Food & Drink

Quick, Enjoy These Ann Arbor Restaurants While the Students Are Gone

Published On 07/28/2016 Published On 07/28/2016


812 Monroe St

Hot summer nights are best spent at this Ann Arbor staple, preferably on the patio. Whether you sip on its signature sangria from a Mason jar, or prefer the aptly named, secret-recipe Constant Buzz sangria, this seasonal favorite never disappoints, and perennially reminds students know spring has arrived. Drinks are clearly more popular here than food, but it’s always a good idea to grab some grub with your alcohol; luckily, Dominick’s has Italian favorites like thin-crust pizza, pasta, and bar-favorite snacks like cheesy pizza bread. Seating can be hard to come by here, even in the offseason, so go early to guarantee your spot.

Erik Smith


338 South State St.

Beer. That’s what everyone orders at Ashley’s. What kind of beer is the question, because dozens of beers are on tap daily, and even more are available in a bottle. Whether you’re a fan of IPAs, stouts, or even cider, you’ll find it at Ashley’s. Many of the available beers come from Michigan, and of course, Bell’s brews are a given. The food isn’t what draws patrons in, but it’s no ordinary bar food, either. Sure, you’ll find old favorites like chicken wings, but there are also healthy wraps, hearty BBQ ribs, and the perennial Canadian favorite, poutine, with plenty of gravy and cheese curds. Outdoor seating is limited, but if you can grab one of the few tables along State St, you’re guaranteed premium people-watching.

Tios Mexican Café

401 E. Liberty

If Mt. Nacheesmo is good enough for Man v. Food, it’s certainly good enough for… well, that’s hard to say. It’s not like Guy Fieri showed up or anything. Anyway, it’s a ton of nachos -- 5lbs, if you want specifics. It can feed several people, or just one, if you’re up for the challenge, and have the confidence to eat all of them in less than 45 minutes. The prize? Those nachos you just ate are free, plus you get a T-shirt, and they'll put a picture of you poised in front of your finished plate on the wall. There’s also normal Mexican food like tortas, burritos, enchiladas, and amazingly fresh guacamole (that they make fresh for you tableside) if you need a meal of more than just chips.

Sarah Fennel

Good Time Charley's

1140 S University Ave

A campus favorite for decades, Good Time Charley's is where many a University of Michigan student has taken their first legal drink (and plenty of illegal ones, too). There are lots of food choices here, but the drinks are what really shine, as is the case with many places students frequent. Beyond the normal beer and cocktails, there’s a "shooter menu" with shots like Chocolate Milk, Scooby Snack, and Sweaty Lumberjack. If that’s not enough, you can also opt for any cocktail or iced tea served in a 64oz Mason jar known as a "fishbowl." While the kids are away...

Fleetwood Diner

300 S Ashley St

It’s hard to find a diner more authentic than the Fleetwood -- especially one that serves such perfect hangover food. You’ll think you’ve traveled back in time with one look at the striped awning or retro building. The Hippie Hash, composed of hash browns, grilled vegetables, and feta cheese with eggs served any way you like 'em, is the ideal medicine after a night of pub crawling in Ann Arbor. The other dishes on offer hardly scream gourmet, but they’ll do in a pinch, too -- omelets, corned beef, greasy bacon… you get the idea. One of the best things about the Fleetwood is its 24/7 availability, so you can get that Hippie Hash whenever your stomach demands it.

BTB Cantina

BTB Cantina

1140 S University Ave

Cheap Mexican food, happy-hour deals, and Taco Tuesdays -- of course college students like BTB Cantina. The fact that it’s close to campus helps plenty of hungry students, too; it’s right above Good Time Charley’s. Burritos and tacos are equally revered here, especially with the endless selection of sauces to go with them, plus ingredients that are always super-fresh -- and fairly good prices for the quality. It’s hard to go wrong no matter which Mexican specialty you choose. You’ll find a DJ here on the weekends, and Fridays feature an all-you-can-eat nacho bar, if that’s your kind of thing.

Angelo's Restaurant

1100 E. Catherine

There’s a chance Angelo’s will have a line out the door when you arrive, even without school in session, but the wait will be worth it. It only serves breakfast and lunch, none of it particularly fancy, but all of it good, especially the French toast and the raisin bread. If you don’t have a lot of time and the line’s too long, check out Angelo’s on the Side, on the, yes, side of the building. You’ll find caffeine sources plus some to-go food, including fresh breads and pastries from Dexter Bakery.

Pizza House

Pizza House

618 Church St

There’s no doubt that neighboring Detroit has the best chewy, buttery, cheesy deep-dish pizza. But if you don’t feel like driving the hour it takes to get there, visit Pizza House instead. Thanks to multiple levels of seating and a generous outdoor patio, there’s hardly ever a wait here. No worries if pizza’s not your thing (but also, maybe see a doctor?); you’ll also find huge salads, multiple varieties of breadsticks, and veggie-filled chapatis on the menu. One caveat: if you don’t like the Wolverines, you probably won’t like the décor here (and why are you even in Ann Arbor?).

