The Lunch Room – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Located right next to Ann Arbor’s Farmer’s Market at 407 N. 5th Ave, The Lunch Room offers creative vegan meals suitable for a wide variety of tastes. And if you’re looking for something sweet be sure to try at least one of their amazing desserts!


We visited The Lunch Room on a Saturday at lunch time so the atmosphere was understandably very busy and hetic. The inside dining area was completley full but it was a nice day so we found a table in their outside area. There is also a large courtyard just outside the restaurant with plenty of seating. The atmosphere was a mix of the independence of a cafeteria and a communal friendliness, where people admire their neighbors’ choices.

The Lunch Room - Vegan Restaurant - Dining Area

The Lunch Room indoor dining area

The Owners

The Lunch Room is co-owned by Phillis Engelbert and Joel Panozzo and they seem to work well together. This dynamic duo combined their history of activism with their passion for cooking and created The Lunch Room, which has been going strong for the past two years.

The Lunch Room - Vegan Restaurant - Owners Phillis and Joel

Phillis Engelbert and Joel Panozzo – owners of The Lunch Room

Plans for the future include expanding lunch and dinner selections at the 407 N. 5th Ave. location. They also have plans to begin offering packaged Lunch Room items at their second location (2200 Fuller Court, Ann Arbor), such as their salad dressings, gravies, seitan, cookie dough and even frozen single servings of their delicious mac and cheese that patrons can cook up and enjoy at home.


The Lunch Room’s menu consists of a variety of sandwiches, burritos, wraps, soups and salads, all with inspirations from around the world. It was hard to decide what to order.

Phillis and Joel told us that their most popular menu items are Pad Thai, bahn mi chay sandwich, mac and cheese and tempeh reuben.

The Lunch Room - Vegan Restaurant - Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese – made with butternut squash and red bell peppers and topped with almonds, lemon zest and sesame seeds

They also have rotating menu items depending on the evening, like sushi night, taco Tuesdays, Indian night and Asian night and a fantastic Sunday brunch menu that includes chilaquiles, French toast, tofu scramble and even pumpkin cinnamon rolls. If you find yourself at The Lunch Room for Sunday brunch, be sure to try their breakfast burrito, which is their most popular brunch meal.

The Lunch Room - Vegan Restaurant - Buffalo Wrap

Buffalo wrap – made with soy curls, veggies, housemade ranch sauce rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla

We finally decided on the buffalo wrap, Pad Thai, a classic Thai meal, and mac and cheese, good old-fashioned US-American cuisine. Each dish was bursting with flavor and we enjoyed trying each other’s meals.

The Lunch Room - Vegan Restaurant - Pad Thai

Pad thai – mung bean noodles with coconut peanut sauce and tofu topped with fresh veggies, bringing a great mixture of textures to the dish

Service and Prices

The Lunch Room is a partial-service restaurant, where you order your food at the counter and it will be delivered to your table with a smile. All the servers we had contact with were very friendly even though they were at the very end of an incredibly busy lunch shift.

The Lunch Room - Vegan Restaurant - Desserts

Be sure to save room for dessert or get one to go! Some people go to The Lunch Room just for their desserts!

We found the prices to be very reasonable, especially when considering the large portion sizes.

The next time we find ourselves in the Ann Arbor area, we will be sure to plan a stop at The Lunch Room.

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