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Posted on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

Are P.F. Chang's and Bravo restaurant chains coming to Briarwood Mall?

By Lizzy Alfs


P.F. Chang's China Bistro was founded in Arizona in 1993. Plans submitted to the city of Ann Arbor by Briarwood Mall owner Simon Property Group include this building elevation.

Elevation by Aria Group Architects. Inc

Could P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Bravo Cucina Italiana become the next national restaurant chains to enter the Ann Arbor dining scene?

Briarwood Mall owner Simon Property Group submitted plans to the city of Ann Arbor this week to construct two restaurant buildings on the parking lot just east of the Macy’s department store.

Although Briarwood officials said there is no official announcement regarding the restaurant tenants yet, the plans include building elevations for P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Bravo Cucina Italiana — two national restaurant chains that don't have existing locations in Washtenaw County.


This building elevation was included in Simon Property Group's site plan submitted to the city of Ann Arbor this week. Bravo Cucina Italiana is part of the Bravo Brio Restaurant Group.

RSA Architects LLC

“The leases are not fully executed, and thus we don’t release this information,” said Denise Murray, Briarwood Mall’s director of marketing and business development, via email. “We would like city approval and be able to release information once the deals are finalized.”

Based in Arizona, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro was founded in 1993 and now operates more than 200 locations. The restaurants are typically built with a pair of 11-foot-tall horses near the entrance. Its menu combines influences of Chinese and American cultures, according to its website. There are nearby locations in Northville Township, Dearborn and Troy.

Bravo Cucinia Italiana is part of the Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, which operates Bravo, Brio Tuscan Grille and Bon Vie Bistro. The "upscale affordable" Bravo restaurants serve Italian food in a Roman-ruin decor, its website says. There is a Bravo restaurant in Livonia.


An aerial photo of Briarwood Mall shows the proposed restaurant buildings outlined in blue east of the Macy's department store.

Simon Property Group

Media representatives for both restaurant chains did not return requests for comment.

In the Briarwood plans submitted to the city, a representative for Simon Property Group wrote that the project would be advantageous to the city of Ann Arbor because it will “improve an existing development” and maintain the mall’s viability.

The 40-year-old mall, located at the corner of Interstate 94 and South State Street, is Washtenaw County’s largest shopping center and the city of Ann Arbor’s biggest taxpayer. Briarwood is anchored by Macy’s, Sears, JCPenney and Von Maur. The mall is undergoing a series of renovations, including energy efficiency upgrades and new entrances with automatic entry doors

Earlier this month, mall officials hosted a citizen participation meeting for its plans to build two side-by-side restaurant buildings on a portion of the mall’s parking lot, separated from Macy’s by about 10 feet on the east side of the store.


The site plan submitted to the city this week shows one restaurant would be 6,470 square feet and the other restaurant would be 7,068 square feet. Both restaurants would have outdoor dining areas.

The estimated cost of construction listed in the plans is $1,577,094.

The project requires that Simon Property Group purchase a portion of the lot from Macy’s, and the company is requesting a land division and rezoning from P (parking) to C2B (business district). About 13,500 square feet of the parking lot would be rezoned.

In addition to the restaurant construction, parking in that area would be reconfigured to face the restaurant buildings and utilities would need to be relocated. Landscape islands and LED lighting would be installed, along with new pedestrian walkways. Macy’s also plans to reorganize some of its parking and pedestrian walkways.

Hubbell, Roth & Clark’s Gary Tressel, a consulting engineer for the project, told attendees at the citizen participation meeting that there would be designated parking outside the restaurants for carryout orders, along with handicapped-accessible parking spaces close to the restaurant entrances.

If the project is approved, Simon Property Group hopes to begin preliminary site work in the fall. The restaurants have a tentative opening date of November 2014, Tressel said.

Briarwood’s proposal comes one month after Carrabba’s Italian Grill and LongHorn Steakhouse signed deals to open restaurants on Ann Arbor-Saline Road, about 1.5 miles west of Briarwood.

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Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:04 a.m.

Sounds good to me. Now Briarwood needs a Nordstrom store. Best shoe department, best chocolate chip cookies, best strawberry chicken salad, nicest sales staff.

Tom Teague

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

Posting this really entertaining and eye-opening TED talk about the search for the origins of American Chinese cuisine. And, while I'm not saying that no one makes authentic Chinese food in this area, it isn't what most of us are eating.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

Gosh, I hate when Ann Arbor grows and brings in nationally recognized upscale establishments that can compete on a regional scale. Next they'll be trying to force us all to buy drugs at Walgreen's and CVS!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

"upscale establishments" We have different views on what constitutes "upscale".


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

Remember folks; lots of restaurants at Briarwood have gone out of business due to saturation of too many in too small an area so these too may not last that long despite Business plans! For those against chains; Chipotle's is real good latin food!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

"Chipotle's is real good latin food!" Chipotle is about as latin as Taco Bell.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Chipotle isn't Latin food any more than Tio's is. But I admit it's better.

