Spencer stands quite singularly in Ann Arbor as a restaurant whose menu changes frequently, constantly drawing inspiration from what's nearby and seasonally available. Little can stand up to the flavorful, artful plates but the atmosphere built around them. Their website makes mention of "friendly neighborhood restaurant" and by all appearances they've hit the nail on the head.
On any given night, walking into Spencer feels like being welcomed into a friend's home. Whether the owners, Abby and Steve, or a grinning employee, a warm greeting floats over the full rows of tables. Smells and visuals start presenting themselves on the way toward the counter, dropping subtle hints about what treasures the day's menu might hold. While the menu is often a surprise for patrons, it's sure to be a pleasant one.
On to the food. They are a restaurant, after all.
Perusing my @topdownfood Instagram is the easiest way to see that I'm a Spencer fanatic. I eat there a few times a week. I can do this because they're always presenting new things or variations on familiar themes that keep it interesting. It helps — hurts? — that it's on my route home, too. Here's a smattering of some of the things I've wolfed down over the last few months.
I'm honestly not big on vegetables and salads but somehow Steve and Abby's food at @spencerannarbor doesn't care one bit. A great salad with beets, watermelon radish, fennel, ricotta salata, and orange slices. Delightful. Starting soon I'll be talking about food and other food Instagrammers over at @bestfoodannarbor as well! Make sure to check it out ???? #salad #eatyourveggies #veggies #vegetables #fresh #cheese #beets #radish #orange #lunch #healthy #AnnArbor #Spencer #food #foodie #foodporn #foodstagram #instafood #instagood #topdownfood #eat #myfab5
Another delicious salad from @spencerannarbor with sliced pear, roasted cauliflower, and perfectly browned hazelnuts. Perfect for a light lunch! We went to their first evening event last night and tasted a few things I thought I'd never like, but they were delicious! Umami ftw. They start full time dinner service this Friday, so make sure to get on it! #salad #veggies #vegetables #cauliflower #pear #hazelnut #???? #Spencer #AnnArbor #food #foodie #foodporn #foodstagram #instafood #instagood #topdownfood #eat #healthy
Hey folks! I've been MIA on Instagram for a bit but that doesn't mean I haven't been eating delicious food. The best thing I've had lately was this lovely plate from @spencerannarbor. If you haven't gone there yet, do it today. They're only open for lunch until they get their liquor license, but that doesn't seem to be stopping anyone! Steve and Abby will make you feel right at home with their handiwork and knowledge.
The above images show some simply delectable food, but fail to show what have been some of my most favorite. Interior lighting isn't kind to food photography, and winter isn't kind to natural light in the evening. I promise to take pictures of some of the more entrée-like dishes as time goes on!
More cities and towns could benefit greatly from the ideas Steve and Abby are bringing to the table (ha!). Sourcing food from fresh and local sources reduces strain on the environment, helps the local economy, and builds community. These kinds of benefits keep giving over the years. Pairing these with places people want to hang out and converse makes it all the more enticing.
Spencer is also a place where the foreign can become the familiar, both on and off the plate. You'll find interesting people at the table including students, professors, artists, engineers, and more. The exchange of culture through eating and conversation makes me giddy, really. Go ahead and get your feet wet.