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Posted on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Zingerman's: Expansion project nearing completion as deli hosts 'dress rehearsals'

By Lizzy Alfs


Zingerman's, on Ann Arbor's Detroit Street, is nearing the end of its 10,400-square-foot addition project.

Melanie Maxwell |

Two years after launching a multi-million dollar expansion project, Ann Arbor’s popular — and often cramped — deli on Detroit Street is testing out its new space.

Zingerman's handpicked customers to come in for a “dress rehearsal” this week, soliciting feedback and giving both employees and customers a chance to experience the new 10,400-square-foot building.

"We've been testing out the space as much as possible so that when we go live, there are less surprises and challenges," said project manager Grace Singleton via email.

She said the new building will be open to the public within the next two weeks, but construction will continue until early 2013.

Planted in-between and set back from its existing deli, annex and next door buildings, the two-story addition is expected to change the customer experience at the 30-year-old deli.


Zingerman's expansion project is nearly complete.

Melanie Maxwell |

The building includes additional seating, new kitchens and checkout lines — which Zingerman's hopes will make for a more seamless experience for customers and employees. All kitchen production and sandwich line cooking is expected to move to the new building, and the original deli building will be converted to retail use after the kitchen is torn out.

Indoor seating capacity will increase from 95 seats to 200 seats, giving customers more elbow room while waiting to order food, check-out and eat. It will also increase outdoor seating from 130 to 190 seats, and it includes a new covered picnic pavilion.

"It's going to be great when we're all settled in, but it's going to take a few weeks to decide the best way to organize things in the new space," Singleton said.

Plans for the $6.7 million project were approved in Sept. 2010 by Ann Arbor’s Historic District Commission. A house at 322 E. Kingsley St. was demolished to make room for the new building.

When the project is completed in its entirety in 2013, a glass atrium will connect the new building to the original store, and it will have a basement connection to Zingerman’s existing storage areas.

Singleton expects Zingerman’s will hire up to 65 new staff members within the next five years as part of the expansion. The company is also aiming to receive a Silver LEED certification for efficiency in the building.

Read more about Zingerman’s expansion here. Check out photos of the build-out on Zingerman’s blog, and watch a time lapse of the construction project below.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

rehearsal?are you kidding me?you open and adapt as you go.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Does this mean we will be paying more for a sandwich? I can already buy a full meal at some restaurants for what a sandwich costs here.

Jessica Webster

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Of course you can, and thank God for options. The Zingerman's folks will be the first to tell you that you can spend less on a sandwich elsewhere. But they are living the dream: the get to create exactly the quality of food they want to, cave-aging their own cheeses and in some cases individually selecting the animals they are purchasing for meats ... all while determinedly funneling money back into the community through their charitable giving programs ... and people are literally lined up out the door to pay for it.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

Easily the most overrated food establishments (deli, roadhouse, etc.) in a town full of overrated food establishments.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Maybe you should move? :-)


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:10 a.m.

I suspect a dress rehearsal or two would be necessary. Hard not to bust up like Harvey Korman on the Carol Burnett show after charging that much for a sandwich. "Meh" all you want.

Jessica Webster

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

They have been running dress rehearsals with invited friends and family all week.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:07 a.m.

Wow, I didn't realize how extensive it was. And that it took up some of Community's parking lot. I remember how hard it was to park there when I went to school. Maybe some free stuff to compensate? I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's done.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:40 a.m.

Bravo to Zingerman's. This can only make a great experience better. I know longtime fans will appreciate the care in retaining the ambiance of the deli while growing to serve Ann Arbor.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

Another story about Zingerman's. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......


Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Mazal tov! Onwards and upwards. Hard to believe that the City took so long to finally allow this project to proceed.