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.
Frustrated in A2
Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 3:13 a.m.
Love this place!!!
Thu, May 30, 2013 : 10:50 a.m.
Dimo's is the best! And the sandwiches aren't made in advance. You order it the way you want it. They're thick and juicy and delicious.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.
Best. Apple fritters. Ever.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.
I've lived near Dimo's for over three years, but I'm not an A2 native so I had no idea. I finally tried them not long ago and oh my....we are completely hooked now and are in there almost every Saturday morning. It almost ruined Memorial Day weekend when we found out they were closed Saturday! We love the donuts and we love the people. Those boisterous personalities are wonderful! There are always extra donuts in our bag or box. I haven't had a chance to try the sandwiches yet but I've heard nothing but how great they are.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.
I love Dimo's!! Walid and his family are so friendly. I hope their business remains successful for years to come!
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.
The business was up for sale a few years ago--I saw an ad for it in a niche trade publication. I guess the cash flow numbers didn't work out for any potential buyers.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.
OK, please close down the comments or Walid and Michael are going to start thinking we really do like them.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.
the only place to get donuts and great great big sandwiches. people are fun to deal with.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.
I remember when I was a young kid I used to be so scared to go to Dimo's because Walid Dimo was such an intimidating guy, really strong voice, but I could never say no because the donuts and food were so good. And as I grew older, although I didn't go there as much because I moved out of my parents house around the block, I realized how much of a nice guy Dimo really is. I'm not friends with the family, but even I know how nice and special they all are, believe me, the greatness of Dimo's doesn't stop at how good the food is. Anyone that has passed by this place and never given it a thought, I highly recommend going in and saying hi to Dimo, because the donuts are delicious but even the sandwiches rival Zingermans. Thanks for all the hard work Walid!
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.
Uh oh, you made the Zingerman's comparison, get ready for the Zingerman's police to vote you down. I've only been in a few times, but it was good. When it comes to logistics, Dom Bakeries works better for me when it .
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.
Fantastic sandwiches - big enough for 2 lunches. I love that Walid calls me, "young Lady"... makes my whole day.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.
When I was a kid we went there every Sunday morning for donuts. It was the biggest deal, getting to go in there, and I'm sure I took an insane amount of time figuring out what I was going to get. Actually I'm still excited when I get to pick out a donut. Who am I kidding?
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.
Man I was going to go there on Saturday but didn't have time. I'm going this weekend for sure though have to finally give these guys a try, hear nothing but good things about Dimos
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.
I worked at Amy Joy in 1980 when it became Dimo's.That was the old A-Frame building.The family always treated me as family.I have nothing but good memories of Dimo's.I may make a visit there soon.It has been a few years since my last.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.
Dimo's is by far the best donuts in town (and I have tried them all many times). I have been eating donuts from there since the late 70's when my best friends father worked early mornings and would always have a dozen donuts sitting around the house before school started. I still go there a few times a month and now my son goes there weekly before elementary school. My son has made Walid at least 2 huge signs expressing his love of Dimos donuts and each time Walid has hung the sign up at the entrance and expressed his gratitude (as well as handing my son a free donut on occasion). A fantastic place and one I am proud to say is from ann arbor.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.
I had an opportunity to spend a morning at Dimo's to film a video for Fat Tuesday. It's clear they love what they do and have a great time doing it! http://www.annarbor.com/news/its-fat-tuesday-and-that/
Thu, May 30, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.
George, I can see how it could seem that way if you are not prepared beforehand. Try it again sometime. I go in there hoping to get yelled at, it is half the fun (kind like at Blimpy Burger wen they get busy and you try to sit down before ordering, or tell them what kind of cheese you want before you finish ordering your burger). One time at Dimo's I ordered a sandwich with the mayo on the side. Walid looked at me and said "you'll get it on the sandwich, I don't do anything on the side". I could not stop laughing, you gotta have a sense of humor.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.
We must have been to different places. I find the owner to be rude and the place is filthy.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.
Dimo's is the best! Aside from having the best donuts you will find in SE Michigan, Walid is a fantastic guy. I went to Dimo's and bought a few donuts, only to realize I only had $1 in my wallet. He told me not to worry, just pay him on a future visit......
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.
We love Dimo's and go there for our weekend donuts! Always friendly, and Dimo always gives me an extra one to eat in the car before I get home. No one in the family knows I have already had one! I feel so guilty!
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.
> Walid must've been out at the time of the assessment. In the age of look- and taste-alike chains, Dimo's stands alone. An Ann Arbor treasure.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.
Morris: When we assess restaurants for the noise level, it's determined by how easy it is to hear your dining party among the ambient noise. Though Walid himself is quite loud and boisterous and is a noticeable and charismatic presence, the overall restaurant isn't too loud like a bistro. It's easy to hear your fellow dining parties.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.
I remember my father bringing home doughnuts made by Dimo when I was a little kid. He worked 3rd shift at Fords and would bring them home after work in the morning at least once a week. I have many a fond memory of a eating a glazed doughnut for breakfast from there. Much later on I would stop in and grab a dozen on my way to school at commie, and I always was amused by the fact that Dimo wouldn't let you take JUST a dozen EVER. I'd pick out my dozen, and he'd always go "ok what else" at least 2 times to make me take more doughnuts. He defined the "bakers dozen" for me.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.
Billy: Thanks for sharing this great story, and your fond memories of Dimo's. I find that often food is wrapped up with wonderful past remembrances.
Wed, May 29, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.
Dimo's rocks! Great food, Walid is hilarious, awesome place!