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Posted on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor family will open new restaurant in ex-Flim Flam space

By Paula Gardner

A local family with experience running a restaurant will be opening a coffee house/café in the former Flim Flam Family Restaurant on Ann Arbor’s north side.

The Song family signed a lease for the 3,200-square-foot restaurant space on Plymouth Road this month, after the owner of the Flim Flam closed his operation in early November after 30 years.


Joseph Tobianski |

“We’ll be gutting the entire space,” said Jenny Song. “We’re starting from new. It’ll be really exciting.”

Song and her mother, Youn Song, will be creating the concept, which so far doesn’t have a finalized name.

Youn Song started BeWon Korean Cuisine in Plymouth Green Mall, located about 1/2-mile east of the former Flim Flam space on Plymouth Road.

The malls are owned by the same company - entities of Hutton Management Services - and the Songs’ familiarity with the company, the area and the restaurant business all made them stand out among competitors for the location.

Several prospective tenants sought the space, said Bela Sipos of Reinhart Commercial. The landlords wanted a complementary business that wouldn’t compete with existing restaurants in their properties.

“It was basically a decision over who would be the best fit,” Sipos said.

The space, which seats 125, was listed for $16 per square foot per year. Jenny Song did not have an estimate on her initial investment for the new venture.

The Songs expect to open in the spring, after they conclude the extensive renovations.

Their new restaurant will emphasize brunch and lunch, “focusing on artisan and high-quality ingredients,” Jenny Song said.

There will be homemade and locally sourced baked goods, with an espresso bar likely offered in a smaller room that will be located off of the main dining room. In that room, there will be window-side counter seating and a larger eating area “where people can study or gather or come to have a meal,” Song said.

The décor, she added, will have both European and vintage influences.

“It will be updated and modern, but with a vintage feel as well,” she said.

Song grew up in Ann Arbor, graduating from Huron High School and the University of Michigan before heading to the University of Chicago for a master’s of business administration.

She recently returned to town, she said, “so this is also the perfect opportunity to join my passion for entrepreneurship with my mom's experience in the restaurant business. “

Meanwhile, Youn Song sold BeWon a few years ago, but has been wanting to get back into the industry, her daughter said.

Jenny Song said she hopes her new venture adds something unique to the local restaurant scene, which has many chain restaurants outside of downtown.

That local touch, she said, is what she thinks “a lot of Ann Arborites are looking for. … I think there’s an opportunity to provide something that’s not generic.”

Paula Gardner is News Director of She can be contacted by email. Follow her on Twitter.



Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

Be Won has delicious food and terrific service. Hope this will as good!

Dug Song

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

Awesome - really looking forward to this! Sort of like a Bell's Diner, North (I hope)?


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:07 a.m.

Forbidden City would crush Evergreen today.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

I can't wait for this restaurant to open - I can only take so much Zoup and Jimmy Johns!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

I sure hope brunch starts early. Brunch 8 by or else its too late? Has anyone else noticed that traditional Asian morning food options are nonexistent in the USA? It would be nice to have options like that here. I miss that from my time spent in Asia. These options are Cheap! too! which fits the Michigan paradigm (including AA).


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:01 a.m.

Brunch is a mid to late morning meal; I doubt 8 AM would ordinarily qualify as anything other than breakfast. They may offer Asian morning food. Unlike the apparent certainty of some previous commenters, I am not so sure that they will not be offering any Asian food. The article simply doesn't state what type of cuisine is planned.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

There is no elephant in the room other than the fact that this plaza is on the rise and becoming one of the more diverse and interesting plazas in town. Also, it is made up of mainly local busineses. Any one who frequents the I do...would be excited to see the foot traffic generated by the new Way 1 Asian market and the new Indian supermartket, in addition to the success of the Wine Seller and the great foundation of Carpenter Hardware and many other businesses like the yoga spot, Itayoga, the Chinese restaurant, and a successful Rite Aid. I think something new going in the Flim Flam spot should do well. Meanwhile, across the street, we have a vacant Blockbuster and soon to be vacant Treetown toys.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

I miss eating at Evergreen! It's superb!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.

Yes, it's a nice little mall. We live nearby and treasure the businesses there. We were sad to see the Flim Flam close but the new place sounds promising.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

The elephant in the room here to me is the run-down condition of that shopping plaza and its parking lot, especially when you compare it to the nice appearance of plaza next door where Kroger is. I don't frequent that plaza because it looks so run-down and neglected. Also, what is up with the sign in the parking lot that says some kind of mixed-use building is supposed to be built in that parking lot? Won't that hurt businesses in that plaza even more by obstructing the view from Plymouth Road?


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:36 a.m.

Don't judge a book by its cover. Evergreen is an amazing and tasty Chinese restaurant. Next door to that is a Asian market. Go in. Look around. Buy something that you don't even know what it is. Be amazed! And what about Baskin Robins? Great ice cream! The hardware store there has a little bit of everything.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

Is the color Brown contrasting with your Aura, and thus you stay away? Crappy McMansion-brick is going to look tackier faster than the 70's did.

Tex Treeder

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

A good quality, affordable lunch/brunch place in that location would be great. The sooner, the better.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

Sounds wonderful!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

We need a good brunch place on the far NE side. Looking forward to the opening.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

Well, the food and service at Be Won is phenomenal, so they have a good starting point.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:04 a.m.

or maybe it was 2003, it was around the time I started working off of Plymouth Road. Anyhow, best darn spicy pork in the area. I do have a fondness for Steve's lunch though, brings back great memories, sitting along that counter top, waiting for the dish to get done with my Powell and Peralta Tony Hawk board at my side.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:01 a.m.

Be Won is the same today as it was in 2002 when I first went there, which is more than a few years ago.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Her mother sold that restaurant a few years ago so I'm not sure how that compares. Do you people actually read the article?


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

I wish them well! Especially with the building dept!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

Will there be beer?


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

With Brunch, Gross.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

Nothing is as good as fresh asian food especially Korean. Great flavors. Should have veggie crunch and not overly cooked soft veggies. If you like Southwestern you should enjoy the bite of Korean heat. The dish is generally cooked when you order. Can't wait till the open.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5:42 a.m.

It's a good thing this is in Ann Arbor. There's 964 Korean restaurants here for you to choose from


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

She's not opening a Korean restaurant.

Mary Bilyeu

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

It will be great to have that space filled again, and to have a new place to eat that isn't a chain ... :)

Jack Johnson

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

Let's hope Jenny and Youn keep it local when it comes to the construction of their new restaurant.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

I can't wait! The Nouvelle North rocks!!!!

Jerome Blue

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

Oh great, another coffee joint. Well, I wish them well, but am doubtful. The Flim Flam closed because of lack of business. Good luck to them!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 11:42 a.m.

Good luck and best wishes to the new owners. Hope all works out well.