For years, University of Michigan fans gathered before and after games at Ann Arbor’s Pretzel Bell. The hangout closed its doors 31 years ago, but ardent fans kept begging for someone to bring it back. In April, a group of U-M athletes, alumni, and other U-M supporters did just that – with their own twist.
“For years, when you asked people about their best memories about Ann Arbor, very often it had something to do with the Pretzel Bell,” says general manager Brent Stevens, who notes its walls now sport over 140 black-and-white official U-M photos and 200 pieces of memorabilia, from trophies to sports jackets.
The menu is old school with a modern spin. One example, P-Bell Fries, come three ways – with curried peanut sauce and scallions, an herb-lemon sea salt or beer cheese and bacon. For first-timers on weekends, Stevens suggests the prime rib.
P-Bell went all out on the kids menu, too – and Stevens’ tykes approve. Beckett, 3, loves the grilled cheese, while Greyson, 6, is all about the mac ‘n’ cheese, with its tangy cheese and Goldfish crackers on top. “Whenever the server takes it out the kids’ eyes just light up!” dad says. Give P-Bell’s braised rib recipe, from executive chef Neal Diebold, a try at home with your little chefs.
- 4-12 oz. 1 1/2-inch thick bone-in beef short rib
- Canola oil
- 1 Spanish onion, sliced
- 3 carrots cut into sticks
- 3 parsnips cut into sticks
- 1 leek split and washed free of sand
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- Couple sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cups red wine or root beer
- 2 quarts beef stock
- 1 Tbsp. each salt and pepper
Dutch oven or high-walled pot
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Put a little oil in a Dutch oven or high-walled pot; turn stove to medium high. When the oil starts to pop, gently add ribs and sear on both sides until they have a nice crust. Remove ribs from the pot and rest.
- Add onion, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, 1/2 leek and garlic. Continue to cook until vegetables are tender.
- Pour wine/root beer over veggies and reduce liquid by half. Meanwhile, toss remaining vegetables in oil and season however you like on a small sheet tray.
- After liquid has reduced, put short ribs back in pot. Pour beef stock over meat and wrap in plastic, then foil. Place in oven for about three to three-and-a-half hours.
- The last 30 minutes of cooking, add trayed vegetables to oven and bake till tender and slightly browned. Meat should be fork tender when done. When finished, reduce the braising liquid and turn it into a sauce for your entrée.
More about Pretzel Bell
Try its first floor for comfortable seating and plenty of room for your family.
- Address: 226 S. Main St., Ann Arbor
- Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
- Phone: 734-994-2773