You can't miss it: the rooftop vintage neion sign brightly spells out REALLY GOOD AMERICAN FOOD and the menu reads like a national registry; Mississippi catfish, New Mexico green chiles, Apalachicola oysters, Minnesota wild rice. The burgers are made with Niman Ranch beef from pasture-raised heritage-breed stock; macaroni and cheese is thick with raw-milk Vermont-cheddar sauce; corn dogs are all-beef wieners dipped in a batter of Anson Mills stone-milled cornmeal; the doughnut sundae is composed of Zingerman's own vanilla gelato topped with roasted Virginia runner peanuts sitting in a freshly fried buttermilk-and-molasses doughnut made according to a centuries-old recipe. Chef Alex Young turns out geographic-inspired dishes that capture the cullinary history of their region of origin. As a company, Zingerman's struggles to balance the reality of nonlocal ingredients with strongly held values about sustainable agriculture and economics. In season, the Roadhouse kitchen sources two-thirds of its produce from the Ann Arbor area, with Young's own farm contributing about 15 percent.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.