Meet the Deli’s Catering Delivery Vans


The Five Friendly Vehicles Delivering Zingerman’s to You

Zingerman’s Catering & Events is the team that brings the Deli to your door. Since we opened in 1982, we have been bringing the Zingerman’s experience to full-flavored food lovers all over Michigan (and occasionally, a bit beyond!). We’ve had the pleasure of taking part in many fabulous celebrations from weddings to corporate events, bar and bat mitzvahs to birthday parties, and tailgates to summer picnics. Whatever the special occasion, we’ll make sure the food looks and tastes its absolute best. And a big part of making that possible is our team. No, not our catering crew (though them, too!)… this tale is about the stalwart workhorses that help the catering team every time they leave the building. The Deli’s own Fab Five, that keeps on truckin’ (yup, literally) through rain or shine, wind or snow—our fantastic fleet of catering delivery vehicles. 


Some may look at Ethel and see a “regular” van (a 2011 Ford E-150), but we think she’s far from typical. Ethel is the smallest member of our fleet, but she’s a big favorite among the staff.   Quick and agile, Ethel nimbly cuts through the traffic of Ann Arbor like a Michigan running back evading linebackers. Easy to park and easy to drive, rarely a day goes by when she isn’t out on the road! Ethel’s namesake (one of the main characters of the 1950s sitcom, I Love Lucy) was known to say, “Eating is my hobby,” which might explain why our Ethel loves delivering anything and everything, she’s even been known to help out when a staff member needs to move a piece of furniture. When it’s a last-minute order, Ethel is the one to save the day. She misses her bestie, a retired truck called, yes, you guessed it, Lucy, but is now often found gabbing with Edna.


Edna’s a true-blue team player and loves spending time with the catering delivery crew. In fact, her name is even a celebration of teamwork, it’s the combination of two members’ names from our facilities team (Ed and Nate). Edna is the type who is ALWAYS prepared. Her cab (a 2017 Chevy Silverado) can bring a whole team of five, while her cargo area sports a holding oven and refrigeration. That’s why Edna is our long-range specialist, able to bring piping hot entrees—like braised boneless short ribs with beef gravy and polenta with Parmigiano-Reggiano and thyme—and the entire catering team to events all across the region.


Named for a fondly remembered longtime catering kitchen staff member, Casey is a refrigerated van (a 2013 Chevy) who is even-tempered and always keeps his cool. A homebody who prefers to keep it local, Casey is clutch for in-town daily deliveries. Most days you can find him on food runs to offices and private residences (and soaking up sunbeams whenever possible on breaks). He’s an expert at navigating Ann Arbor’s notorious one-way streets and is always happy to give directions, after all, he knows the town like the back of his hand (er, tire?)! Casey is partial to delivering sandwiches and sides, like his favorites, #54 Wayne’s Inheritance (grilled Amish chicken breast, Vermont cheddar cheese, cucumber, and our housemade ranch dressing on grilled rye) and Old Fashioned Potato Salad—basically the types of foods one might opt to eat outdoors on a pleasant summer day. And while Casey certainly knows his way around Ann Arbor, if you’re looking for the party scene, that’s Big Red’s specialty.

Big Red

As you might suspect, Big Red is, well, BIG. A refrigerated box truck (a 2011 Ford), Big Red is almost always on duty for weddings and other large events because they can hold a lot of food. Big Red easily handles everything from appetizers through desserts. They are partial to cold dishes—we’ll often plate and hold salads in Big Red until we’re ready to serve them—but can take the heat when required and will deliver hot appetizers and entrees with the addition of a hot box food warmer or two. Big Red’s substantial size makes them perfect for football Saturdays, since they can carry a number of orders while our drivers circle the stadium making stops at the golf course, North End Zone, Pioneer parking lot, REVELxp lot at Ferry Field, and many other popular tailgating locations. Big Red also had the honor of transporting some of our crew and all the food to NYC for a reuben pop-up! True to their name, Big Red’s favorites to deliver are Red Bag Lunches


Last, but far from least, is Tank. True to his name, he’s a big, boxy cargo van (a 2014 Dodge ProMaster). He’s a refrigerated vehicle but his chilly abilities don’t extend to his personality! Tank likes to say that he’s focused on being the best version of himself that he can be—he spends quite a bit of time at the Firestone shop on Division and Huron; we suspect it might have more to do with his very friendly nature and his love of schmoozing with fellow vehicles. Tank’s social streak came in handy for our Covid-era Reuben Tour of 2020, when we brought Deli reubens to various cities around Michigan (and a smidge beyond for a stop in Toledo). When folks couldn’t come to the Deli, Tank was thrilled to bring the Deli to them! It will come as no surprise to hear that like Big Red, Tank is also partial to tailgate parties—he can hold lots of Deli trays and sides. He also holds the dubious honor of being the only truck to have ever hit the Deli. Unintentionally! His parking brake didn’t hold, he crashed through the fence, hit our building, and chipped the brick (and his pride a bit). The upside (for Tank), of course, was another trip to his beloved Firestone…

Gone but Not Forgotten

Members of the catering delivery caravan that have retired include the aforementioned Lucy, along with Mini, New Guy (Big Red’s over 20-year-old predecessor), and Phil, the latter has gone on to enjoy a second act of food delivery—he’s now feeding the community with FedUp Ministries!


> Which Catering delivery van will you get to meet at your next event?! Start planning your event now.