Laurie Barrett

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

People Chow ™

Jon Saalberg

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

Just because people like chains doesn't mean we need more chains. These places are time bombs of poor food choices. Yes, we are free to make whatever poor food choices we want, and as a society, we greatly suffer for those choices.

say it plain

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

I tried to post about how PF Changs gets terrible over-all food-health scores...way over-sodium and over-fat for many (but not all...there are ways to make the food less bad, but you have to know how to order) menu items, but was thwarted... Perhaps it was because I implied that the idea that any business is good business if it increases the amount of money spent locally, including money spent on health care and cosmetic procedures?! Could be!


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

Here, hear. See also all the clamoring for a Cheesecake Factory. Good heavens.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden and Bravo in the same block does not seem like a great business decision but then again what the hell do I know?!


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:04 a.m.

You know who really used to love P.F. Chang's? Estelle Costanza. Then she found out the food wasn't really Chinese, and refused to set foot in there ever again.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:36 p.m.

Ben, my go-to Chinese restaurant is and has always been Gourmet Garden on West Stadium. Middle Kingdom had decent atmosphere and prices, but they used several canned items, like mushrooms, so I wasn't that much of a fan of their food.

Ann English

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

Aren't you glad that Gourmet Garden stayed put, after another business next door left and Noodles & Company moved in? Their oolong tea tastes more like the real thing than grocery store varieties.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

P/ F. Chang's has pretty good food and service, but the horses are tackier than all get-out. Lose the horses. I'm not familiar with the other restaurant.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

I guess i'm going to buck the trend and agree with a few others that P.F Changs is overpriced and while the food is ok it's not something I would go to Briarwood for. And while it's hard to find really good Chinese food I'll stick the places I go to now. Never heard o Bravo Cucina Italiana so I'll reserve judgement but I do like going to Paesano's or Olive Garden.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:06 a.m.

Bravo is to Olive Garden like U-M football is to EMU football. A lot better, but it costs a lot more to go there.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

Read Paesano's health inspection report...


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

I keep hoping for Michigan's first Jamba Juice.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : noon

Mango go-go!

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:06 p.m.

Yeah, because what the people of Michigan really need are more carbs. I forget, where did we rank on the last obesity index? Weren't we in the top three? I say we more as a courtesy, as I get ready to go workout for two hours.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:37 p.m.

I'd strongly prefer a Pei Wei instead of a P.F. Chang's... Pei Wei is a convenient fast-casual format, less expensive, and yet has many of the same or similar menu items (lettuce wraps!). Bring Pei Wei to Arbor Hills!


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Yes, they have the same ownership, I personally don't go to P.F. Chang's specifically due to the fact that it's a more expensive, time-consuming, sit-down restaurant. (I used to live in an area where both P.F. Chang's and Pei Wei existed very near each other.) I'd rather have a Pei Wei, but hey, having BOTH a Pei Wei and a P.F. Chang's would be fine. Like I said, let's put Pei Wei in Arbor Hills. Just my 2 cents!

Hugh Giariola

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

Pei Wei is owned by PF Chang's. I agree that it would be great, but I think they're looking for more of a sit-down restaurant for that area of the mall.

Ashley Zimmerman

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

I would rather have a Brio than a Bravo. So much better!

Jennie Clark

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

Oh my gosh! I have been waiting for years to get a PF Chang's near here! I do prefer Pei Wei also but if PF Chang's is all we can get oh well! Am very excited! This better happen now that I saw it in writing!!!


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.



Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

Personally while I like PF Chang's, I would prefer a Pei Wei at this location. Same corporation, just little cheaper and much faster asian food. Very good.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:33 p.m.

I agree 100%! I hope Pei Wei comes to Arbor Hills. Fast-casual style, less expensive, and yet similar (if not the same in some cases) menu items.

Jennie Clark

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

I agree about Pei Wei! It is the bomb! I drive 40 miles one way to eat there! It is better than PF Chang's! Their tofu is better!

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

@LuvAA - I didn't know that about Pei Wei slated for Washtenaw, but I heard they were looking for another location a year ago or so.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8 p.m.

There's already a Panda Express in the mall, if you're looking for fast Chinese food...not great, but ok for on the go. Pei Wei was originally slated to come in on Washtenaw Avenue a few years back, but then the economy took a dive and development stopped. Now that Arbor Hills has opened, I wonder if they would reconsider that location.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

What's with the horses? I know in some countries they eat them, but it is largely frowned upon here.

Rick Powell

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:58 p.m.

Maybe they should use dog or cat statues


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

We should start a pool on how long it takes for one of them to end up on the Diag. Or in a frat house yard.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

The horses tell us "This is not a Chinese restaurant!"


