A Tale of Two Townies…

community-2009…and how they ended up at Zingerman’s

I recently sat down to talk with Josh Pollock, manager of the Bakehouse bake shop about growing up in Ann Arbor, working for another local business icon, Borders, and how we came to join Zingerman’s.

EJ Olsen: What’s your background?

Josh Pollock: I grew up in town as a faculty brat. My dad was a professor at the UM School of Engineering. I went to Newport, Forsythe and Pioneer. After high school, I was ready to get out of town, so I left for about 10 years and during that time is when Zingerman’s really established itself. I lived in NYC for a couple years and had a lot of great food experiences there, including going to all the classic Delis like Katz’s, the Carnegie Deli, the Second Avenue Deli and some of the great old kosher dairy restaurants there, too. When I came back to visit a couple of times, I visited Zingerman’s Deli and it was great to get that high-quality corned beef sandwich right here in Ann Arbor.

What was your first sandwich at the Zingerman’s Deli?

I’m pretty darn sure it was hot corned beef on rye with mustard.

Okay, so I was born here at UM hospital. I went to Wines, Forsythe, Pioneer and Community. In fact, while at Community, we used to go to the little store on Detroit St. that eventually became the Deli. We also used to go to Kerrytown for lunch at Kosmo’s. I was first exposed to a Reuben sandwich on trip somewhere with my family, and I really liked that sandwich. When the Deli opened back in ’82, they immediately had a reputation for great sandwiches, so I had to give them a try. And there at #2 was the Zingerman’s Reuben. I’d never tasted one quite that good, quite that BIG–


So, I was a regular customer and fan for the next few years. Moved to San Francisco, came back after a few years and Zingerman’s was doing better than ever and it was really nice to stop in and say hello. Moved to Washington DC, came back. Zingerman’s always made returning to Ann Arbor really nice, you know?


So many things in Ann Arbor have changed. It was nice to see that Zingerman’s was not only still there, but had grown considerably.

It’s one of the things you do in Ann Arbor. You’ve got your list of things, and going to Zingerman’s is on almost everyone’s.

When I came back to Ann Arbor permanently in the early 90s (I’d been working publishing in NYC), and I was attracted to working for Borders because they had a passion for books, and they had great bookstores. And at that time, Borders didn’t really consider itself a chain, they considered themselves a collection of fine bookstores, and that was the line.

I remember!

When Borders came to an end, I was really looking for something that had a lot of the same attributes that existed in the early Borders. A passion about what they did, a desire to do it incredibly well, and culture that really supported giving great service and being the best at what you did.

And this is what’s made Zingerman’s such a nice fit. Like the early days of Borders, they know exactly what they want to do. Instead of chasing the money, they’ve concentrated on chasing the three bottom lines: great service, great food, and great finance.

I was attracted to working for Borders for the same reasons you mention above. And I love to read, so it was hard to imagine a more perfect job!

I was a legacy staffer at Borders, as my mother worked for Tom and Louis Borders at the old State St. store back in the 1970s. It was very much part of the fabric of Ann Arbor. When they became successful, it felt like our great hometown bookstore had caught on and that was a pretty neat feeling.

I had a long and fun career at Borders. And, as you said, for a time Borders and Zingerman’s really resembled each other in terms of culture and passion and service.

So, after that ended, I wanted to work for another organization that really mattered to me. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to have that sort of experience again. It was sort of a high-water mark with regard to quality of work life. And, lo and behold, I found it all these years later here at Zingerman’s.

Yes, yes! Managing the bake shop, I see a lot of the same things I used to see managing the Borders downtown. You see a lot of people you know. You see their parents!

(laughter) Yes!

You hear from everyone you know about every detail of their experiences at every one of the Zingerman’s businesses! It’s a lot of fun and it’s also a lot of responsibility, because you have to carry the banner. And it’s a great banner to carry and the company makes it very easy to do. It’s a great place to be because just as with Borders, you get to know people and their tastes, and you can personally recommend a book. It’s the same thing with food.


So when something new comes in, some new Hungarian dish, you can say “You’ve got to try this” and to see the look on their faces when they make that food connection. You watch their face light up as they get it, and that’s so exciting.

