Ann Arbor – Imagine this...you are sitting underneath a twinkling sky, while smooth jazz fills the room, and you dine on delicious American fare. That's the kind of night that awaits you at the Blue LLama Jazz Club.
“My investment partner is Donald Hicks. He owned LLamasoft, which is a software company in Ann Arbor, for about 20 years,” explains Louis Goral, the Executive Chef and General Manager at Blue LLama Jazz Club. “We decided, as an homage to what got him to his next stage in life, that he would spell Blue LLama with two capital L’s, and it stands for our love of food and love of music.”
As you might expect from a jazz club, the vibes and sound of the place were very important. It has a bit of a mid-century modern feel when it comes to the furniture, with an air of elegance. The place has been expertly designed to allow it to have the best acoustics possible. There is flutter panel on the walls, which visually gives it some texture, but functionally works to deaden sound. Their eye-catching ceiling, which is designed to look like a starry sky, is really stretched fabric with twinkling LED lights poked through. Besides giving the room a cool mood, it also works to deaden sound.
Speaking of music, they have music every night, and during brunch. Typically they feature Jazz music, but they dabble in world music as well. Before the pandemic, they were getting musical acts from around the world, but currently, they are featuring more local musicians. They have spaced the stage out to keep the musicians all socially distant from themselves and the tables in the dining area. You can also stream their performances live on Facebook. Performances typically start at 6 pm.
The music has also inspired the food. They like to describe their menu as jazz-inspired American shared plates. An example of this is their take on a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which was supposedly a favorite of Billie Holiday. Other popular items include their bacon-wrapped artichokes, and a Berkshire bone-in pork chop. For carryout, they host a series of pop-ups to chose from. There is the Blue LLama Express, which serves similar dishes to what you would find on their main menu, Jibarito which serves Puerto Rican inspired dishes, and Of Rice And Men, an Asian fusion concept. They ended up liking Of Rice And Men so much, they decided to open it up as a full restaurant in their basement. You can also order wine and cocktails to go, as well as desserts.
So if you are looking for a fun night out, with food and entertainment, check out the Blue LLama Jazz Club where they are dishing up both! They are located at 314 S. Main Street in Ann Arbor. For hours and more details call 734-372-3200.