Daily Archives: July 30, 2012

Insider’s Guide to Ann Arbor and the August IMS Quarterly Meeting

This is the Dr. Chuck Insider’s Guide to Ann Arbor for the upcoming IMS Meeting – August 6-9, 2012. I am really looking forward to you all coming to Ann Arbor. With a meeting in North Quad (where I have my office and teach) and hotels with a 1 block radius and plenty of great eating and fun within a short distance – it should be a meeting to remember. North Quad has a few nicknames to help in asking for directions: NQ and Quadworts are the most prevalent nicknames for the building.

Thanks to Matt Jones and Anthony Whyte for their help with this guide and thanks to Heidi S for all her help in setting up the meeting logistics.

For hotel and other details for the IMS meeting see the IMS web page.



We of course start with the most important thing of all – Karaoke. There are two box Karaoke within walking distance:

Blue Karaoke (Box)
404 W. Liberty St.

Friends Karaoke (Box)
621 Church St
This is a 10 minute walk diagonally across campus to the south east corner of campus.

Good Time Charley’s
1140 S University Ave
There’s club-style Karaoke from 10PM-2AM on Tuesday night.

WiFi and Coffee

University buildings have free WiFi with the SSID of MGuest – you might need a VPN for some ports but it should be super-fast, support tons of simultaneous connections (students are gone for the summer), and be reliable. Go ahead and run Apple’s Software Update during the meeting and watch the download speed.

The Starbucks at 222 South State (1/2 block south) has free Wifi. Search for “Espresso Royale Cafe” (a.k.a. ERC) if you want a less “franchised feel” for your coffee shop and free WiFi. Panera’s is at 777 North University is a block south.


Zingerman’s Deli
422 Detroit Street
Zingermann’s needs its own category. This may be the best deli in the world. There may be great deli’s in New York City – but Zingermanns is also very nice to you and the staff are always willing to talk to you or give you a sample. They make all their own bread. Insider trick – When they ask you if you want an old pickle or new pickle – say “both”. It is a four block walk (northwest) from NQ. It is near a terrific shopping center called Kerrytown. This is an event on Wednesday evening http://www.zingermansdeli.com/2012/06/pop-in-little-italy-in-kerrytown/


338 South State Street
The best beer selection in Ann Arbor. Two blocks south of NQ. Ashley’s does Trivia on Mondays and it is pretty intense.

Arbor Brewing Company (a.k.a. ABC)
114 East Washington Street
Sidewalk dining if you get there early enough. Three blocks west of NQ.

Blue Tractor (Microbrewery)
207 East Washington Street

Grizzly Peak (Microbrewery)
120 W. Washington

Jolly Pumpkin (Microbrewery)
311 South Main Street

812 Monroe Street
Dominik’s requires a nice walk to the south side of campus. But there is nothing like it on a warm summer’s evening.

Hole-In-The-Wall Restaurants

Jamaican Jerk Pit
314 S. Thayer
This is 1/2 block south of NQ. I would forgive you if you ate every meal here. When you leave – you might fly back just to eat here. My fav is the pork entree – go ahead and get spicy. I eat there so often I have a “Frequent Jerk” card. You can take it when you go so I get to 10 punches and free food more quickly.

Ray’s Red Hots
629 East University Avenue
This is a 10 minute walk diagonally across campus to the south east corner of campus. The cheese fries are the stuff of legend – don’t get chili – just cheese – trust me. If they wrote a fifth Lord of the Rings book – these cheese fries would be featured in the book for sure – they are that epic.

Blimpy Burger
551 South Division Street
This is a seven block walk from NQ – but the burgers are legendary. And they insist that you make your selections in the right order: (1) fried side items, (2) how many patties and what bun (3) additional items on the burger. Just watch the people ahead of you in line and you should be OK. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Listen to what they ask you and answer their question instead of blurting out your whole order. If you make a mistake they won’t punch you – they will just correct you. It is a mark of being a “honorary native Ann Arborite” when you can order at Blimpy Burger without being corrected. And yes you can open the pop and drink it while you are in line.

Tijo’s (Mexican)
401 East Liberty Street
About 2 blocks from NQ. We like the wet burrito. It is no longer technically a hole-in-the-wall – but before it was moved downtown, it was a hole-in-the wall – so it is still given the honorary hole-in-the-wall designation. They have an item called “Mount Nacheesmo” that is not on the menu and was featured in Man v. Food. If you eat one by yourself you get a picture on the wall.


Pizza House
618 Church Street

Cottage Inn
512 E William St

Fancy Food

Main Street is the place for fancy food. Just Google Street View up and down. Legal Seafood, a fondue restaurant, fancy german food, fancy italian, too many to list. Here are a few you might miss and want to check out.

The Earle Restaurant
121 West Washington Street
Underground – dark, fancy and classy – nice place for dinner with some red wine.

Gandy Dancer
401 Depot Street
This is in an old train station and about 6 blocks north of NQ (not on Main Street). It is fine dining and where we take people being interviewed for lunch or dinner.

Blue Nile – Ethiopian Restaurant
221 East Washington Street
A unique Ann Arbor experience. Closed Mondays.

Interesting Collegey Things to Do

Pinball Pete’s
1214 South University Avenue
There are very few remaining places full of pinball machines. Pete’s is a throwback and in a basement. I prefer the one in East Lansing as it is darker and dingier – but the Ann Arbor Pete’s is a short diagonal walk through campus to the South U area.

Michigan Theater
603 East Liberty Street
This theater plays an interesting assortment of films.

The Ark
Music venue for acoustic and the like.

Blind Pig
208 S. First St.
Music venue.