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Posted on Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Zingerman's Deli on the grow: Site work begins, construction to follow at Ann Arbor deli

By Janet Miller


The site work at Zingerman's Deli includes demolition.

Janet Miller | For

After years in limbo, the Zingerman’s Deli expansion is on the grow.

With a fire-damaged house demolished, a backhoe moving dirt, the tangerine-colored Annex Building moved temporarily and final design decisions being made, Zingerman’s is on target to complete its 10,400-square-foot addition in summer 2012.

The $6.7 million construction project at 422 Detroit St. will not interfere with a single corned beef and rye from the storied deli - and neighbors even say they welcome the changes.

With hard-won approval from Ann Arbor City Council and Ann Arbor Historic District Commission behind them, work has started: Earlier this month, site work began, digging up the patio between the deli and Zingerman’s Next Door to better even the grade, install storm water infrastructure and dig a basement for the Annex, which will be moved back to its location and connected to the deli and addition, said Grace Singleton, one of the deli’s managing partners.

The work has closed the side doors of the deli and Next Door, but should be completed by mid-May.

Construction of the foundation for the two-story addition is expected to begin in late May, with construction of the actual building beginning in the fall and finished by July or August 2012, Singleton said.

It will be a brick exterior with zinc panels dividing the glass front. There will be a polished concrete floor on the ground level.

Construction of a two-story glass atrium connecting the original deli to the addition won’t begin until a certificate of occupancy is issued and the kitchen operation is moved into the new building. This will allow Zingerman’s to stay open during construction, Singleton said.

Atrium construction and remodeling of the original deli is expected to take another three months, with the project completed by late fall 2012.


A rendering from Quinn Evans Architects shows how the space will look when finished.

The new building will include the deli’s kitchen, dining space, bathrooms and an elevator and while the original deli will house meats, cheeses, breads and grocery items. And the Annex will hold order pick up and the cash stand.

When it’s finished, Zingerman’s will have three distinct but connected parts: The original deli, the two-story addition and the Annex. It’s a project, Singleton said, that is expected to position the deli to double annual receipts within a decade.

The original deli will house an expanded line of products that is now limited by space, such as a new olive oil Zingerman’s recently found in Croatia, Singleton said, and more sauces, pastas and nut oils.

“It will be expanded but we still want it to be cozy,” Singleton said.

The addition will offer seating on both floors and should help reduce the long weekend lines that wind around the corner, Singleton said. The new building will have an exposed ceiling and lighting and open faced block walls, giving it a more modern and urban feel. The larger kitchen will also allow the catering business to grow.

“We are now limited with our catering orders,” Singleton said.


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

The Annex will have a black and white tile floor, which will help tie it to the deli, along with a mural honoring the non-profit Food Gatherers, which had its first home on the second floor of the building.

“Our goal is to design a space that will allow us to expand our operation with good flow and a welcoming feel. We are not trying to recreate the deli. We want it to feel like you are going from one building into another,” Singleton said.

The building project also includes a tented pavilion within the campus that will include siding that can be unfurled for winter use.

The project will be a candidate for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Green features, Singleton said, will include energy efficient water cooled equipment, a heat pump, an underground snow melt system that captures heat from the deli’s coolers, a green roof on part of the original deli, edible landscaping and more. They are considering solar panels.


A schematic by Quinn Evans Architect of the planned complex.

Zingerman’s Next Door will remain separate, but should become more of a coffee house than a deli, Singleton said, although customers will still be able to eat there if they want. And it will continue to house the deli’s chocolate and gelato.

Because the construction projects squeezes an already physically tight operation (the garage used for storage, for example, was razed) Zingerman’s signed a two-year lease for the space formerly occupied by eve the restaurant in Kerrytown for use as Zingerman’s Events on Fourth.

The space is being used for food preparation, storage, but also to host meetings and events, such as receptions, bar mitvahs and small weddings for up to 75 people.

After two years, Zingerman’s could opt to continue its lease on the space, Singleton said, for a new member in the Zingerman’s family of businesses.

Co-founder Paul Saginaw is currently in negotiations with the potential restaurant ventures, including a Tunisian, an Asian and a Tex-Mex eateries.

Zingerman’s has always has an over-sized neighborhood presence. That will only grow with the expansion, Singleton said, bringing more people to the Kerrytown area, and creating more pressure for parking.

The renovation will include a dedicated space for cars standing while someone runs in to pick up a carry out order, Singleton said, and valet parking may some day be offered.

Still, it will be good for businesses in the area, said Elaine Johns, owner of nearby Treasure Mart and the building that houses the Emerald Dragonfly, across Detroit Street from the deli.

"A new streamlined plan for deliveries should help unclog some of the congestions,” she said. “And it will make it better for their customers.

"It gets so busy, and the space issues are so difficult, people have to wait outside. Saturday, there was a huge line snaking around the corner.”

BY THE NUMBERS • The expansion is expected to add 65 employees - 45 at the deli and another 20 at the Zingerman’s family of businesses such as the Bakehouse, which supplies the deli. • Indoor seating will go from 93 to 180. Outdoor seating will go from 140 to 180. • Zingerman’s expects to see annual receipts at the deli increase 30 percent the first year after project completion, 5 percent the second year and another 10 percent three years later.



Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

I never understand all the hate for Zingerman's that comes out in these comments. If you don't like the place, don't shop there. But an awful lot of people do like it - enough to justify an expansion that Zingerman's estimates will bring in 65 new jobs and increase receipts around 50% in three years. That's 65 people paying taxes, buying products at local stores, etc., and that's a substantial increase in local sales tax revenues. This is a thriving local business selling a good product. Whether you think it is overpriced, overrated, or whatever, people should be happy about any bright spot in the local economy.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

They should just call it the Magical World of Zingermans and install theme rides, shows, and have mascots walking around, spooning 8 dollar dabs of magic mustard on everything. The Magical World of Zingerman's...where a foodie can be a foodie.

Jon Saalberg

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

I guess success inevitably breeds a few malcontents. Would you prefer a ratty spot stay ratty, or would you prefer a well-designed additional that allows a great Ann Arbor business further their success, and by association, enhance our city? I guess the ratty dirt spot is preferable for some. As for the person who said the space "works well" as a cramped space - I worked at the deli many years ago, and it didn't work well then, so I hardly think it works any better now, unless you like gridlock.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 7:07 p.m.

one problem with zingerman's using the space at eve's is that their delivery trucks cause a lot of problems in that metered lot. i have twice been blocked by a delivery truck---it's too cramped of a space for how frequent their trucks deliver.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 12:39 p.m.

Yeah, temporarily blocked in. Tell that to other businesses trying to survive.

John B.

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

...and it's temporary. Sheesh.

5c0++ H4d13y

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 9:19 p.m.

Tell the management.

Use Logic

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

It's the right of every American business to maximize profits, but why are we (the taxpayers) contributing to the project? Are they actually saying that selling four mediocre brownies for $10.99 didn't afford them enough liquidity to make this expansion on their own? Aesthetics and taxpayer money aside, Zingerman's needed an expansion. It was cramped and dangerous as it was. I tried once to go there with my young daughter. Long story short, she was pushed around and knocked down like a pinball. That was not my wisest moment, but I'm looking forward to being able to return now.

John B.

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

"Are they actually saying that selling four mediocre brownies for $10.99 didn't afford them enough liquidity to make this expansion on their own?" No, they are saying nothing of the sort, never have been, and the grant money likely won't materialize anyways, as Snyder will find a way to give it to some mega-corporation in a tax refund.

5c0++ H4d13y

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

Why are we paying for it? Because a bunch of politicians thought they had a bright idea to craft an outcome using the ability not to tax. The party affiliation doesn't matter. Both sides do it.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

good news


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

The crampy old store is quaint and it works well; people like the atmosphere of squeezing through the aisles and ordering amidst the crowd. An old style design inside and out will keep the local small town feel and our nostalgic comfort will remain intact. It's not too late to change this eye-sore from being built. Look at the original buildings in the area and build a new one with that design. Even the newer Kerry town construction has too many glass walls. You should be looking at old brick, wood planks and smaller windows; make it look like you converted old homes in to a deli. Zingerman's will succeed and that's a good thing, but please do not continue on this path of what you think is a progressive look, because the look and feel of Kerry Town will not be enhanced with this large glass airy restaurant


Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

The current store is way too cramped - I love the food but have never liked squeezing through the crowd. I feel like I have no time to browse the cheeses, olive oils, etc. that I go there to buy. It is so bad that I rarely shop there any more. I welcome this addition and I thing many more customers will.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

These pictures appear to be an airport terminal style deli. At least the galvanized ceiling will match the tin can City Hall down the street. A glass atrium style building will not fit this neighborhood...way too modern and airy for this old style restaurant and street.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

Expanding is a good idea


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Like the idea of the expansion, but wish I could afford to eat there. Too pricey for me.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

They are such a great company- and their business plan has always been extraordinary. Wishing them the best with this new opportunity!


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

On one hand, I enjoy seeing a local business expand and be successful. But on the other hand,,. There's that government grant. Taxpayers are donating $1.1 million to this zinger of a project. The Ann Arbor Nobles want their luxurious sandwiches. Let the rest of us eat cake as the state and country go bankrupt. .

John B.

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

The grant money is seriously in doubt at this point. Snyder will probably take it and give it to giant Corporations like Amway.

Jello Biafra

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

most overrated deli in North America. Zingerman's, get over yourself.

Moscow On The Huron

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 3:52 a.m.

What does "is a deli like this" mean? Overpriced? Overhyped? Delis where you can wait in line for 30 minutes and then wait another 15 minutes for your sandwich to be made?

John B.

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

It is the seventh-best deli in the world, so there sure as heck aren't many like it in all of the state of Neuva York.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Although true that there is a deli like this on every block in new york, this isn't new york - so we should be happy we have this. After all, 90% of restaurants in michigan are franchises (hence the reason there are lines around the block at Zingerman's - where else are you going to go, Blimpies?)


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

How about links to larger versions of the rendering, drawing, and schematic by Quinn Evans Architect so we can actually see them?


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.

So where are the local "anti-business" groups on this project? I guess they like the sandwiches and the congestion that this will cause to this once pristine neighborhood. I like the way this article starts off" After years in limbo," Who caused the limbo? the "anti-business" city council!