The closing of the Savoy, and the launch of Woodruff’s

As most of you know by now, the Savoy – the Washington Street club managed by Andy “tight pants” Garris – has closed its doors. As I understand it, there were a number of issues, but, in the end, it was the building owner’s non-payment of electrical bills that did them in. But, downtown’s loss is looking to be Depot Town’s gain. As of yesterday, Garris has entered into an agreement with Sandee and Bill French to open a bar in the space that, up until a few years ago, was home to their restaurant, Cady’s. The new bar, according to Garris, will be called Woodruff’s, in reference to Woodruff’s Grove – the 1923 settlement on the banks of the Huron River that would later evolve into the city of Ypsilanti. Here’s a quick video I just shot with Garris.

As you can see in the video, they’ve already almost completed the construction of a stage, which is good, seeing as how they’ve already got bands scheduled for tomorrow night. While it will no doubt take them some time to find their footing, my hope is that, by the time Mittenfest, DIYpsi and Krampusdeep roll around, they’ll have everything figured out and running at least somewhat smoothly. One would think, having jumped between three bars in just the past six months, that Garris and his crew are kind of getting good at making transitions on the fly.

And I know I didn’t get into a lot of detail with Andy in this interview, but hopefully we’ll have a chance to chat with him again after the holidays. I’m particularly interested to know what he has in mind for the kitchen, which I’m thinking could make an incredible incubator for small, local food-related businesses.

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39 Comments

  1. Katy
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m amazed at how fast Andy put that all together. I love Ypsi do-it power.

  2. Posted November 30, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Scooped by the bloggers! I’ve got a column that’ll be up Wednesday morning about the new Andy Garris/Hasan Minyar Woodruff’s. I’m excited to see what Andy can do with super nachos!

  3. Posted December 1, 2010 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Accord to annarbor.com (http://www.annarbor.com/business-review/elbow-room-ownership-files-lawsuit-against-ypsilanti-nightclubs-former-manager/), Andy Garris is getting sued over a lot of harsh issues. It’s to bad this is all being made public. It’s bad for the city of Ypsi. I live in Jackson, MI, which shares a lot of similarities with Ypsi, but even less culture. I wish you all well, and hope everything gets sorted out for the better.

  4. Stacey
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I agree with Katy. I’m impressed.

  5. Tommy
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    That video made me have a seizure. I wish this effort much success. Should be good all around and will extend the nighlife for a few more hours in Depot Town.

  6. lorie thom
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    and you all were worried that Beal would put a bar in the Thompson Block – isn’t this going to “ignite the neighborhood?” as the complainers claimed?

  7. kjc
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    very cool.

  8. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I would never eat food out of a kitchen run by Andy Garris(maybe if he started showering.) Just like I would never rent an apartment from Beal. I was hoping they would work together, I was looking forward to the clusterfuck.

  9. dragon
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    @lorie

    A new liquor license that abuts residential housing, using residential street parking is exactly the same thing as using an existing bar/restaurant in a business district with parking.

  10. Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The Savoy should have had Savoy Brown play. They would still be open now, I think.

  11. gary
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I hope Andy is careful. The last person to lease that space from Bill and Sandy was ripped off. I would hate to see that happen to Andy.

  12. Knox
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    As no one mentioned it, it’s also in the news that Andy is being sued by the owner of the Elbow Room. Considering everything that’s happened, I’d say he seems to be in pretty good spirits.

    http://www.annarbor.com/business-review/elbow-room-ownership-files-lawsuit-against-ypsilanti-nightclubs-former-manager/

  13. Edward
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    All the best to Garris and company.

    Now maybe someone should call up Dingell and let him know.

  14. Tim
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    If they get thrown out of this one, or shut out because the owner of the building doesn’t pay his bills and taxes, they could always start serving beer from Andy’s mustache.

  15. Kim
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    A new Ann Arbor news story touches briefly on food.

    The plan is to focus on the 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. crowd and develop the restaurant side of Woodruff’s. They’ll serve simple items in the beginning and work towards a menu that can be sustained.

