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Posted on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Zingerman's Deli expansion opening in October will double indoor seating

By Ben Freed


The job site of new Zingerman's Deli addition on Friday. Construction superintendent Chris Love expects the job to be completed by late September or early October.

Daniel Brenner I

Zingerman’s Deli's much-anticipated new building will be open for use in mid to late October, said project manager Grace Singleton.

The 10,400 square-foot project, a two-story addition that will increase seating capacity and kitchen space for the iconic deli is scheduled to be completed in its entirety by January 2013.

The plan to remove a fire-damaged house on Kingsley Street and replace it with a substantial addition was approved by the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission in September 2010. Since then, the $6.7 million project has slowly progressed as the original store and Zingerman’s Next Door stayed open to serve an always-hungry customer base.

“We currently have 95 indoor seats; after the construction is completed we will have about 200,” Singleton said in an email.

“When our full patio was open before construction we had about 130 outdoor seats. We will have these again once construction is completed and with the new building we will add 60 outdoor seats on the second-floor deck.”

In addition to a new kitchen and expanded indoor and outdoor seating, the new building will house a basement connection to Zingerman’s existing storage areas and will be attached to the original store by a glass atrium. The original building will then undergo renovations to the kitchen and sandwich line.

Even before the addition, Zingerman’s has grown astronomically since it opened in 1982, from 2,000 sandwiches sold in its opening year, to 300,000 last year. Singleton anticipates that the increased space will mean even more increased business.

“The kitchen and seating capacities have been the areas of limitation,” she said.

“We are hoping that we can increase our sales by over 10 percent the first year in the new building, and that by year five we will have close to a 50 percent increase in sales overall.”

In order to handle that increased business, Singleton said the company expects to expand Zingerman’s 200-person workforce by hiring up to 65 new staff members within the next five years. Immediate hires will be to staff the new building, and more will follow as business expands.

The design also will make things easier for current deli employees. While ingredients used to be moved up and downstairs multiple times during the preparation process, the new building will allow for a more logical workflow.


A drawing by Quinn Evans Architects shows what the Zingerman's Deli complex will look like from a northern view along Kingsley Street.

“Right now people might have to go downstairs, grab a sheet tray, and bring it up in the middle of their shifts,” Singleton said. “Now it will be just five steps away.”

Zingerman’s also is aiming to receive a Silver LEED certification for efficiency in the building. Sintleton said the certification can’t be awarded until a few months after construction is completed, but the building plans are very environmentally conscious.

“We are capturing waste heat from the refrigeration equipment to offset the energy needed to heat our hot water, there are well-insulated rooms, and we have the ability to use natural ventilation and cross breezes to keep the building the correct temperature,” she said.

Other Zingerman’s brand locations also have been expanding recently. ZingTrain recently opened a new expanded location in Pittsfield Township, and Chef Alex Young of Zingerman’s Roadhouse expanded his Cornman Farms with the purchase of adjacent land west of Dexter.

Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

Yep, this is really stupid. The owners earn a good living while paying their workers an honest wage with great benefits, have legions of loyal customers across the country and enjoy a national reputation for quality food, service and giving back to their community like few others. What's wrong with this picture again?


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

More seats for more suckers to eat $20 half sandwiches, that are mostly bread! Hahaha


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

"...was approved by the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission in September 2010. Since then, the $6.7 million project has slowly progressed as the original store and Zingerman's Next Door stayed open to serve an always-hungry customer base." What is the explanation for the two year delay?

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

Keep your eyes peeled for McPickle and Mayor Ruben!


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 5:19 a.m.

So many suckers to buy overpriced sandwiches, and so little space to seat them.


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

People come from across the country to go to Dollywood, too.

Sarah MacDonald

Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

atmosphere!!! I love going there and people across the country come just to have a sandwich there.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

A great place to eat! It is nice to see that somebody has confidence in the economy!

Aaron Bragman Bragman

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

What is the point of having that elevation drawing if you can't click on it to actually see any detail? Your website is NOTORIOUSLY bad at this. If you're going to include a pic with tiny text, make it clickable for a larger full-size version!


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Zingerman's - the only place in Ann Arbor where a company can get almost $800,000 in Brownsfield Tax Credits to repair a small, fire damaged residential house - damaged prior to purchasing it. I wonder what IRS payment is needed for turning this $195,000 purchase into an $800,000 monetary boom (alright, $600k....).


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

belboz ... meanwhile, enjoys dependent deductions, mortgage interest deduction, energy credits, property tax deduction, medical deductions...


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Zingerman's - the only place in Ann Arbor upon which the joyless and miserable can pin all of their general dissatisfactions and feelings of personal inadequacy.

Nick Danger

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

It's about time.Who was the contracter? With all the tradesmen out of work and a mild winter you would think the building would be ready by now


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 11:55 p.m.

Phoenix Construction


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Yay for Zingerman's!!!! My only regret is that I am gluten free and cannot go there anymore. (It's traumatic to think about the Pastrami with coleslaw and russian dressing that I can no longer eat.) How about some good GF sandwiches at the new place? Even if not, I hope they continue to grow.

Sarah MacDonald

Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

I plan on talking to the owner about creating a line of GF food for them.....I hope!!!! I need to get in contact with them this coming week with my proposal. I am also GF and have had this dream for about a year now to somehow join them. I going to culinary school right now but have created a bunch of recipes from scratch on my own since I tried out for masterchef and knew I was going to have to know how to do that!


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

I miss their breads too. I wish there was a gluten free place just as good a Zingerman's. @mightywombat - Cross Contamination is a really high there. If they cut the bread with a knife and then use it on the gluten free break kinda negates the gluten free. It's really hard to control. Crumbs get on everything, flour hangs around in the air. It's on their clothes, etc. For the really sensitive, it's not going to cut it.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

They do have a gluten-free bread option that you can get with any sandwich.

Ron Granger

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

I don't like to imagine what the cost of this expansion will do to the price of sandwiches! Maybe they can use some of that space to open up a Pawn counter. "How much sandwich can I get for this playstation? Can I get some pastrami?"


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Just so I have this straight, you are pointing out that Zingerman's sandwiches might be considered pricey? That has to be a unique observation in the history of both this publication and the community in general! Kudos on your originality, it is an inspiration to us all.

Sarah MacDonald

Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

just understand how all their products are handcrafted and they put a lot of time and effort into picking all the right ingredients to have at their stores also!

Rod Johnson

Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 3:37 a.m.

It is how jokes work, however.

Jake C

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

That's not how businesses work.