Ann Arbor is the kind of city that locals love to keep weird. With its own fairy lore, a local restaurant chain that covers just about every area of gourmet food, and independent businesses and publications to spare, Ann Arbor has a flavor all its own and celebrates it. And of course, it’s the locally owned, independent side of Ann Arbor that you’ll want to explore when you visit. The whole point is to experience something you can’t find at home. When looking for a place to stop for dinner in Ann Arbor during your trip, consider some of these popular independent restaurants.


When it comes to Zingerman’s, the question is less why and more which one? Zingerman’s started with Zingerman’s Delicatessen in 1982, serving traditional European-Jewish sandwiches and other offerings. Over time, however, it crew. Zingerman’s Bakery and Zingerman’s Creamery opened next, followed by Zingerman’s Roadhouse, the second full restaurant serving more traditional American food. Today, there’s also Zingerman’s Coffee Co., Zingerman’s Candy Manufacturing, and Zingerman’s Catering and Events. There’s even Zingerman’s Mail Order, where you can order gift baskets from anywhere in the country. Employing over 500, Zingerman’s is the ultimate Ann Arbor independent restaurant.


Amadeus Restaurant offers “a taste of Europe,” particularly Central Europe. The owner, Pawel Strozynski, comes from a polish family with a lineage in the restaurant business. Polish, Austrian, and Hungarian inspiration can certainly be found in their food. He also cites his father’s culinary training in France and his own travels throughout Europe as influences that created Amadeus. The restaurant is located downtown, with a warm ambiance, hearty dishes for lunch, dinner, and dessert, and live music that plays on the weekends. Try the Goulash or Budapest Pancakes, and for dessert, Polish Poppyseed Cake.

Fleetwood Diner

With an old-school checkered diner feel, Fleetwood Diner is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. They have one location in Lansing and one in Ann Arbor but remain charmingly local in their ambiance as well as their classic diner menu. In Ann Arbor, you can try the Hippie Hash, with layers of hash browns, peppers, onions and mushrooms. This diner offers vegetarian options, but meat lovers need not feel left out. There’s also the meaty hippie hash, with a base of delicious corned beef hash. And of course, their omelets are all excellent choices. After a night of hitting the local bars, this is a great 24-hour spot where you can have your starch needs met.

Ann Arbor is full of colorful independent businesses, whether they’re restaurants, bars, or lodging. Check back on our blog for more information on other Ann Arbor businesses. When it comes to lodging in Ann Arbor, however, the answer is University Inn. Conveniently located near the University of Michigan campus and favorite retail spots, we even offer a 10% discount to parents and students visiting the college, as well as parents of UM or Eastern Michigan University athletes. However, this deal only counts if you book direct with us. Contact us today for more information.

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