Courtesy of the Brown Jug

The Brown Jug

1204 S University Ave

Named for a trophy awarded to the winner of the Michigan-Minnesota football game, The Brown Jug has been around since the 1930s. The menu has nearly every type of pub food imaginable, and so many different varieties that you’ll probably never try everything: burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts all have their own large menu real estate. Of course, if you’re a football fan, it might be even harder to choose, since the items named after UM legends like Tom Brady’s Gyro Sandwich and Charles Woodson’s Stacked Ham. Being a restaurant near a college campus practically requires a substantial drink menu, and the Jug has that too, with cocktails, beer, and shots at the ready. The outdoor patio is where all of this is best experienced, and there are plenty of tables to go around.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Dominick's 812 Monroe St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Ann Arborites know the drill: on the Monday after University of Michigan students return from spring break, Dominick's is officially open for business, and a trip to the locally famous outdoor patio is nigh. Once there, an order of their sangria -- which many hail as the best in Ann Arbor -- is inevitable, as is something from their extensive pasta and pizza menu. The place can get crowded (there are regular lines), and a great time to visit is when local students clear out for the summer.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Ashley's Restaurant & Pub 338 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Few college bars boast the kind of beer cred this clubby Ann Arbor joint does, whose menu includes German and Belgian ales, Pacific Northwest representation, and, of course, hometown favorites like Founders and New Holland on its 70+ local and international taps. The appetizers and entree-size bites equally impress, with picks like bacon, cheddar, and chive fries, poutine, and a popular Build-Your-Own-Burger option.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Tios Mexican Cafe 401 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Most out-of-towners know this Mexican spot through the Food Network's Man v. Food episode in which the host attempts to down the downtown restaurant's famous 5-lb plate of nachos, dubbed the "Mount Nacheesmo." But regular customers know their moderately-portioned courses are just as inhale-able. Most famous is their wet burrito, a tortilla receptacle bursting with refried beans, Spanish rice, cheese, tomato and onion, and doused in ranchera sauce and melted cheese. Even if you're full, try also an order of the human-size Nachos Grande, which comes with a dollop of their addictively thick and creamy sour cream.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Good Time Charley's 1140 S University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

A bar popular among students, Good Time Charley's list of bestselling orders is true to its demographic, and includes bombs, fishbowls, and something titled "The Ultimate Shooter List," which bullet-points dozens of spicy, fruity, and creamy liquor-infused shooters you can order. Fortunately, a greasy pub menu also stands at the ready to cushion your hangover, full of grilled and greasy bar classics like spinach artichoke dip, fish tacos, and more elaborate orders like pulled pork.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Fleetwood Diner 300 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

This downtown Ann Arbor is a 24/7 staple often packed with students ordering the restaurant's signature Hippie Hash, a vegetarian course made with grilled green peppers, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and hash browns. And though the striped red awning might point to classic diner offerings, other vegan and non-meat options are plentifully available, like the tempeh hash or onion and tomato omelet.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. BTB Cantina 1140 S University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Started by two college students, BTB Cantina is a counter-service restaurant that services price-sensitive students as well as diners scavenging for a quick bite. The burritos make a large part of the default orders here, as does the deep-fried grilled chicken chimichanga served with guacamole, salsa, and an extra helping of cheese. It's a substantial carbo load to support students through late night study sessions, or through an evening sipping on margaritas at the bar.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Angelo's Restaurant 1100 Catherine St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Located in southern Michigan, Angelo's clearly projects every element one expects of a diner: unpretentious, heart-lifting food that can be shared, a casual, worn-in ambiance, and inexpensive prices. As expected, breakfast and lunch, particularly, the midwestern renditions of the two meals, are highlights here. Recommended is an order of the plain or raising bread, which is baked daily, and an order of their skillet breakfast with perfectly cooked eggs and crispy bacon.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Pizza House 618 Church St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Walking into this pizza restaurant, you'll notice that the wooden tables are large, and that's for a reason: the signature dish here is the cheesy, chewy, deep-dish pizza, which comes to your table with a satisfying thud. To produce these crusty dream-makers, the restaurant is furnished with 9 deck ovens and the biggest double conveyor oven on the market. And because everyone loves pizza, the spacious seating area is spread across multiple levels, and an outdoor patio.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. The Brown Jug/Backroom Pizza 1204 S University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Named after the Michigan v. Minnesota trophy (the oldest in college football), this Ann Arbor staple/campus pub is a favorite of locals and UM students alike. Since 1938, The Brown Jug has been offering great, cheap Greek food. In conjunction with it is Backroom Pizza, a small eatery toting cheap slices.