Maize and Blue Deli Downtown
106 E. Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 436-8537
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9am-9pm; Fri-Sat 9am-10pm; Sun 10am-7pm
The Short Course
Kid-friendly: More yes than no
To avoid wait: Skip the workday lunch rush
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: No changing table in bathroom downstairs
High chairs? No
Got milk? No, but they offer soda, lemonade, and assorted juices
Kids’ menu? No, but they can make anything you’d like such as a grilled cheese or plain ham and cheese.
Anything healthy for kids? They have salads and a vegetarian option.
Food allergy concerns? They offer gluten-free bread and cookies. Allergy concerns should be mentioned when ordering—they can clean surfaces, prep sandwiches separately, etc. to accommodate you.
Winter has taken hold of Ann Arbor, which means hibernation instincts are high. While sleeping through the cold, dark months is not an option, satisfying carnivorous cravings for meat—and more meat—is feasible. It can be accomplished at Maize and Blue Deli’s newest location on Liberty Street.
“Families are always welcome,” says Hamzah Sukkar, one of the owners. His family opened the original Maize and Blue Deli on South University back in 1988. Sukkar and his brothers opened the downtown location this past summer.
Known for gargantuan sandwiches, Maize and Blue looks to attract a new legion of fans with its location on Liberty. The interior is decorated unapologetically in pro-Michigan style and appears sleeker than the original spot on South University. It is a counter-service deli at heart, though, with a casual, comfortable vibe. There is seating for more than 20 upstairs with a few more seats located downstairs near the open kitchen.
Choose from dozens of sandwiches, most with entertaining names. For instance, the Bear Giggle comes with lox, cream cheese, tomato and onion on grilled sourdough pumpernickel. Or how about the Cheerleader’s Dance with chicken salad, lettuce, tomato, onion and green pepper on a pita?
I ordered the Georgia Reuben with turkey, Canadian Cabot cheddar, coleslaw and Russian dressing on grilled sourdough rye ($10.25). My husband picked Amy’s Renovation with pastrami, smoked turkey, havarti, Colby, cole slaw and Russian dressing on grilled sourdough rye ($11.45).
While there is no kids’ menu, the sky’s the limit with what Maize and Blue can create. The staff suggested grilled cheese for my kids, ages 8 and 12. However, my daughter wanted the Beef ‘N Swiss ($10.25). Fearful she would be overwhelmed by meat, we asked for “lite” meat, which is 6 oz. vs. 8 oz. and $1.25 less. My son crafted his own sandwich with salami, turkey, roast beef, and provolone ($11.25).
We grabbed drinks and sat at a “sick” table, according to my tween, who liked the raw edge tabletop. There were four TVs playing sports to entertain us while we waited.
Big and Bigger
Sukkar delivered our sandwiches and we dug in. Our sandwiches—certifiably big—tasted fresh, especially the bread. Each came with a giant dill pickle.
“Mom, this is delicious,” commented my daughter about her beef and Swiss.
“How’s your sandwich?” I asked my son.
“I need details. What do you like about it?” I probed.
My husband was too busy eating to comment, which I took as a sign of satisfaction, although he did say that even the pickles were good. My Reuben was yummy, loaded with turkey and slaw. I liked the toasted bread and tried to eat it all before surrendering 2/3 of the way through.
We were smart to order “lite” meat on our eight-year-old’s sandwich. She ate half before declaring herself full. Parents of wee ones, the sandwiches are so big at Maize and Blue that you could easily share.
Tempted by cookies, we indulged our sweet tooth. The chocolate chunk with walnuts was my favorite, soft and chocolaty, while my family preferred plain chocolate chunk.
Maize and Blue’s creations are available for delivery or take-out
They offer breakfast sandwiches, too, beginning at 9am Monday through Saturday, and 10am on Sunday