Ari Weinzweig is co-founder, along with Paul Saginaw, of Zingerman's Deli and the Zingerman's Community of Businesses.

Ari Weinzweig (Photo courtesy of Zingerman's)

He helped grow the business from a small deli that opened in 1982 to a collection of businesses in partnership with other food entrepreneurs. In addition to the deli, other businesses are Zingerman's BakehouseZingTrain (consulting), Zingerman's Catering & EventsZingerman's Mail OrderZingerman's CreameryZingerman's RoadhouseZingerman's Coffee Company,Zingerman's Candy Manufactory, and Zingerman’s Cornman Farms, located in Dexter.

Weinzweig is an author of books and columns published in a variety of magazines, including The Atlantic, Inc, Fine Cooking, Specialty Foods, Gourmet Retailer, and Food & Wine. He has also written over 200 issues of Zingerman's newsletter. His books include Zingerman’s Guide to Good Olive Oil, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Vinegar, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Parmigiano-Reggiano, Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 1: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 2: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Being a Better Leader and Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Part 3: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Managing Ourselves.

Nationally, Weinzweig has served as a board member and president of The American Cheese Society and as a board member of the Retail Division of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. He is a frequent guest speaker in business classes at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, as well as at various food and business conferences in this country and abroad including the American Institute of Wine and Food, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, the Gathering of Games, and the NASFT Fancy Food Show.

Weinzweig is frequently seen at Zingerman's Roadhouse, usually serving water to customers. "It really just started by me helping out on the floor at the Roadhouse back in the early years after it opened. Pretty quickly I realized that it gave me a great way to actively help the staff, be hands on without being in the way, interact with guests, learn about our food and service quality, train quietly on shift, and gather a lot of information about what was happening in the market."

As of early 2015, Weinzweig lives on the east side of Ann Arbor with his girlfriend Tammie and dog Jelly Bean. 


May 2015: Gives University of Michigan spring commencement address, along with Paul Saginaw.

2010: Publishes "A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Building a Great Business," It was selected as one of Inc Magazine's 2010 Best Books for Business Owners.

2007: Receives Lifetime Achievement award from Bon Appetit, along with Paul Saginaw.

2006: Is recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. 

DATE? Serves on the board of The Ark, a nonprofit music venue.

April 1995: Receives the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award, along with Paul Saginaw, for their community contributions.

1988: Helps start Food Gatherers, a nonprofit food rescue and food bank program serving Washtenaw County.

March 15, 1982: Opens Zingerman's Deli on Detroit Street with Paul Saginaw, two employees, and a $20,000 bank loan. The deli is located at the corner of Kingsley & Detroit streets, in a 1902 building that originally housed Disderide’s Grocery. They originally planned to call it “Greenberg’s Deli,” but that name was taken. They decide on Zingerman’s in part because it starts with Z and will be easy to spot at the end of the yellow pages.

1975: Works at Maude's restaurant in Ann Arbor, where he meets Paul Saginaw.

DATE? Graduates from the University of Michigan with a degree in Russian history.

1956: Born in Chicago.

In the news

Video of Paul Saginaw & Ari Weinzweig 2015 University of Michigan Spring Commencement address – University of Michigan, May 2, 2015

Zingerman's co-founders emphasize generosity in Spring Commencement address – Michigan Daily, May 2, 2015

Zingerman's owners stress joy, generosity during U-M Spring Commencement address – MLive, May 2, 2015

The Cheese of Choice Coalition Interviews Ari Weinzweig – Cheese of Choice Coalition, April 22, 2015

Interview with Ari Weinzweig – SLICE Ann Arbor, April 8, 2015

University of Food Diversity – Edible Michiana, Spring 2015

Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s – Purpose Podcast, June 27, 2014

12 Laws Of Building A Great Company From One Of America's Most Innovative Small-Business Owners – Business Insider, June 23, 2014

How Zingerman's Is Creatively Turning Workers Into Owners Of Its $50 Million Business – Business Insider, June 18, 2014

The Batali Inquisition: Ari Weinzweig – Mario Batali's blog on Medium, Feb. 28, 2014

A Conversation with Ari Weinzweig about Journaling – Crazy Wisdom Journal, January 2014

A Passover Chat with Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman's Deli – Epicurious, 2013

Lessons from the water-boy: How to lead and serve – CNN MoneyWatch, March 19, 2012

10 Leadership Tips From America's Corner Deli Guy – Forbes, March 15, 2012

Management Lessons from Zingerman’s CEO Ari Weinzweig – LeanBlog, March 2012

A conversation with Zingerman’s Ari Weinzweig – SmartBlog on Leadership, Oct. 17, 2011

Column: Creating a Company Vision – Inc Magazine, February 2011

Ari Weinzweig, CEO of Zingerman's on Building a $35M Local Business – Tech MBA Minute video, Aug. 17, 2010

Zingerman's founders get Bon Apetit Award – Ann Arbor News, Sept. 12, 2007

The Corner Deli that Dared to Break Out of the Neighborhood – New York Times, May 3, 2007

Interview with Ari Weinzweig – The Morning News, April 8, 2004

The Coolest Small Company in America: Why are high-powered M.B.A.'s getting off the fast track to work for a $13-million food company in Ann Arbor? – Inc. Magazine, Jan. 1, 2003

Articles by Ari Weinzweig in The Atlantic