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Posted on Tue, May 29, 2012 : 11:21 a.m.

Sunday's annual Taste of Ann Arbor restaurant showcase features culinary and musical treats

By Roger LeLievre


Crowds at last year's Taste of Ann Arbor

Melanie Maxwell | file photo

Taste of Ann Arbor, the season’s yummiest downtown festival, will take place in the Main Street area on Sunday, with anyone planning on attending advised to bring an appetite.

More than 40 restaurants will be offering visitors a sampling of what they do best, said Maura Thomson of the Main Street Area Association, which is presenting the annual community celebration from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Main Street between William and Washington streets. And this year, a related event will offer a musical "taste of Ann Arbor" in the evening.

“The mission of the Main Street Area Association is to keep our downtown vibrant and healthy. I put these events on because I want to connect people to their downtown. I want people to come down here and have a great experience so they want to come back,” Thomson said.

“You have restaurants like Vinology, Real Seafood, La Dolce Vita—you can taste anything they make and the maximum you are going to spend is $4.” Volunteers from the Michigan Theater will be on hand to sell the Taste tickets, which start at 50 cents each; food items are sold for X number of tickets.

Taste of Ann Arbor has been growing year by year, and is open to all local restaurants, not just those situated downtown.

“We have to turn restaurants away,” Thomson said. “The only criteria is that the restaurant is located in Ann Arbor, and of course we give priority to members of the Main Street Area Association.”

She also said Taste of Ann Arbor attracts more locals than out-of-towners.

“Because it is just a one-day event, being from 11-5 and because it’s Sunday … I would say it’s definitely more geared towards being a community event,” Thomson said.


Taste of Ann Arbor

  • Who: Local restaurants, sponsored by the Main Street Area Association.
  • What: Annual event offers samples of food from more than 40 local restaurants. A live music stage showcases local talent.
  • Where: Downtown Ann Arbor on Main Street between William and Washington streets.
  • When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 3.
  • How much: Free admission. Tickets for food tastes can be purchased at the event for 50 cents each. Info:
  • Additional event: Taste of Tree Town Sound at the Blind Pig beginning at 8 p.m. (doors) features even more local music. $10.
In addition to food and music, representatives of The Ann Arbor District Library will be on hand to promote its summer reading program. There will also be hula-hooping, sidewalk art and bean-bag tossing, and representatives of the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum will be on hand.

Event sponsors are Bank of Ann Arbor, Big George’s Home Appliance Mart, Renewal by Andersen and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.

Besides treats for the palate, Taste of Ann Arbor will also offer music.

The Bank of Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch stage will be located at the intersection of Main and Liberty streets. Music will run from 11a.m.- 5 p.m. with performances by Nicole P’Simer (acoustic folk/soul), Abigail Stauffer (acoustic singer-songwriter), The Appleseed Collective (Americana-folk-jazz), The Juliets (Detroit pop) and Hotels & Highways (singer-songwriter trio) with Mia Dyson.

Matthew Altruda, host of the weekly local music radio show “Tree Town Sound,” put together the afternoon’s musical talent and will introduce the bands.

He also booked the talent for a special “Taste of Tree Town Sound” show Sunday from 8 p.m.-midnight at the Blind Pig. Scheduled to perform are Erin Zindle (of The Ragbirds), Chris Bathgate, Absofacto, Matt Jones, Laith Al-Saadi, Nickie P., Abigail Stauffer, Hotels & Highways, Misty Lyn, Wolfie Complex, Mark Fain (of Gun Lake), Heroes On Parade, Match by Match and Kimberly Grambo.

It’s the first time a local music show is being offered to complement Taste of Ann Arbor, Altruda said, adding that the concept is similar in that those attending can enjoy savory samplings of Ann Arbor-area musical talent. Each group or performer will offer 3-4 songs each.

“I am so passionate about the bands that I play,” said Altruda, “that I want people to come out and hear a couple songs live, be blown away from that taste, then go out and support them for a full show.”

Taste of Ann Arbor - Participating restaurants:
Cafe Japon
Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Grizzly Peak
Mani Osteria and Bar
Rocky Mountain Chocolate
Silvio's Organic Pizza
The Ravens Club
Arbor Brewing Company
BD's Mongolian Barbecue
Graham's Restaurant
The Earle
Grizzly Peak
Cafe Felix
Marnee Thai
Jamaican Jerk Pit
Blue Tractor
Jazzy Veggie
Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub
Real Seafood Company
La Dolce Vita
Carson's American Bistro
Sabor Latino
Miki Japanese Restaurant
Black Pearl
Blue Nile
Cupcake Station
The Melting Pot
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Whole Foods Market
Buffalo Wild Wings
Mahek Indian Cuisine



Wed, May 30, 2012 : 2 p.m.

AFter taking your taste of Ann Arbor, stroll on down to Kerrytown for the events that are occurring there -- Zingerman's Camp Bacon and The Sunday Artisan Market. Ann Arbor offers many fine events -- hip, hip horray.


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

Wait... Mark's Carts is not on the list! How can that be?


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

This is a great event. And it coincides nicely with the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run. I look forward to refueling after running the half-marathon.


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

I see myself in the photo!

West of Main

Tue, May 29, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Let me guess. The guy on the left with the fro and shades? Woooweee, smokeblwr.


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

I can't wait! Can you bring your own drink or do they expect you to buy a drink at each venue?


Tue, May 29, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

You can consume your own beverages.