By WAYNE NEWTON, Special to QMI Agency
Bob Seger got it right when he sang about Ann Arbor more than 30 years ago.
His song Mainstreet still captures the feel of the Michigan college town’s downtown, although pool halls and department stores have now given way to a staggering number of restaurants, brew pubs, concert halls and quirky stores such as Vault of Midnight selling graphic novels or Cherry Republic with nothing but products made from Michigan cherries.
A short walk from Main St., the Kerrytown District offers a farmers market which morphs into a German-style Christmas market called KindleFest once a year. The same neighbourhood boasts Zingerman’s, a Jewish deli where one of the owners has written a book about the quest for perfect bacon and created a business empire which now embraces everything from artisan cheese to coffee and chocolate.
The downtown is always alive, bolstered by 40,000 University of Michigan students who, when they’re not in class or at a football game at the 114,000-seat Big House, can be found in one of Ann Arbor’s many brew pubs, Internet tea shops or restaurants.
While the south end of the city boasts a giant American-style shopping mall complete with the requisite Macy’s and JCPenney, it’s the downtown where locals come to dine – eating out is almost a civic duty here – or be entertained by live shows at The Ark, the Comedy Showcase or an art cinema called the Michigan.
Ann Arbor takes dining to a crazy, unexpected level. From Polish-inspired Amadeus to the Blue Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant where cutlery gives way to eating with your hands using a traditional bread called injera and Frita Batidos, a Cuban restaurant which owner and chef Eve Aronoff opened when she returned to Michigan from Miami.
A brew pub to note is Grizzly Peak Brewing Company, which tempts passersby with a view of its copper-topped brew kettle from the sidewalk and head brewer Duncan Williams offers hand-crafted drafts such as one called Pure Michigan IPA, which uses only hops and barley grown in the state. Patrons looking for an education can order a flight or samples of all the eight or nine beers offered for about $11.
Shop. Eat. Raise a glass of good cheer. Pure Michigan awaits, a 45-minute drive over the Detroit-Windsor, Ont. border crossing.
For more: annarbor.org
This story was posted on Sat, December 8, 2012
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