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Anything good near Briarwood Mall? (Ann Arbor)

I'm making the 4 hour trek to Ann Arbor for a day of shopping with a friend. She is quite health conscious and loves ethnic food. Even though we are now talking about Biercamp ;), and I SO want to make a stop there, I am in need of a different option for lunch, as sausage & smoked meats aren't her thing. We probably won't be straying far from Briarwood Mall area. I checked out Mediterrano, but I just can't bring myself to spend $10 on a falafel or shawarma sandwich! Something quick, cheap, fresh, and tasty would be perfect. Thanks!

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  1. You might check out Zingerman's Bakehouse. They're south of I-94 in a no-atmosphere industrial park. Kind of like a Zingerman's lite - limited menu, less expensive. Pre-made sandwiches & salads, variety of baked goods, daily specials, plus you can watch them make bread. Cons: counter service only, limited amount of seating iirc; and you'll probably spend more than you intend when you smell whatever they're baking.

    www.zingermansbakehouse.com

    1 Reply
    1. oh man, there's SO much more shopping to do in Ann Arbor outside of Briarwood, and it opens up a multitude of restaurants if you go downtown. If you are set on mall only, then Zingerman's bakehouse is a good call.

      Seoul Garden is in the area and does some really good lunch specials if you're in the mood for Korean. In the Colonnade, (down the street from the mall), there are 3 places you could try: Bella Italia does nice NY style thin crust pizza; Paradise, an ok Chinese joint that has some nice Vietnamese offerings; and La Zamaan cafe, which gets good ratings for middle eastern food.

      There's really a dearth of options out by the mall. I work in the area and it's a struggle figuring out where to get food. Hopefully the options I've listed will help. Oh, a word of caution -- have heard bad things about Passport Lounge, so even though its in the area, I'd stay away.

      10 Replies
      1. re: charlesbois

        Re:shopping- I know, but she's a mall shopper. It's fine with me, I get to the Detroit metro area more often than she does, and I now have family in Ann Arbor, so I'll have time to explore on other trips. Thank you for the short list, though. She is from New Jersey, so Bella Italia might be of interest to her. I wish I could take her to Supino's! Will definitely keep Zingerman's in mind, too. Thanks!

        1. re: tokyo

          Good Korean: Seoul Garden (Boardwalk off Eisenhower E of State), Arirang (Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. S of I-94. Agreed on Charlesbois's suggestions—also try pasta lunch specials at Bella Italia. Decent Thai from a chain supposedly based in Bangkok: Lotus Thai on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. S of I-04.

            1. re: Jim M

              Being the mother of teenagers I find myself in the mall more often than I would like to be, and would like to share a little gem of a restaurant actually inside the mall itself. It's called "Sushi Cafe" and they have the usual suspects of mall Asian food like chicken teriyaki, but they also have more authentic Japanese food like seaweed salad and squid. And their sushi was great when I had it. And every time I am there, I notice I am the only "gringo" in the place, surrounded by Japanese people. There was even a group of Japanese businessmen dining there the last time I was there - they all had suits on and were talking in Japanese. They seem to have driven TO THE MALL to have their business lunch from somewhere - maybe from the Toyota Technical Center? My only gripe with the place is that they serve everything on styrofoam and I feel like I have to buy carbon offset credits to atone for all the trash I generate by eating there. Now I am no Japnese food expert and I feel like I am going out on a limb suggesting this place to someone whose Chowhound handle is "Tokyo" but if you do check it out, please let me know your thoughts.

              1. re: momskitchen

                Thanks, mk. No worries- my handle is misleading. :)

                1. re: momskitchen

                  The owners are Korean, and that may well have been the language you heard—local Koreans patronize the place. I wouldn't call it great, but it's cheap and satisfying, and in the mall itself it's a good choice.

                  1. re: Jim M

                    Definitely Japanese businessmen that I saw there - not Korean, even if the owners may be so. (I work in the auto industry, so I can tell). But Koreans may go there too. I am not disputing that.

            2. re: charlesbois

              charlesbois- I stopped at Zamaan Cafe during another trip to AA and thought it was great. The falafel was especially good. This will be a go-to for me when I'm in that area again. Thanks for the tip.

              1. re: tokyo

                oh hey, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I got some carryout there the other day and was underwhelmed, mostly because the service was lacking, and not for any food issues. It was a slow day and the cook and front of house staff were loudly chitchatting through the passthrough window, and kind of forgot about my order. But those things happen. The food though was stone cold by the time I got it home. I'm guessing it's better for an eat-in place.

                1. re: charlesbois

                  Staff is uneven at that place (and at the one on Plymouth), but the food can be very good. When they really hit on all cylinders it's the best in town.

            3. Some food ideas nearby :
              Whole Foods (Cranbrook)
              990 W. Eisenhower Parkway
              Phone 734.997.7500

              Marks Midtown Coney
              3672 State St.
              (734) 747-6707

              Bagger Dave's
              859 West Eisenhower Parkway
              (734) 994-3283

              I'm impressed that you can stand spending the day at Briarwood!
              They do have a Chipotle in the mall.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

                Well, you should see where I live. :) People drive from miles around to come to Wal Mart.

              2. Mediterrano at State and Eisenhower has a nice lunch menu and and relaxing, non-mall, non chain ambiance-had great lamb burger sliders and for $10, it was a good deal.

                1. Thanks everyone! When we arrived at my brother-in-law's last night, there was a pizza and bruschetta from Bella Italia waiting for us. I had gotten excited about Zingerman's, so we stopped at the Bakehouse this morning and picked up some goodies. For lunch, I managed to sneak out of the mall while my friend continued shopping - went to Biercamp, ha! So, all in all, we did quite well for such a quick trip and very little extra driving! :) Thanks again.