Anyone used to eating Vietnamese food in a hole-in-the-wall type environment will soon get to experience the cuisine in a whole new light. The Ginger Deli plans to open on E. Liberty in the first or second week of January with a focus on chic design and fresh ingredients that aims to change perceptions and delight Ann Arbor eaters.
"The Ginger Deli is an idea I have wanted to do for maybe five years," says owner Te Phan, who also owns Ann Arbor's Chair Cover Express
. "The food will be more toward Vietnamese cooking because Vietnamese food is influenced by the French. If you're going to be influenced by any kind of food, French is a good place to start."
Fresh herbs will be a primary feature of the Ginger Deli cuisine, including basil, mint, cilantro and bean sprouts, which Phan says not only adds great flavor to the food, but balances out the dishes with health benefits.
Phan's career began in industrial design, creating concept cars for Ford. He's now applying his design principles to make attractive, functional street food in downtown Ann Arbor. His designs will allow passersby to enjoy some hot soup on the go in convenient, disposable packaging.
"I want to put the value and money first in food and second into the packaging, where it will be marketing vehicle for the food," says Phan. "Instead of putting a lot of money in creating a environments an ambiance and tables, I want to be able to keep the price affordable for students and young professionals."
The approximately 200-foot Ginger Deli storefront will be take-out only, but will provide heated outdoor counter space under a canopy for diners on the go. Phan hopes to build on the concept of new neighbor Le Dog to create a hub for street food on Liberty.
Ginger Deli will actually be a two-part operation, with about two kitchen staffers managing a kitchen two blocks away and two employees serving customers from the storefront. Phan hopes to see the concept grow into multiple locations in Ann Arbor, and plans to keep the community he loves involved and benefitting from his business as it grows.
Sourc: Te Phan, Ginger Deli
Writer: Natalie Burg