A Class Act

A Class Act

Even if you aren’t among the forty thousand students flocking to the University of Michigan this month, there are plenty of ways to get schooled in Ann Arbor.

An Ann Arbor institution since 1982 thanks to its namesake deli, Zingerman’s still attracts foodies with made-to-order sandwiches. But its offshoot businesses offer even more. From September through May, stop by Zingerman’s Creamery for a mozzarella-making class; start with curds and hot water and stretch your own fresh, creamy cheese. Or visit Zingerman’s Bakehouse to learn to make tortes, tarts, challah, cheesecake and more; a different class is held almost daily. And if you just want to eat, Zingerman’s Roadhouse boasts a down-to-earth menu based on locally raised ingredients prepared by James Beard Award–winning chef Alex Young. zingermans.com

An early toast of the local craft brewery scene, Arbor Brewing Company‘s downtown brewpub and restaurant offers between eight and twelve house-brewed beers on tap. The pub specializes in Belgian-style ales, but the Sacred Cow IPA is the most popular order. In nearby Ypsilanti, owners Matt and Rene Greff opened the Corner Brewery, a microbrewery where they brew and bottle beer for distribution. The Greffs are passionate about sustainability and the local movement and regularly host classes, tastings and release parties. Or nab a spot at the bar and conduct your own taste test. arborbrewing.com

No, you’re not pulled up on stage here, but The Ark is such an intimate venue that audiences feel part of the music making. This downtown venue began in the sixties as a place for students to hold political, ethical and theological discussions as well as enjoy folk music. Today the four-hundred-seat club is an acoustic-music nonprofit that welcomes folk, bluegrass, ethnic, roots and world music acts from around the globe—with concerts held more than three hundred nights a year! Performers interact with appreciative, enthusiastic audiences, and impromptu sing-alongs have been known to occur. theark.org

At Vinology Wine Bar and Restaurant, food and wine pairing takes on new meaning. That is, wine comes first and “wine-friendly world cuisine” is created to complement it. The family-owned restaurant inhabits a historic 1890s building. Behind a long bar, ladders help staff access bottles from the extensive wine library, and the menu boasts fifty wines by the glass and more than a hundred by the bottle. The restaurant offers wine flights, pairing meals and classes—all to make you enjoy vino as much as its owners do. vinowinebars.net/vinology

Motawi Tileworks is a revered art tile maker whose work appears in the homes of Steven Spielberg, David Letterman, Nicholas Cage and other celebrities. The company is heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and also produces several lines inspired by artists and designers; it’s the exclusive creator of tiles based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. Visitors can shop the studio gallery, but for a real peek into the creative process, sign up for a free public tour held Thursdays at 11 a.m. You’ll see artisans firing, glazing and hand-painting the tiles. motawi.com

Located in the city’s historic Kerrytown Shops, Hollander’s sells decorative papers and bookmaking supplies, as well as cards, journals, albums and gifts. It’s fun to browse through the shop, but it’s even more of a treat to take a class at Hollander’s School of Book & Paper Arts. Choose among workshops on book- and paper-making, letterpress printing, calligraphy and more. Many of the classes are “make and take” so students can bring their work home. hollanders.com

Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine.

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