    “Simple street cart food done well,” says Andy. “It won’t be a big menu but we’ll have items that people will love.”

    So it looks like they will be a restaurant too. Given the space, I don’t know how tables are going to work.

    http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/the-deuce/another-800-words-about-andy-garris-and-a-bar-please-welcome-woodruffs-to-depot-town/

  16. timbo
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting move to say the least. I recall not all that long ago that members of Depot Town wanted no part of the “Downtown Crowd” and in fact they were quite proud of the fact that they were different, with noses pointed in the air. Then, a little tattoo shop moved in and all of a sudden…

    I’m anxious to see what happens when someone stumbles down from a pleasant evening at Sidetrack to Woodruff’s trying to order an IPA from ABC and finds Andy laying on the bar naked, covered only by his mustache magically pouring shots of Jameson and opening cans of PBR with his nipple rings. Yeah, definitely looking forward to that.

    Although, devastating for downtown (my opinion) I think overall good for the city to keep a young and motivated personality here and not lose him to A2 or Austin, TX for that matter.

    Does this mean we’re all getting along now? Downtown-Depot Town, Ze French’s, townies and students?

  17. Bob
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I just hope they let him do what he needs to do. The Depot Town mafia is pretty ruthless. I can’t imagine them allowing noisy rock bands to happen for long, I hope I’m wrong. We could use it. Good luck dude.

  18. Eeel
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Depot Town needed a good kick in the ass.

  19. kjc
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    As a Depot Town resident I agree. It needs some livening up.

  20. Ted
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m tempted to go down tonight with my camera. I’d love to get a shot of Andy’s nipple rings scraping the frost off the front window as Sandy and Linda look on in horror. Actually, this might be just what the French family needs. Maybe this will bring the warring factions back together.

  21. Kurt A>
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    The Savoy was starting to come together. I’m excited about a lot of the shows that Andy had booked and am more excited that they will be in a smaller venue. Good luck on this venture.

  22. K
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    The French’s that own Aubree’s (not to be confused with the French’s that own Sidetrack whom are awesome) are the “Depot Town members” that do not want “Downtown crowd” in Depot Town. They sucksucksuck and do not want Depot Town to thrive like it is, and if it’s bars and venue’s that keep that place lively than I don’t see a big deal. In the new economy, the last thing we need in Depot Town to keep it going is another knick-knack store that won’t survive (i.e Cheeky Monkey, Silver Spoon, Quinn’s Essentials, etc). Long Live Woodruff’s!

  23. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Um, K, are you aware that its the Fench’s that run Aubree’s that are leasing this space to Garris and Co?

  24. Ab Server
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    I wish the best of luck to Andy and all involved with this venture. My short term memory is shot, but my long term memory does recall rather passionate opposition to Andy’s proposed liquor license for a space in the Thompson Block (RIP?). Oddly, a major concern was parking. If I recall correctly, rather vocal opposition came from folks who are now renting the property to Andy.

    Anyway, given that this location is barely a 100 yards from the original “Barracks” prospect, I’m curious what happened to all the folks worried about noise, parking and impact on surrounding neighborhoods (including council).

    Still. Glad to see Andy moving in. But, whatever. All’s well that ends well. If you can’t beat em, join em and whatnot whatnot.

    Oh, here’s some fun links to moments in history: http://markmaynard.com/?p=505

    Or, if you have the patience, much more fun, watch the video (before it disappears) at:

    http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/367655

    If you don’t have a lot of time, start around minute 38. My favorite quotes are from Sandee French (who is now leasing property to Andy for the same activity she’s opposing here):

    “We can do whatever we want”

    “I don’t want Ann Arbor problems in my neighborhood”

    “the State requires food sales”

    “I don’t think it works in our neighborhood, something that is just a ‘bar bar'”

    “We’re talking about Depot Town, which is not anywhere near the same as downtown, because we are … more surrounded by residential areas than they are … we don’t have the parking that a downtown does”

    Also fun is Beal quoting (Sandee’s partner) Bill French that, “The first phone call I got when we announced that we had signed Mr. Andy Garris as a tenant at the Thompson Block was from a Mr. Bill French, and he, and this is a direct quote, said that, ‘there is no way we will ever open that business in Depot Town.'” (minute 39)

    Turns out Bill was right. He (Beal) would never open “that” business in his building (since it got torched). Instead, he (Bill) would open the exact same business in a building of his own. And the opposition is mute?

