734-669-8826. thechophouseannarbor.com. I Hours: 5-10pm, Monday-Thursday; 5-11pm, Friday; 4-11pm, Saturday; 4-9pm, Sunday
Specializing in Italian and French cuisine, The Earle offers its menu items for curbside pickup Tuesday through Saturday.
121 W. Washington, Ann Arbor. 734-994-0211. theearle.com. I Hours: 5-9pm, Tuesday-Thursday; 5-10pm, Friday-Saturday
The Gandy Dancer is offering several Family Meals that serve four people, including Fish N Chips, Maryland Style Crab Cakes, Cedar Roasted Salmon, Crab Stuffed Salmon, and Shrimp & Artichoke Pasta. Each comes with a choice of salads and freshly baked bread. Regular menu items are also available for takeout or delivery.
Image courtesy of Theresa Frasca.
401 Depot Street, Ann Arbor. 734-769-0592. muer.com/gandy-dancer. I Hours: 11:30am-9pm, daily
5827 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor. 734-263-2543. lalasannarbor.com. I Hours: 5-10pm, Friday; 10am-3pm and 5-10pm, Saturday; 10am-3pm, Sunday
The restaurant’s full menu is available for carryout, including many dishes featuring the restaurant’s signature Metamorphosis Olive Oil.
2900 South State St., Ann Arbor. 734-332-9700. mediterrano.com. I Hours: 11am-9pm, Tuesday-Thursday; 11am-10pm, Friday; 12-10pm, Saturday; 4-8pm, Sunday
The Northside Grill
A popular breakfast spot, The Northside Grill offers its menus for breakfast and lunch for takeout, including a variety of burgers, pancakes, skillets, sandwiches, and seasonal specials
1015 Broadway, Ann Arbor. 734-995-0965. northsidegrill.com. I Hours: 7am-3pm, every day
Walther has frequented the restaurant for years and has been delighted by how well its meals travel for takeout. “Pacific Rim knows what works and they stick with it, and because of that they have built up a regular customer base,” said Walther. “So I know my favorite menu items are always there and will always be there, and I take great comfort in that.” The restaurant added several rice bowls, optimal for carryout, and cocktails to-go to their takeout menu, in addition to their regular menu. And, yes, its famous Japanese-style sablefish is available for takeout
114 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor. 734-662-9303. pacificrimbykana.com. I Hours: 5:30-9:30pm, Monday-Thursday; 5:30-10:30pm, Friday-Saturday; 5-9pm, Sunday
In addition to serving up its menu for carryout, Palio (as another Main Street Venture restaurant) now also offers a virtual Cook-At-Home Adventure with Palio Ann Arbor. The Chef Experience Package includes a link to an instructional video, two secret signature cocktails, the ingredients to cook a three course meal for two, and one bottle of wine.
347 S. Main Street. 734-930-6156. palioannarbor.com. I Hours: 5-9pm, Monday-Thursday; 4-10pm, Friday-Saturday; 4-9pm, Sunday
Real Seafood Co.
Another Main Street Venture restaurant, this seafood spot offers its menu for takeout or delivery, as well as special packages including the recent “Clam Bake for 2 To-Go Special.” For $99, the package includes two whole lobsters, mussels, clams, chorizo sausage, redskin potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, and a six-pack of beer.
341 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor. 734-769-7738. realseafoodcorestaurant.com. I Hours: 4-9pm, Monday-Thursday; 12pm-10pm, Friday; 1-10pm, Saturday; 1-9pm, Sunday
Spencer posts its dinner menu at 3pm each day and starts taking phone orders at 3:30pm for pickup or delivery orders, which start at 4pm. The menu features creative small plates with fresh produce sourced from local farms. Spencer also offers an online wine shop and will be open for retail hours for customers to browse wine in-person. Owner Abby Olitzky says Spencer is also planning to offer some Zoom classes/kits for the fall.
113 East Liberty, Ann Arbor. 734-369-3979. spencerannarbor.com. I Hours: Call for dinner orders beginning at 3:30pm, Thursday-Monday. Pickup/delivery starting at 4pm
Taste Kitchen offers a Taste At Home a la carte curbside pick-up for parties of 1 to 10. In addition, the restaurant is hosting Banh Mi by Taste Kitchen, which serves fresh bread Vietnamse sandwiches filled with savory ingredients. Available 11:30am-5pm for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday.
521 E Liberty St., Ann Arbor. 734-369-4241. exploretock.com/tastekitchen. I Hours: 5-9pm, Tuesday-Sunday
The restaurant’s new chef, and James Beard Award recipient, Alex Young, has developed a new brunch and dinner menu, all available for takeout
110 S Main St, Ann Arbor. 734-222-9841. vinologya2.com. I Hours: 4-9pm, Wednesday; 4-10pm, Thursday-Friday; 4-11pm; 11am-8pm (brunch and dinner), Sunday
West End Grill
The West End Grill is open every evening and serves up its full menu for carryout or curbside pickup.
120 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor. 734-747-6260. westendgrillannarbor.com. I Hours: 5-9:30pm, every day
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, which aims to serve “really good American food,” offers its full breakfast-lunch-or-dinner menu for delivery or takeout. Swing by the Roadshow, a vintage trailer, for coffee or pastries, or order any item from the Roadhouse menu.
2501 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor. 734-663-3663. toasttab.com/zingermanss-roadhouse I Hours: 8am–9pm, Monday-Friday; 9am-9pm, Saturday-Sunday
In addition to its popular brunch items and its regular menu, Zola Bistro is offering several pre fixe meals it’s calling “Curated Carryout.” A recent Whole Fish Pre Fixe included an antipasto starter, rocket arugula salad, whole fish entrée, couscous salad, and raspberry mousse.
Zola Bistro, 3030 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor. 734-477-8088. bistrozola.com I Hours: 10am-9pm, Monday-Friday; 9am–9pm, Saturday-Sunday