Cafe, wine shop, pop-ups & more - this Ann Arbor community hub has it all

The Big Ten Party Store has transformed into something completely different.

Dine In The D York on Live in the D

The building at 1928 Packard Street in Ann Arbor was the home of the Big Ten Party store for decades, but since 2019 it has been evolving into a bustling community hub. With a European-style cafe, a wine store, and several rotating pop-ups, there is a lot going on at YORK in Ann Arbor. It’s no wonder. Co-owner Tommy York has a wide range of experience in the food industry.

He started off working at Espreso Royale learning all about coffee, before becoming a managing partner at Zingerman’s and learning the finer points of food. In 2001 he purchased the Big Ten Party store to learn about wine, beer, and alcohol. As he puts it, “after 30 years I kind of understand a little bit about everything.”

After the recession in 2008, the party store’s sales started to decrease, so he started considering how he would evolve the business into something else. In 2019 he made the jump and put of all his skills to use opening YORK. It started off selling sandwiches in the back and turned into a European-style cafe complete with a cheese counter with a selection of cured meats to choose from as well. They also have a full coffee bar, and regular bar offering cocktails.

Along the way, YORK gathered a couple of pop-ups that became permanent. Ricewood BBQ combines the savory flavors of Texas-style BBQ with the refreshing tastes of Pacific Islander cuisine. Think rice bowls with kimchi, a spicy cucumber salad, piled high with beef brisket. They are located near the front of the building and smoke all their meat out back. Also out back is the Bao Boys food truck. They specialize in Korean sandwiches made with fluffy, yet slightly sweet bao buns. These mini sandwiches are loaded up with a variety of meats and slathered in sauces, though they do offer vegetarian options as well.

The one thing that ties all of these concepts together is the sense of community. York said he wanted to create a place where everyone felt comfortable no matter what they were wearing, or what they were doing. Want to meet up with some friends and chat over a glass of wine with a nice cheeseboard? They have a lounge in the back for that. Looking to grab a quick bite before dropping the kids off at soccer practice? Come on down and grab a quick coffee and sandwich to-go. Looking for a fun night out with your co-workers? Grab some cocktails from the bar, order food from their plethora of kitchens, and enjoy it on their patio which is decorated with brightly colored murals.

On the weekends, this busy spot becomes even busier with a variety of pop-ups and a DJ.

For the full story, watch the video above.

If you want to check out YORK for yourself, it is located at 1928 Packard Street in Ann Arbor.

About the Author:

Michelle Oliver is a multimedia Journalist for the 10 a.m. lifestyle show, "Live in the D." She is known as "the food girl" because of her two popular food franchises, Dine in the D and Find Your Fix. Michelle also covers stories on homegrown businesses, style, and other fun things happening in the D.