    But hey, I love the Andy and look to rock hard at the Woodruff!

  25. Posted December 2, 2010 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Ab, thanks for the video. Here’s my condensed translation:

    Sandee: “I don’t want competition from a new bar in Depot Town. Unless I can somehow have a piece of whatever revenue that new bar might generate.”

  26. Knox
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    So, how’d things go at last night’s show? Were the upstairs neighbors cool with it, or did they call the cops?

  27. Andy C
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I’m sure it will go fine. Some local band use to practice in that space, right by the windows too, server times a week. It never was that loud. Now the Sidetrack will now get the “this band sucks let’s to to the Tap Room” traffic.

    As for parking, most of the Depot town business are closed in the evening so it’s not like everyone who used Depot Town uses it all at the same time. There is also a massive parking lot right across from the Thompson building that rarely gets used, maybe some parking signage to point it out would help.

    I’m glad Andy’s in a smaller space again, Savoy was way too big. I’m bummed he had to leave the downtown. At least the Krampus March will be shorter.

  28. Mr. X
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I expected to see a smoldering heap of ashes where Cady’s stood when I drove by this morning. I didn’t see even one pane of broken glass though. And there was no vomit on the sidewalk. Maybe “city” people aren’t so bad after all.

  29. Posted December 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    So the Frenches want to make money and beat their competition. We get it.

    Welcome to the neighborhood, Andy.

  30. trevor
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    The place to beat your competition is in the marketplace not on some tax collecting committee that is supposed to help new business not drive it out by blocking peoples rights to open there own shop.

  31. Ted
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s one thing to beat your competition. It’s another to jackhammer its balls to dust before it can even get to its feet.

  32. M Fleiss
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Looks like more cards are falling in the Curtis house of cards.

    http://www.annarbor.com/business-review/dte-cuts-power-to-j-neils-mongolian-grill-and-key-stone-underground-most-of-downtown-ypsilanti-block/

  33. Bob
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    There was vomit. Andy Ypsilanti squeegeed it up with some old Ann Arbor News supplements and his boyscout spoon.

  34. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Come on Bob, you can do better than that. The one on aa.com today was way better thought out, and I didn’t even comment on that story. And I left a two page long comment on the festival tax thread, nothing to say there?

    I must be doing something right to have my verry own squad of net trolls. Or at least one looser with multiple screen names and too much time in his hands.

  35. billy LaLonde
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Andy Garris and his amazing teflon coated balls…try to squeeze them…as hard as you can…and they just pop safely out of your grasp. Love the guy, and his whiskey shots. Good luck, sir…and I hope to make it down to your new place soon and enjoy a cocktail or two, with a sidecar of good music. It’s about time, Depot town!

  36. Posted December 2, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Eh. I’m just glad to have Woodruff’s around.

  37. Crystal
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Why does the interviewer keep turning the camera on himself? I mean really? It’s distracting and unnecessary.

  38. dragon
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Because he owns many leather-bound books,
    and his home smells of rich mahogany.

  39. Depot Irish Guy
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    All I have to say is “Fantastic” I’m just very happy to have Mr. Garris & Co in Depot Town. I wish Andy nothing but the best of luck and I hope it brings a new exciting element to this area! For the downers, well it what it is. So just deal with it drink a beer and appreciate local bands trying to make it.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] That Andy Garis is going to return someday and save us all. I’m […]

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    […] why the festival would be returning, after having moved to Ann Arbor last year, in the wake of Woodruff’s having closed, Uhle said, “Ypsi has always felt really […]

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