It is! If you grew up in Ann Arbor, you have a unique relationship with a large percentage of your clientele. These are friends and neighbors, the people you know and so I think there’s a heightened sense of responsibility. I’m going to see this person again soon, and I can’t just not give my best because…

They’re gonna tell my parents!

(laughter) Right! And so there’s that personal investment in the people who come into our businesses. I feel like I’m recommending something that I love and I have no qualms about doing so. I mean, for YEARS, I recommended Zingerman’s before working here, so it’s been a pretty seamless transition.

There’s something here for everyone, and chances are if we make something you like it will be among the best, if not the best, you’ve ever tasted. We’ve had people who say they don’t like something, they try our version, and they like it. That’s exciting.

And now, I must get back to my Sólet!

Mmm, Sólet!

Food, Food Artisans

7 Things About Laurey Masterton

A Beekeeper’s Dinner Featuring Author Laurey Masterton

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Join us Wednesday, February 19, 7pm as we welcome Chef and spokesperson for The National Honey Board, Laurey Masterton, author of The Fresh Honey Cookbook, to Zingerman’s Roadhouse. We’ll be tasting different honey varietals, honey from different regions and of course, using honey to prepare many of Laurey’s vibrant recipes and delivering amazing dishes to the table.


  1. She grew up in Vermont. Her parents were innkeepers and often cooked dinners for up to 45 people, including inn guests. Laurey attended her first such dinner at age 16 months. She wrote a memoir looking back at this time called Elsie’s Biscuits: Simple Stories of Me, My Mother, and Food. This is where she developed her love of good food.
  2. While in college, Laurey discovered the theater department and after graduation, she embarked on a 10-year career as a Theatrical Lighting Designer for various theater productions in New York City. She left New York to become an instructor for Outward Bound Asheville, NC.
  3. She quickly realized that Outward Bound was not her calling and, at the suggestion of her sister, started a catering business in 1987. The business soon expanded to include a cafe and in 1990, she moved Laurey’s Catering and Comfort Café into downtown Asheville as a part of a wave of city renewal.
  4. Faced with the frustrations of being a small-business owner, Laurey says she was on the verge of quitting when she decided to retool. She credits the Zingerman’s Experience seminar at ZingTrain with helping her develop a new vision for the business, and turning things around.
  5. Laurey is an avid bike-rider, and often participates in benefit rides for various non-profit organizations. She is s three-time cancer survivor and has trekked across the Continental US (3100 miles!) to raise research money and awareness for ovarian cancer. She works with the LiveStrong Foundation to help with support, counseling and assistance for cancer survivors.
  6. She became interested in honeybees while catering an event with Project Honey Bee. She went to beekeepers school, began raising bees, and even did a TED Talk on the subject of bees. A strong advocate for raising awareness of the integral part that bees play in our ecosystem, she has written a cookbook called, The Fresh Honey Cookbook, featuring a chapter each on 12 different honey varietals. The book is full of recipes, and interesting information about bees, pollination, and honey. She currently serves as spokesperson for the National Honey Board.
  7. Laurey likes to improve on recipes calling for sugar by using an interesting honey varietal. Her favorites are: avocado, sourwood, poplar, tupelo, and chestnut.

Federal and State Congressional Leaders Meet at Zingerman’s Deli


(L-R) MI Rep. Irwin, US Rep. Dingell, MI Rep. Zemke, Sandy Bledsoe, Grand Rapids Comptroller Vander Werff, Pete Garner

U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, State Rep. Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor, and State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor met with Zingerman’s Deli staff and Ann Arbor business owners at the Deli yesterday afternoon to discuss proposed increases in the state and federal minimum wage.


MI Rep. Irwin provides some levity.

The Congressional Representatives chose to meet at Zingerman’s following a recent trip by Paul Saginaw to Washington D.C., where he, along with other national business leaders, met with U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez.


Carole Woods of Zingerman’s Deli makes a point.

Dingell praised Paul’s trip to Washington, saying, “It says that there’s conviction there, which is sufficient to cause a very substantial expenditure to inform the Congress of what Zingerman’s and what Mr. Saginaw, who made the trip, thinks is the need of the country.”


More discussion.

Dingell is a co-sponsor for bill H.R. 1010, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would increase the federal minimum from $7.25 to $10.10. Irwin and Zemke are co-sponsors for Michigan House Bill 4386, which would increase the state minimum wage from $7.40 to $9 in 2014.


