Ann Arbor Pinnacle List

This is an ever evolving list of the best things in Ann Arbor.

I subject myself to as many things as possible in hopes of finding the best, so why not give out that hard-earned information for free. I’m sick of things not being settled so just to be clear this is not a subjective list. I will try to be as specific as reasonable with my categories. If you disagree with this list you are probably just wrong; the only possibility that you are right is that you are thinking of something I have not yet experienced. Without further adieux, the list:

burger (hamburger)

To be clear, a burger is a bun, a patty of beef cooked to order, and, if desired, lettuce, tomato, and onion (cheese is sometimes acceptable if you are feeling cheeky or particularly not jewish). If something else is needed, some part of the essential components has already been mishandled.

  1. old town tavern
  2. sidetracks (ypsi)
  3. cubs ac
burger (sandwich)

For the non-purists, this is an bastardized embellished hamburger that includes distractions accentuations and slop condiments of all types.

  1. krazy jim’s blimpy burger
  2. casey’s tavern
fried vegetables

Vegetables fried deep.

  1. krazy jim’s blimpy burger
wings (of a buffalo chicken)

If it’s breaded it’s out; it never had a chance.

  1. mister spots

A giant bowl of Korean delicious.

  1. seoul street
  2. broadway cafe (have to ask for the egg undercooked)
philly-style cheese steak

It’s Ann Arbor, so “-style” is a necessary caviat.

  1. broadway cafe (with hot peppers)
  2. mister spots (do not get the special sauce, it is not special)

Cured beef between rye.

  1. zingerman’s deli (don’s rhythm and blues, relatively free for zingerman’s prices at $13)
  2. bread basket deli (ypsi, but definitely the best value at $9-10 for a ‘regular’ sandwich that is way bigger than zingerman’s and nearly as good)

Meat. Smoked. Low. Slow. Bonus points for good sauce. Bonus points if multiple good sauces. Bonus points if Carolina Gold is in the sauce lineup.

  1. satchel’s bbq
  2. ron’s roadside bbq (charter township)
tacos (al pastor)

Corn tortilla, pork, cilantro, onion. Served with lime. Bonus points if served with a spicy green sauce. Bonus points if served with a spicy red sauce. Bonus points if no sauce is needed. Negative bonus points if the taco costs more than $2.
Note: since trompos have been effectively banned by the filthy communist health department, a perfect taco al pastor is impossible to create. This is a list of those who have taken flight despite their wings being clipped.

  1. taco king – tienda la libertad
  2. chela’s
  3. tmaz taqueria
tacos (veggie or fishy)

Same as real tacos, minus meat, plus things that do not have legs.

  1. chela’s
  2. tmaz taqueria
  3. taco king – tienda la libertad
  4. black pearl (best fish taco, but they know it, so they charge $18 for three)
sour beer

Take a perfectly good beer mix with oak and bacteria until you have something worth the price charged.

  1. la roja (jolly pumpkin)
  2. corner brewery (rare, but you can sometimes stumble upon something they’ve soured)
burrito (mission-style)

With a lot of chains competing here, it could have been considered a tough call. Bonus points for local. Bonus points for tax-included pricing. Bonus points for open till 4am every night. Bonus points for at least one seriously hot sauce.

  1. btb burrito (guaranteed to be a hot mess consumed by someone who is a hot mess)
tequila selection

I like my agave like I like my gold, expensive and golden.

  1. tio’s
  2. sava’s
brew pub

A place that beer is made on site. Must provide food for purchase and consuption.

  1. corner brewery (ypsi, but their rotating tap makes it head above anything else)

A place that makes their own hootch. Boardgames not required, but appreciated.

  1. leopold brothers (ann arbor can be such a cruel mistress)
sushi (spicy tuna)

Tuna, spice, and rice.

  1. nagomi (‘nagomi spicy tuna’ not their regular ‘spicy tuna’)
  2. saica (most interesting spicy sauce award)
sushi (overall)

Cold dead fish in the raw.

  1. sadako
  2. nagomi
bagels and lox

A near perfect breakfast treat of cured salmon (smoked also allowed), a bagel, and fixings.

  1. afternoon delight (best value, worst bagel)
  2. zingerman’s deli (best bagel, best cream cheese)
  3. cafe zola (most expensive, best presentation)
healthful? breakfast

I am not sure if it is actually healthful, but I feel decidedly not awful after eating it.

  1. afternoon delight (bran muffin plus the berry patch)


Did I miss any? I did. Don’t you think?

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