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Posted on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Some scenes and impressions from Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

By Jessica Webster

Related story: Grade your restaurant week dining experience.

Crowds were thin in downtown Ann Arbor Monday night, thanks in part to temperatures that plunged into the single digits. But even the frigid cold couldn't keep dedicated food fans from enjoying a meal out during the second night of Ann Arbor Restaurant Week.

Though the dinner crowd was smaller than expected on Monday, most of the restaurant staff I spoke to said they had done great business on Sunday evening and Monday afternoon.

"I was expediting from the kitchen last night and the Restaurant Week menu was so popular, we started running out of items," said Arbor Brewing Co. host Nick Zomparelli. "The Chicken Puff Pie was one of the biggest hits."

Though customers are encouraged to order from the fixed-price multi-course Restaurant Week menus, most restaurants are happy to serve from their regular menu as well.

"Our regular menu is available for diners," explained Alan Wang, manager and co-owner of the newly-opened Asian fusion-themed Kuroshio, "but I would say that about 70 to 80 percent of our customers this week have been ordering the Restaurant Week menu."

Restaurateur Eve Aronoff is doing it one better this week, offering customers the choice of items from the regular Frita Batidos menu, a fixed price "two-for" menu of Frita Batidos favorites, and a three-course $28 per person menu of favorites from her previous venture, eve the restaurant.

55 participating Ann Arbor restaurants are offering fixed-price lunch and dinner menus through Friday evening. Lunches are priced at $15 and dinner is $28, with many restaurants offering two-for-one specials.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 4:29 p.m.

I was at The Chop House last night, and there were some tables open, but it was pretty busy! Our table had two of the beef items, and one of the salmon...they were great! Nice job all around!

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

My roommates and I went to Isalita last night and I can't say enough positive things about it. Food was incredible, service was great and we were allowed to take our time with our meals even though I was expecting to be rushed in and out because of the whole Restaurant Week aspect of it. The place was packed, as well. It was great to see a new restaurant already making such an impact; I'll definitely be going back (often). Looking forward to Miki tonight!

Jessica Webster

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

That's great, Kyle. I've enjoyed everything I've had there so far. It's great to go as a big group so we can all get a taste a bunch of different dishes.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Restaurant Week is a gimmick unless you go to a real restaurant with a REAL chef, (Logan, The Earle, the Chop House, Gandy Dancer, etc.) otherwise it's a complete joke. Conor O'Neill's? Give me a break!

Jessica Webster

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 6:27 p.m.

I've had good meals at places like Conor O'Neill's or Cosmo, and pretty dramatically dismal meals at places that have a "real chef." Pedigree isn't always a guarantee of quality.

Carol Chan-Groening

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 3:27 a.m.

The first night of restaurant seemed crazy busy, which I guess is a good thing for downtown. I didn't think to make reservations, so after going to Raven, Vellum (both had an hour wait at 6:30pm), and Logan (which was closed-- huh?), we got a table on-the-spot at Vinology. Score! We sat near the door, which was a little breezy, but the food and service were excellent.

Jessica Webster

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

I was surprised to find many restaurants closed on Monday, since I thought I remembered that in years past all participating restaurants were open even on days when they were normally dark.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

Had lunch at Mani. It was a wonderful meal. Thanks!


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 1:39 a.m.

Went to the Black Pearl tonight - the hostess had a dress so short on that I could not believe it - brushed her hair repeatedly while at the hostess station - right next to the bar. Food was fine but the whole hair thing completely grossed me out.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

The scene for me today involved a reduced menu at a restaurant I normally enjoy visiting. It was also empty at the time. So, good deal all around.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

Ypsilanti needs to do this too. We have wonderful restaurants on Main Street and Depot Town.

Jessica Webster

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

They have an annual "grub crawl" in the fall, but that's not really the same thing. I agree - Ypsi should have a restaurant week.