Further discussion.

During the meeting (known as the #SandwichSummit on Twitter), the Representatives listened as Deli staff shared their experiences, and talked about the implications and benefits of raising the minimum wage.


Grand Rapids Comptroller Vander Werff makes a point.

Also present to express their support for the proposed legislation were local businesspeople Sandy Bledsoe, owner of The Espresso Bar in Braun Court, and Eve Aronoff, owner and chef at Frita Batidos on W. Washington St. downtown, as well as Comptroller for the City of Grand Rapids, Sara Vander Werff.


US Rep. John Dingell along with Deli staff Nancy Rucker, Miriam Flagler, and Levi Clark.

“It is but equity…that they who feed, clothe and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged.” – Adam Smith,  The Wealth of Nations

A big thanks to everyone who participated!

Food, Food Artisans

It’s All in the Jam

Please join us for:

The Secret Life of Preserves: with Special Guests: Noah Marshall-Rashid & James Beard Award Winner, Justin Rashid from American Spoon

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For over thirty years, the folks at American Spoon in Petoskey, have elevated preserves beyond the supermarket variety that sits for months on the refrigerator door. Noah and his family use only fresh fruit and craft their preserves by hand to preserve the maximum amount of flavor from early glow strawberries, damson plums, sour cherries and more. Spend a cozy winter evening this coming Tuesday, February 4, 630pm at Zingerman’s Events on 4th, with Noah to hear the American Spoon story and taste the spreads that have made the company a Michigan icon.

I’ve officially hit the mid-winter food slump. Don’t get me wrong, I adore potatoes, could find a million ways to cook squash, and have no problem eating pasta for days. But what I really crave in the midst of these epic, sub-zero temperatures is fruit. Not flavorless, too-big-for-comfort grocery store fruit, but real farm-grown treasures that fill the Ann Arbor markets all summer long. Despite the limited supply of such delights this time of year, there is something that has helped me fill the void—jam.

My first jab at jam making came during my junior year of college. The month was April and the first crop of spring produce had finally made its debut. Feeling the itch for some fresh, non-starch-based foods in my life, I made the trek across campus to do a bit of shopping at the Kerrytown Farmer’s Market. While taking my prerequisite stroll down the U-shaped walkway, I felt like I had reached produce heaven. Strewn across fold-up plastic tables were hefty bunches of skinny asparagus spears, English peas waiting to be plucked from their waxy pods, delicate artichokes tinted with shades of violet and army green, and carrots so petite and strikingly orange in color that they looked like a different vegetable entirely. But what really caught my eye were the pints of bite-sized strawberries and long stems of rosy rhubarb. Inspired by strawberry rhubarb pie, possibly my favorite dessert of all time, and a yearning to finally learn the art of jam making, I told myself that today was the day.

Berries at FM Strawberries Fruit

Fueled with both enthusiasm and eagerness, I left the market and paid a quick visit to the Ann Arbor library, checking out as many books on jam as I could find (and comfortably carry in my backpack). Next, Downtown Home and Garden for the full lot of jam making supplies: boxes of mason jars, a ladle for spooning the jam into jars, a funnel to get the jam in the jars without any spillage (an ideal product for my cleaning-crazed self), and a special set of tongs for lifting jars in and out of hot water baths. Who knew that a food product with only three ingredients—fruit, sugar, and some sort of thickening agent—would require such an extensive collection of equipment?

Upon arriving home, I jumped right in. I boiled a big pot of water and sterilized all of the jars. I washed the fruit and chopped them into tiny pieces. I cooked them down with a frightening (but necessary) amount of sugar, reduced the mixture down until it achieved a velvety texture, and then thickened the batch with a bit of lemon juice. After reaching the point where the mixture could coat the back of a spoon, I ladled my concoction into the jars, quickly capped them off, and re-dunked them in the water bath to sterilize again, making them safe to keep out of refrigeration for months. Within only a matter of an hour, I had gone from two bunches of rhubarb and four pints of strawberries to six jars of jam. Now that is some math I can get behind.

