When someone mentions “sandwich” and “Ann Arbor” in the same sentence, chances are Zingerman’s is the first name you’ll hear. To be honest, Zingerman’s has earned that claim. Their sandwiches are insane, we at Spoon University have covered them extensivelyPresident Obama ate there and so did the guy on Man vs. Food. But sometimes it’s good to try new places, and Maize and Blue Deli is just the place.

Once you walk past the craze of the South University bars and Landmark, you’ll find this small deli tucked away across the street from the SAE house. On the back wall there’s a sandwich board that extends 10+ feet, featuring nearly 100 different sandwiches. It’s nicely organized, with sandwich sections of roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, smoked turkey, turkey, chicken and fish. They also have salads and sides, but let’s be real, you’re only venturing to this place to try the sandwiches.

maize and blue

Photo by Josh Stern

I’ve seen customers spend ten minutes trying to figure out what to order, and it can be extremely overwhelming. But if you want a real, authentic experience, there’s only two sandwiches you can pick from.

The first one is a #44, or Triple Play Reuben. It’s got all the classic ingredients, but has a slight twist to it. Instead of corned beef or pastrami, you get both. Instead of Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese, you get both. Sauerkraut and Russian dressing obviously factor into the equation, and it’s served on delicious rye bread.

maize and blue

Photo courtesy of travelchannel.com

The second sandwich, and in my opinion the best sandwich in Ann Arbor, is Sherry’s Chicken Cutlet, or #86. This sandwich is filled with chicken cutlet, bacon, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, lettuce, tomato and is served on challah. For a full understanding on how truly delicious this sandwich is, take a look at the picture below of six ingredients working together in perfect harmony. What more could you ask for?

maize and blue

Photo courtesy of @jkolz on Instagram

The Maize and Blue owners found so much success with their first restaurant that they decided to open up a second location on East Liberty. This location is catered to the Main Street crowd and those who work in the area. It’s much bigger, featuring a larger main floor area and a massive downstairs seating space as well.

While Maize and Blue is slower during the winter months, this place gets absolutely packed on football weekends. You could find yourself waiting up to 45 minutes for a sandwich, so make sure to call ahead so your order beats the rush. The Main Street location should help with larger crowds, but the South University location still seems to be king.

If you’re looking for a new favorite sandwich spot, especially one that features great customer service and unbeatable sandwiches, look no further than Maize and Blue. It has something for everyone, and even though it’s a little pricey ($10-12 per sandwich), it’s truly worth it.

I’ve made a habit of going to the South University location almost every Friday for the last three years, and the owners know me by name. At Zingerman’s, maybe you’ll get a pickle. At Maize and Blue, you’ll get a hug and a great sandwich. And it doesn’t get better than that.