What are the Best Restaurants for Graduation Night?

Mani Osteria: 341 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Famously known as the best pizza in Ann Arbor, Mani Osteria is an Italian bar and restaurant that specializes in family style dining. The restaurant has multiple larger tables available, including two rentable private dining rooms for parties of fifteen or more. On any given night, guests will find families, business associates, pre-gamers, and sports enthusiasts all coming together in their insatiable appetite for wood fired pizza and house made pasta. 

If there’s room for dessert, their new “budino,” chocolate mousse layered with chocolate cake and dolloped with chocolate whipped cream, is a crowd favorite for kids and refined eaters alike. Staff member Bella Simonte (‘23) is admittedly and happily biased, enjoying the “ welcoming hospitality and service that guests receive. Not only is it a fun place to dine but it is also a fun place to work.”

Taste Kitchen: 521 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

“Nearby the Michigan theater is a lovely restaurant offering a modern fusion between traditional bisto and Vietnamese cuisine,” raves Lance Casewell (‘23). Taste places great emphasis on creativity and their ingredients’ origins. Sourcing their food within a 200 mile radius, with a preference for Michigan based vendors, their menu reflects the changing seasons. Although an intimate restaurant, Taste is happy to take dine-in reservations of any size. 

Zingerman’s Roadhouse: 2501 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

A low country barbeque is the best, if not only, way to appropriately celebrate a big occasion. Zingerman’s five dining rooms, including two patios, allow plenty of space for larger parties. Reservations are needed especially for larger groups, but if there is a wait, there are plenty of picnic tables on their front lawn perfect for happy hour and hors d’oeuvres. Their classic pit-smoked style meat comes in portions meant for family style dining.  

Homes Campus: 2321 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Strategically hidden behind a gas station in Jackson Plaza, Homes Campus is a lively extension of their hit pub on Jackson Road. Much like a ‘Campus’ with freedom to traverse, diverse meal options keep a range of patrons content. Food trucks rotate throughout the week, but a coffee shop, Dozer cafe, and spirit bar, Smooj drinks and bar, are kept constant. Perfect for the youngins who have just survived being dragged to a three hour graduation ceremony. There’s always live music –sometimes too loud for older guests, but great for celebrating and entertaining younger parties. 

Knight’s Steakhouse: 2324 Dexter Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

This warm, cozy, traditional American steakhouse remains a staple in Ann Arbor since 1984. As expected, every waiter is educated on all things steak, including their signature cuts that are hand selected and delivered daily from their downtown Market. A tried and true option that you can count on, Knight’s offers inside dining, outside patio seating, and carryout service, allowing for flexibility. Knight’s is Maja Smith’s (23’), celebration restaurant of choice because in addition to the steak,“they have very good fountain Diet Coke which is a staple of any restaurant I go to. They also have a really good Brownie Bottom Sundae that I get every single time I go there.” 

Sava’s: 216 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Though a little on the more expensive side, Sava’s newly revamped dining room has two levels filled with endless opportunities for an intimate celebration. Their new chef, Louis Maldonado, has also completely reimagined the menu into a more American based cuisine with hints of Mediterranean flavors. Reservations are hard to get, but their new chicken fusilli, Mediterranean chicken and pasta bowl, and shrimp fried rice are worth any hassle. 

Session Room: 3685 Jackson Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

The Session Room’s pool table and Weekly live music entertain a primarily family-oriented crowd. The menu is mostly American and Italian bar food. The space is big, windowed, rustic, and buzzing with energy. With C-shaped booth seating, it’s a great choice for a large party looking for some privacy to talk, yet still open to the pub ambiance. Known as a pub, this location may seem like a questionable choice for highschool graduates, but in fact all ages are welcome and the food is an underrated experience in itself.

Union Rec: 545 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Newly opened on November 30th, Union Rec has reimagined the former Fingerle Lumber company in downtown Ann Arbor into a spirited barbeque meets Mexican eatery meets Summer Camp Nostalgia aesthetic. The property has a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, and fire-side lounge area. Co-founder Ann Stevenson did a marvelous job of turning a cold, metal box into a welcoming restaurant atmosphere.