Apricots with Hand Finished Jars Finished Jars in Line

After sampling the first taste of my creation, I was hooked. And for summers to come, I continued to experiment with new flavors and combinations. Last summer, in particular, I entered into what you may call a “jam frenzy” of sorts. Apricot, blueberry, tomato, sour cherry, red currant, Concord grape, pears, gooseberries—you name the fruit, and odds are I cooked it down and put it in a jar. To me, the whole jam-making process feels almost like meditation. You set out with this intention, take all of the preparatory steps to achieve that intention, exercise great patience and concentration, and end up with something beautiful. While the process itself is fairly labor intensive, like any other skill in the kitchen, it just takes a bit of practice before it becomes second nature. I will continue to cherish those moments of kitchen calm, watching fruit transform into a tangible marker of a time, a place, and a season. For me, food doesn’t get much better than that.

Food, Food Artisans, ZingLife

Beat the Winter Blahs with Zingerman’s Events

Take a Class at BAKE!

BAKE! is our hands-on teaching bakery in Ann Arbor. At BAKE! we share our knowledge and love of baking with the home baker community, seeking to preserve baking traditions and inspire new ones. We offer dozens of different bread, pastry and cake classes in our very own teaching kitchens.

Check out the full schedule and register for classes here


9th Annual African American Foodways Dinner

Tuesday January 14, 7:00pm
Zingerman’s Roadhouse
The African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County presents: A Culinary Cultural Experience

Our community is rich with African American culture, history and knowledge and at our 9th Annual African American Dinner we will celebrate the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County. The AACHM was established in 1993 to research, collect, preserve and exhibit cultural and historical materials about the life and work of Black Americans in Washtenaw County.
From recently filmed Living Oral History interviews, to the Underground Railroad Tour, discover what local African-Americans witnessed, experienced, and contributed to building the community we share today. Chef Alex has created a menu highlighting the journey of seven of our families, sharing their history through food.

Reserve your seat here

Ari-Full-Front-credit-Benjamin-WeatherstonBreakfast, Books and Business with Ari Weinzweig

Thursday, January 17, 7:30am-9am
Zingerman’s Roadhouse
Breakfast served at 7:30 am, Event is from 8:00 am to 9:00 am.

Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 3, A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Managing Ourselves includes Secrets #30-39 and will explore our belief that some of the most important work we do to build great organizations and lead rewarding lives is the work we need to do inside. The book includes essays on our approach to managing ourselves, mindfulness, leadership at the four levels of organizational growth, personal visioning, why the way the leader thinks will be manifested in the way the organization runs, creating a creative organization and more. You’ll also hear from Zingerman’s staff, we’ll be inviting employees from around the organization to engage Ari in a dialogue about Zingerman’s, building the business, being part of this organization and how you can apply Zingerman’s approaches to help strengthen your organization.

Reserve your seat here


Home Espresso Class

Sunday, January 19, 1-3pm
Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Get the most out of your home espresso machine. Learn more about what goes into making a café- quality espresso. We will start with an overview of the “4 Ms” of making espresso, followed by tasting, demonstrations and some hands-on practice. We will also cover some machine maintenance basics as time allows. This is a very interactive workshop and seating is limited to six people.

Reserve your seat here

USA-map-states-outlinedCheese from the “Flyover” States

Friday, January 17, 7:00pm
Zingerman’s Creamery

Did you know that cheese is made in Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Missouri Come taste some of the best cheese being made in the U.S. from the most unlikely places. We will taste 7 great American cheeses that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.

Reserve your seat here

american_spoon_sour_cherries_low-resThe Secret Life of Preserves: Featuring Noah Marshall-Rashid from American Spoon

Tuesday, February 4th, 630pm
Zingerman’s Events on Fourth

For over thirty years, the folks at American Spoon in Petoskey, have elevated preserves beyond the supermarket variety that sits for months on the refrigerator door. Noah and his family use only fresh fruit and craft their preserves by hand to preserve the maximum amount of flavor from early glow strawberries, damson plums, sour cherries and more. Spend a cozy winter evening with Noah to hear the American Spoon story and taste the spreads that have made American Spoon a Michigan icon.

Reserve your seat here


Valentine’s Day Chocolate & Bourbon Cocktail Hour – 2 seatings!

Friday, February 14, 6pm to 7pm OR 8pm to 9pm
Zingerman’s Events on Fourth

A sample flight of bourbon hand-picked by our very own in-house aficionados, paired with chocolate and confections made by Joan Coukos of Chocolat Moderne. The perfect complement to a dinner with your sweetheart.

