Who wants to open a restaurant in Ypsi?

A few months ago, I heard that The Wolverine was up for sale. I was sick in bed at the time, and put the word out through Facebook that I was looking for someone to walk by and snap a photo of the For Sale sign. That evening, I got a call from a friend, saying that he’d seen someone remove the sign from the window. Then, a day or so afterward, another friend called to say that he’d met a man standing outside the restaurant, who said that he’d just bought it. Well, I guess it didn’t work out. I’ve just been informed by a reader that The Wolverine is up for sale again. So, if you’ve been looking for an opportunity to move to Ypsi and open a restaurant, now’s your chance. According to the online ad, the asking price for the building, with the business, is $189,000, which sounds reasonable to me, but, then again, I don’t know the first thing about real estate in today’s market… Oh, and it’s not mentioned in the ad, but the restaurant was featured prominently (for several seconds) in the Drew Barrymore movie Whip It. That, I’m thinking, has to be worth something.

Anyway, if you have a friend or a loved one who’s a damned good cook, knows a thing or two about running a restaurant, and is getting tired of busting his or her ass for other people, forward along the link. It certainly wouldn’t be easy, but I’ve got to think that our town has the capacity for one more good, little restaurant.

And, speaking of local restaurants, I wanted to remind you that you only have a few days left to take advantage of that special Beezy’s coupon!

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22 Comments

  1. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    If someone has the capital, and if they throw in the recipe book, or at least the chili recipe, I would love to take this on. Strip a little of the cheesy, grandma’s kitchen wallpaper and thrift store paintings, and you’ve got a pretty damn authentic 60’s dinner. There is value in that, in a town that prides itself on car culture.

  2. Edward
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I’m curious to know if this size restaurant is big enough to be profitable. Are there any restauranteurs reading this who could chime in?

  3. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    This place used to be packed every day a few years ago when they were being run consistatly, usually with a line on the weekends. It would have to be a tight ship, and it would have to be well promoted to relaunch it, but I think it could be sustainable again. There is also an apartment upstairs for additional income on the property.

  4. j
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    For the past several months it has had very erratic hours and the occasional “help wanted: short order cook” sign in the window. No surprise they couldn’t hack it.

    Andrew, I can’t find a record of sale so if there was a previous sale it was owner financed or a land contract of some sort. In this case, “Ask Broker about seller financing options” means the seller is providing the capital and I’m betting he will throw in the recipe book as well.

  5. Eel
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    But will they throw in the epic fish on the wall?

  6. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    *likes eel’s comment*

  7. Brainless
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m a little frightened that they have no pictures of the upstairs.

    Andrew, what did they serve that they were able to pack the place?

  8. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Same menu, just more consistent. And open longer hours.

  9. anonymous
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    It’ll be an African hair braiding place by February.

  10. Elf
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    As long as Rand Paul doesn’t buy it.

    http://markmaynard.com/?p=8769

  11. bee
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to look at it on Monday via the realtor.

    I don’t have the [any] capital, but I think I can pull monkeys outta my butt and make something happen if I walk through there and it *feels* right.

    I think there’s potential there like woah- and I’d love to helm a place actually designed for breakfast. I’d love to recruit talented & passionate people like Andrew and Autumn Rae to give different day-parts different personalities. I’d love to have a 24 place that didn’t give me gut-rot & the runs. I’d love to serve an Ugly Mug brew. I’d love to have flapjacks & hashbrowns and real butter & real syrup. I’d love to keep an under $5 filling but not heart attack inducing food menu, but I’d also love to have a really good upscale grilled cheese and chocolate malts. I’d want diner dresses & bow-ties, polished shoes and sassy servers. House made pies, fresh baked buns, shiny formica and perfect corned beef hash, crispy hand cut french fries and a roast beef au jus [omg] on to vegan tofu rellanos & migas to perfect coneys & chicago dogs, individual pot pies, meat loaf sandwiches on thick, fresh texas toast and sloppy joes, lasagna and roast chicken… things I can’t execute at beezy’s due to equipment/space limitations.

    My guess is it seats about 40 people, at peak capacity it would take 2 servers, 1 cook, 1 disher/prep cook per shift- at full throttle, another person running the counter/register and probably an additional prep cook that doubled as a busser. If the average check were around 6 bucks, that’s only $250/hour max, but that’d be a sustainable target for profitability w/good management.

    I’m sitting on about 40 amazing looking applications/resumes, an almost 3 year old cafe that gets to running itself more and more without me [so much practicing] and all the dabbling I’ve dipped in the last couple years gave me cold feet but the clarity to see more of what beezy’s needs to keep growing and adapting and how I need to work differently to make those things happen. It’s akin to spacing births- beezy’s is getting ready to wean, but is still incredibly demanding [whoever said terrible 2’s hadn’t lived through 3 yet] but it’s almost ready to send off to pre school and I could consider having another “baby”.

    But here I am daydreaming. We’ll see.

  12. Andy C
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Grill cheese and a malt machines sound ideal for the place and this is coming from a vegan!

  13. kjc
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    i wish i were rich so i could give all my money to Bee.

  14. bee
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    me too kj, me too!

  15. Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    A Client of mine informed me that an Artesian Sausage place might be going in there. Perhaps, that was the person who had the deal fall through.

    The price seems a bit steep imho. Add another $50k to theme redesign/upkeep /equip/ who knows and it gets to be a pretty pricey banknote to doll out monthly.

    I could def see a Malt/Soda niche with food (obviously) being filled here. With some good old fashioned clothing being sold with the establishment logo upon it.

    Is anyone else surprised at Bee having FORTY apps/resume she is sitting on?
    Insert dumb question about wow… this economy is in peril. Nothing against Beezys btw.. just seems like an awful lot of ppl looking for work.

    Lastly, I second what kjc said.
    Bee, even in words made me downright hungry!

  16. Bob
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    The Wolverine has long been one of the best things about Ypsi.

  17. bee
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    [no offense taken Bob] I’m sitting on a thousand crappy apps, which is usual for a restaurant- sitting on 40 stellar apps for a restaurant, even in this economy is a special kind of awesome. Just sayin’.

  18. Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Bee, how many $1000 shares would you need people to pony up to make it so?

    With a pitch like that, I’m guessing you could sign up a couple-three-four folks.

  19. Bob
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Bee, no offense meant. I just love the Wolverine, always have. It’s most of what a diner should be. I often drop in to Beezy’s too. If anyone should take over that space, it should be you.

  20. bee
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    oops! Hey Bob, I meant Damon, not you, regarding applications… But thanks!!! I ate at the Wolverine a lot before beezy’s opened, and it was/is/can be a charmer.

    Murph, oh at least 185 more 1k pledges :D that’s not impossible.

  21. Posted October 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I’d buy a share. I’m sure other people would, too.

    It’s a great idea, though I might hit you up for a cup of coffee from time to time.

  22. Meta
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Ann Arbor dot com just found out that the Wolverine is for sale.

    http://annarbor.com/business-review/wolverine-grill-on-west-michigan-avenue-in-ypsilanti-listed-for-sale-after-closing-last-month/?cmpid=NL_33_block_headline

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