Dimo's remains a West Side destination for terrific donuts, tasty sandwiches
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I've driven by Dimo's Deli and Donuts numerous times through the years and have wondered how long it's been around, since it shows its age from the outside. The only external decoration is a "God Bless America" sign on the window. But once you open the door, it's a different story.
The upholstery is peeling off some of the chairs, but generally the interior is bright and airy, with lots of windows and black and white floor tiles, while fans dot the high ceiling. A mural over the serving area features brightly colored food items like eggs, coffee, and salt and pepper shakers. It has the feel of a cozy lunch shop you would find in casual resort towns.
Dimo's has been family owned and operated since it opened in 1973, when it was first an Amy Joy Donuts. In 1991, owner Walid Dimo turned it into Dimo's Deli and Donuts, adding deli fare and Mediterranean food from his Palestinian heritage to the menu. It's a true example of one-of-a-kind, locally owned business. I can see why it has staying power.
There's a large counter up front where you place your order, which they call out when it's ready. Walid Dimo staffs the counter and he has a commanding, appealing presence, reminding me of a tough, brash New Yorker who likes to egg on his customers.
His kindhearted demeanor lends an unmistakable burst of personality to this place. Though we ordered only three donuts, he stuck an additional three in our bag. "Find some friends," he said.
Dimo's is only open for breakfast and lunch, offering typical morning fare, as well as hamburgers and more than two dozen varieties of sandwiches, including corned beef, roast beef, turkey, tuna and egg salad (though they ran out of egg salad by 12:30 on our second visit).
2030 W Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor
- Hours: Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m. -3:30 p.m. Sunday-closed.
- Plastic: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover.
- Liquor: None
- Prices: Inexpensive. Breakfasts are in the $7 range. Sandwiches are in the $8 to $10 range.
- Noise level: Quiet.
- Wheelchair access: Yes
The breads are made on the premises, which is obvious once you see the thick slices. Our wheat bread toast was fresh, crunchy and delicious. The bacon that came with it was on the greasy side, and the eggs were a bit dry, but both were decent.
I ordered the vegetarian combo, which came with a gigantic portion of mjadara, salad, pita, grape leaves and hummus. The mjadara — steamed rice and lentils — was thick, hearty and flavorful. The hummus was creamy and good, though it could stand some more spice. Grape leaves were moist and flavorful. I thought the salad, which consisted of cut vegetables tossed in a dressing made of apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt, was an appealing, healthful offering.
The best sandwiches were those that we opted to have grilled, as the bread shone best in this fashion. I enjoyed the way the ingredients blended with the melted cheese, as in the Manhattan Reuben — corned beef, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye. While the beef was thin and not quite as good as that which I've sampled at Jewish delis, the ingredients together combined to form a great sandwich.
Similarly, the turkey breast on its own tasted salty and processed, but when paired with Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce and tomato and grilled, it was delicious. I can't say the same for the chicken salad, which was full of mayonnaise — also an issue with the potato salad.
Though the sandwiches are somewhat pricey, with most in the $9 range (a basic grilled cheese is $6.26), the portions are enormous.
Where Dimo's really shines is the donuts. You can immediately taste the homemade flavor in these mouth-watering concoctions. The base of the donuts was so rich and dense it almost resembled yellow cake, which was a delightful foundation for all the varieties.
My favorite was the apple fritter, which was topped with a sugary glaze and had apple pieces tucked within the donut. But all the varieties we tried—and we got to sample six, since he threw in the extra ones—were outstanding, including the donut topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles, and the chocolate glazed donut.
I'm glad I had the chance to experience this very solid breakfast and lunch destination, which proved that outside looks clearly can deceive. Though many regulars seem to flock to this spot, a facelift might bring even more people in to be treated to what Dimo's has to offer.
Julie Halpert reviews restaurants for AnnArbor.com.