Reserve your seat here:
1st seating at 6pm 2nd seating at 8pm


Brewing Methods

Sunday, February 16, 1-3pm
Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Learn the keys to successful 
coffee brewing using a wide
 variety of brewing methods from
filter drip to the syphon pot. We 
will take a single coffee and brew it 6
to 8 different ways, each producing a
unique taste. We’ll learn the proper
proportions and technique for each
and discuss the merits and differences of each style.

Reserve your seat here

the-fresh-honey-cookbookSingle Varietal Honeys: Featuring Author Laurey Masterton

Tuesday, February 18th, 6:30pm
Zingerman’s Events on Fourth

Single varietal honeys come from bees that eat the nectar of only one kind of flower. Laurey Masterton, author of The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper’s Kitchen, will guide us through tastes of her favorite single varietals, and we’ll experience the amazing differences in flavor that each delivers. She’ll also help us understand how each varietal can be used to create unique and tasty dishes. If you thought all honeys are pretty much the same, this is the tasting for you.

Reserve your seat here

the-fresh-honey-cookbookA Beekeeper’s Dinner Featuring Author Laurey Masterton

Wednesday, February 19, 7pm
Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Honey is honey, just that simple. But the life of a bee and making the honey is not. Did you know a hive of bees will fly over 55,000 miles to bring you one pound of honey? And that one pound of honey came from two million flowers? Considering one honeybee will only make about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her entire lifetime, that is not a simple task.
Chef and spokesperson for The National Honey Board, Laurey Masterson, author of The Fresh Honey Cookbook, joins us to enthusiastically teach us the benefits of using and eating honey. We’ll be tasting different honey varietals, honey from different regions and of course, using honey to prepare many of Laurey’s vibrant recipes and delivering amazing dishes to the table.

Reserve your seat here

coffee-cupping-alan-j08Comparative Cupping

Sunday, February 23, 1-3pm
Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Sample coffees from the Africa, Central and South Americas, and the Asian Pacific. We will taste and evaluate these coffees with the techniques and tools used by professional tasters. This is an eye-opening introduction of the world of coffee.

Reserve your seat here

Food, Food Artisans

It’s Pot Pie Season at Zingerman’s Deli

Handmade Pot Pies to cheer up your winter blues!

Pot pies are available frozen, ready to heat, or ready to eat!


Zingerman’s Classic Chicken Pot Pie
Free-range chicken hand-picked off the bone and blended with big chunks of carrots, celery, potatoes, onions and herbs. Wrapped in a handmade butter crust. It’s the perfect lazy cook winter meal; it’s warm, filling, and easy as pie.

John H. Turkey – Turkey Pot Pie
Harnois & Son Farm turkey with big chunks of celery, carrots, onions, potatoes and spiced with Turkish Urfa pepper and fresh herbs, all wrapped in a handmade butter crust.

Fungi Pot Pie
(vegetarian selection)
A fun pie for the fungiphiles! Michigan Maitake Mushrooms, Tantré Farm Organic Shiitake Mushrooms and a little Balinese Long Pepper, all tucked in an all-butter crust.

Darina’s Dingle Pie
A salute to the miners on the Dingle Peninsula of Ireland: this pie is made with lamb from Hannewald Farm, Stockbridge, Michigan, loads of potatoes, rutabaga, onions and a dash of cumin and rosemary. Wrapped miner-style (no tin) in a butter crust.

Cheshire Pork Pie
Made from a 4-H Tamworth hog raised by Nic Harnois a future star farmer from Northern Washtenaw Co. braised with onions, apple cider and spices, and then stuffed in a handmade pastry crust with apples from Kapnick Orchards in Britton, Michigan. Wrapped miner style (no tin).

The Red Brick Beef Pot Pie
This beef pie is our heartiest one yet. Packed with big chunks of all natural beef from Ernst Farm here in Washtenaw County, carrots, potatoes, and fresh herbs all wrapped in our handmade crust.

To sweeten the deal, we also offer special pricing for quantity: 10% off 10 pies, 20% off 20 pies, 30% off 30 pies!

Stock up and save: Pot Pies are only available during January and February!