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So, the Roadhouse is obviously a little pricey, do you folks think it's worth it? I've only eaten there once, not long after they opened. I don't recall what I had, probably a burger, but I don't remember it being anything special.

It's worth it to us, yes. Including the burgers, which I usually get with sweet potato fries (and for the Ypsi contingent, the burger and the fries both blow Sidetrack out of the water). But the specials are often truly amazing. We recently had a green chile-rubbed hanger steak that was awesome, and unlike anything I've ever tasted.

And the beef brisket and the shredded pork are some of my favorites. I would look at their online restaurant menu and check out their blue plate specials. This is a good way to try out some of their standard popular dishes, especially thursday (BBQ sampler platter).

If you like really good cheese, then their mac & cheese dishes are worth trying. If you substitute the word "pasta" instead of macaroni, then the prices seem much closer to other restaurants. But in the US we've got this idea that mac & cheese costs less than a buck because so many of us grew up eating Kraft mac and cheese, but the Roadhouse and Kraft are not really comparable. One is really high quality pasta and cheese with lots of flavor, and other other is nostalgia in a box. Two entirely different things.

Cool, thanks guys. I'll have to go back there when I'm in a2 next week.

I think the food at the Roadhouse is pretty good, but I still find the prices offensive. If I'm going to pay that much for lunch or dinner, I'd rather be in an upscale atmosphere -- Common Grill or The Earle.

Why does the Creamery cheddar have that bitter aftertaste? It really turns me on the mac and cheese there. Do I just not know what good cheese is??? Can you suggest one of high quality that does not possess this quality? Or anybody reading this? Thanks!

A food can be really high quality or created using authentic traditional methods, but that doesn't meant everyone one like it. I don't like coffee at all, for example, and it really doesn't matter how good a particular coffee is I still won't like it.

Regarding the mac & cheese... I can't make a good recommendation because I rarely eat cheese. Your best bet is to ask Zingerman's staff yourself. They will provide a free taste sample of anything, which means you can try before you buy.

I guess you have to pay a little bit more for higher quality food.

(Kitchen Chick's husband here.)

For some people, it isn't going to be worth it. For others, it is.

It's partially personal taste, and partially what you feel like at the time. As you can probably tell from this site, KC and I spend a lot of our restaurant time in relatively inexpensive ethnic places. But we also really enjoy the Roadhouse. We like the quality and taste of the food, and the competence, knowledge, and friendliness of the staff. If we don't want to spend a lot -- our restaurant habit can add up -- we can get more than we can comfortably eat for around $20-25 (picking from among burgers, specials, other sandwiches, apps, chili, etc.). If we don't mind spending, there are always some great options too. (You'll see one of those when KC puts the Tomato Dinner post up. Their special dinners are pricy, but worth it.)

The fact that the atmosphere isn't a fine dining one can be a plus -- we can go in there after Tai Chi class in our t-shirts and eat awesome food without getting turned away at the door or feeling like we're destroying the vibe. And while the atmosphere isn't fine dining, and you don't necessarily get the same degree of attention you would at fine dining restaurants, you do get the same level of food quality and staff competence that you would get in fine dining. If you want to eat excellent American food at someplace you can relax, the Roadhouse does that better than anywhere else we've seen.

But again, it's a matter of taste!

I'm another Roadhouse fan.

I stopped eating meats and cheeses with chemical and hormonal additives in it several years ago for health reasons (and because the animals are treated more humanely). But that means, at many restaurants, no meat or cheese. The exceptions in A2 are primarily Arbor Brewing (which gets its meat from Bob Sparrow), some dishes at the Rush Street, and the Roadhouse (I'm probably missing a few places--I think Bella Ciao has now gone to natural meats--but not much). So for me, having the well-prepared foods at Roadhouse is very worth the price.

One more point about its prices. If you compare its drink prices with the rest of A2, then you see that they're not making a huge margin. They've got one of the best beer selections in town (outside of a place like Ashleys), and their beer prices are the same you'd find at places that have more pedestrian choices, with a great happy hour.

Anyway, one of my best friends used to complain about Roadhouse prices. But now that he has read Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, he "gets it." It takes a lot more labor and time to treat food with respect--and that's what you're paying for at Roadhouse.

I think it's worth it. But it definitely falls in the special treat category. I moved to Ann Arbor from Austin and a lot of the expensive restaurants could still be casual, so that doesn't really phase me.

Joe is right about the specials. Last fall I had a harvest special that was almost all form Chef Alex's garden. Roasted pumpkin with devonshire cream, roasted beets stuffed with their own tops. It was easily one of the best meals I've ever had. Amazing.

Hi! Full-disclosure, I'm the marketing manager for Zingerman's and I just wanted to write and let the person who had a question about the Creamery cheddar know that the Creamery doens't actually make cheddar. The cheddar in the Roadhouse mac and cheese is from Grafton Village in Vermont and the other person who wrote about samples is absolutely right. If you have any questions about cheddar in general, anyone at the Roadhouse or Deli will be happy to take you on a personal little tasting tour of the cheese at no cost.
Pete Sickman-Garner, Zingerman's

Al pal,
Cant believe we found you!! Me, Sara, Lisa Mathews, Nick, Dave Sudlow, and family are all hanging out, searching for you and Bethany. We googled you and up you popped! Please email me at [email protected].
cant wait to hear from you!
Love, Mir

I'd love to have the recipe for the Brisket sandwich you had on Oprah's show today.


Hi, Cathy! The sandwich on Oprah is from Zingerman's Deli, not Zingerman's Roadhouse. They're part of the same organization, but they're different restaurants and they serve different things. (They both have great brisket, by the way.)

We're not actually the home page for Zingerman's -- we're a food blog. You can reach the Deli at (734) 663-3354. I don't know whether they'll share the recipe or not, but you can ask!

And for the record, it's a great sandwich. I've had it a couple times, though there are others I like even more.

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