Though inspired by the northern California cafés of the early 1980s, Espresso Royale fits right in with Michigan’s modern coffee drinkers—in 2014 readers of The Michigan Daily voted it Best Coffee Shop for the fifth year in a row. Their coffees include a house blend developed in 1987, which has since been joined by a seasonally appropriate autumn spice blend and a southern Italian-style espresso called Napoli. Royale's customers also clamor to the counter for favorites such as raspberry mochas, mint hot chocolates, and ginger dragon, a tea layered with fresh lemon and steeped ginger root that can be served iced or heated by a dragon named Ginger.
The staff at Ann Arbor Pizza & Subs populates the menu with signature and made-to-order pies, all of which sport homemade sauce and hand-tossed dough made daily. Teeth can chew in luxury with a deluxe pizza and sample pepperoni, red onions, green peppers, portobello mushrooms, and Italian sausage atop a blanket of four cheeses melded together ($10.45–$20.20), one type of cheese for each second it takes to crack an egg with a bowling ball. The California-style sourdough pizza alternates between vegetarian and fajita steak versions ($14.99), and the sweet Hawaiian pizza, bedecked with extra honey-cured smoked ham, pineapple, and bacon ($10.45–$20.20), transports taste buds to the land of pork and honey. Patrons can also festoon a made-to-order disk by pulling culinary ornaments from a list of more than 20 toppings ($6.45–$10.95 plus $1–$2.25 for each topping). Like battle-axes encased in a layer of vegetable oil, robust, baked-to-order subs—such as the Ann Arbor chicken club—call for a two-handed grip ($5.25 for 6"; $8.95 for 12").
Scrawled on a colorful chalkboard above the counter, Haifa Falafel’s simple menu is filled with traditional Mediterranean cuisine. The eponymous falafel adds crunch to specialty sandwiches, sometimes sharing a pita with chicken or beef shawarma to create a hybrid dubbed the shawafel. Pitas or wraps can also be loaded with chicken shish tawook, marinated with spices, and beef shish kafta, morsels of ground beef seasoned with parsley and onion. To ensure freshness, the crew prepares every plate to order, rather than predicting what guests want using a Ouija board with the menu stapled to it.
Overseen by native Jamaican Robert Campbell, members of the kitchen crew at Jamaican Jerk Pit create each dish fresh to order. As a result, they can customize Caribbean classics such as coconut shrimp, jerk and curry chicken, and fried plantains to the tastes and preferred spice levels of their diners. In the dining room, tables and booths are situated beneath the flags of island nations and above a black-and-white checkered floor, surrounded by red, white, and yellow walls with artwork and posters of Bob Marley.
Under tasteful direction, the cooks at Squares Restaurant prep and dress myriad inventive edibles, which grow ever more accessible thanks to the restaurant's quick-serve setup. The Signature Squares encapsulate a quarter pound of chicken, turkey, ham, pork shoulder, gyro meat, or marinated veggies on top of a quadrilaterally sound piece of white or whole-grain flatbread.
Famous Hamburger’s samurai spatula-wielders sizzle up 19 succulent burgers using a secret family recipe from 1970, preparing their patties humanely in the halal tradition. Hang a fang on one of the menu's bun-swaddled selections, such as the signature double third-pound patty topped with an egg and american cheese ($6.49; $8.99 with fries) or the Inferno burger—a sammie sporting a slice of pepper jack cheese and jalapeños spicier than R-rated films about potpourri ($4.99; $7.49 with fries). The falafel burger's garden-sprouted selection features a seared circle made of chickpeas, onions, and parsley drizzled in ranch sauce ($3.99; $6.49 with fries). The menu also includes freshly made subs and pita wraps, including chicken, beef, shawarma, kafta, and falafel options.