You don’t need me to tell you how great the sandwiches at Zingerman’s are. They have plenty of well-deserved fame and attention on their own. In case you’re living under a rock, President Obama stopped by and ordered a classic Reuben while he was in town. ‘Nuff said.
Given the overwhelming layout and endless options of Ann Arbor’s favorite deli, it can be a tough to bring yourself to stray from your go-to sandwich order and try, well, anything else.
The atmosphere can also be overwhelming. I have said that walking into Zingerman’s feels like walking into a food-themed amusement park. Delicious, but exhausting. When you need a little extra help (to prevent you from ordering that seriously heavenly reuben, again), follow this handy guide for what to buy and what to avoid:
BUY: Salads, Soups, Sides
All the stuff in that glass case looks incredible but where to even begin? Luckily Zingerman’s is really great about letting you sample everything. The selection changes constantly depending on what’s in season — so don’t go expecting the same culinary experience every time. In the winter they import ingredients like pesto from Italy, while in the summer they try to use as many locally grown, in-season items as possible. Start planning for lots of fresh, spring-y salads.
BUY: Baked Goods and Gelato
Ah, the good stuff. These are definitely worth the splurge. Fresh baked cookies, cakes, pies, you name it, they’ve got it! I was able to sample a key lime pie and only wished I had left room in my stomach and money in my wallet to get some. I’ll definitely be back for more in the future. As for the gelato that costs $1.99 for a portion the size of a salad dressing container, I’ll try to limit these purchases for the sake of my wallet.
SKIP: Fancy Cheeses, Meats, Breads
Housed inside one little building are more types of cheese and fresh cuts of meat than you’ll know what to do with. As tempting as all of these items seem, you probably won’t have a real use for them as a college student, unless you’re hosting a cocktail hour (in which case, give your fancy ass self a pat on the back). Indulge in Zingerman’s love for free samples but let’s be real. You wont finish that entire loaf of bread before it gets stale.
SKIP: Oils, jams, spreads
While I definitely could live off truffle salt olive oil or home made jams, again, you probably don’t need these things. Ask your parents to bring a bottle of your fave item home next time they’re visiting.
Side note for the sake of humanity: Zingerman’s has superb customer service. They accidentally messed up my order and not only offered me a refund, but also a coupon for next time!