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

Bravo! is very nice. Both of these restaurants are across the street from each other on Haggerty. This new location would be 5 miles closer for us, and convenient to things like Costco. Bravo! has an annual Lasagna Day with 50% off. Very good Lasagna. I wish they had beer on draft though, only bottles. They sell bar drinks instead.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

serious question: does the headline "Are P.F. Chang's and Bravo restaurant chains coming to Briarwood Mall?" drive more traffic than "P.F. Chang's and Bravo restaurant chains may be coming to Briarwood Mall" ???? cuz if not, cut that mess out, it's incredibly annoying -- because now I assume that whenever asks a question in a headline, they don't know the answer


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

How does Bravo compare to Macaroni Grill, Mediterrano, and Olive Garden? I think that's too many "italian style" restaurants in that area...but then again all of those restaurants are often filled so maybe the wait times will go down with a 4th one open.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

Mediterrano is not a chain is far better than any of those others mentioned. Yikes.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

I'd put Bravo in the same category as Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill, though I find Bravo slightly better the Olive Garden and I'm not a fan of Macaroni Grill. Mediterrano is quite a bit nicer then the three of those restaurants and serves Mediterranean cuisine in general instead of specifically Italian, so it's not a good comparison.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Bravo is superior to Macaroni Grill and Olive Garden. I've only been to Mediterrano once, so I can't compare.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Ugh - PFC *is* overpriced and not worth it. I do not get the appeal. That said, I hope it employs many people and it makes folks happy.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 1:40 a.m.

@johnnyA2, way to completely miss the point in favor of a rhetorical tirade.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1 p.m.

You really have no clue about economics do you? If PFC is "over priced" they would have no business. In reality, since many of them have waits to get in, it might be said they are under priced. Ir may not be worth it to YOU, but guess what, the world does not revolve around you. There are those that could say a house they bought for $100k is a good deal, but there are properties in Detroit available for less than $50k. It is called demand. If your comment is, I personally do not like PF CHANGS, that is fine, but saying they are over priced makes you look foolish.

Resident A2

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

I, for one, am thrilled. I just drove to Northville to get a Lettuce Wrap for lunch. I understand many people don't like chains, but if we are going to have them, I prefer them to be tasteful like Bravo and P.F. Changs. Thanks, Briarwood!


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 3:35 a.m.

PFC is indeed bland. Bravo, by chain standards, IMO is actually pretty good. I generally oppose chains, but IMO Bravo far eclipses Palio and Gratzi, both of which are far overpriced and wildly overrated.

Resident A2

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

I forgot to say that I went to P.F. Changs in Northville for the Lettuce Wrap.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

There's no accounting for taste, I suppose.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

Yuk ... those horse are also so cheesy ...


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

There used to be two Forbidden City restaurants in the area, I can't remember if they had horses or not though. Anybody know?

Ann English

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

I think of dragons more readily with the mention of China, but just one carved dragon in front of a Chinese restaurant would be enough. Very easy not to think of horses and China in one sentence.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

Design contest opportunity?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

@Lizzy, which is odd considering the famous terracotta horses and guard statues were located at Qin Shi Huangdi's mausoleum, and not the palace.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

According to its website, the horses symbolize the original Forbidden City in China, built for China's first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi. The restaurants also have a panoramic, hand-painted mural depicting 12th century China. (About us section on the website:


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

Wait wait, we're talking about restaurants opening in Ann Arbor and we're NOT talking about Blimpy. What the heck????? Where's the latest, up to the moment, update on Blimpy's status. A link to the kickstarter etc etc. lol ;-)


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

For the Blimpy lovers...go try Elevation Burger on Washtenaw, not far from Arborland Mall. Organic, tasty, and a healthier option to Blimpy...with awesome service! We were recently referred there and we were not disappointed.

Hugh Giariola

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

@johnny- spot on!


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

People need to realize that Blimpy is never reopening. There is nobody going to give him the sweetheart lease deal he signed many years ago. Now he is begging the public to fund a new location. I will predict there will not be a new location unless somebody else buys the name and tries to recapture it.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

Blimpy's sure isn't cheap. Everything on the burger is extra$$$$$


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

oh please no.

Ben Freed

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

Tag, I actually had a fantastic bagel at Afternoon Delight this morning prepared by Paul, the former Blimpy cook. Decided against writing an article about it though. Don't worry, we'll keep you updated on Blimpy when there is news to report.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

@Tag: If I had news for you on Blimpy, trust me, I would write it. No lease signed yet though. Don't worry, I'll keep you updated. ;)


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Economic spill over people !!! It does not matter if you like to eat locally or not, this brings more money to Ann Arbor.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

What more could you possibly ask for?

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

I never understand people getting excited about a chain opening up. By definition, it is a purveyor of food that is the same everywhere. Who wants that? I guess if you want food full of MSG, salt or sugar, chains are for you.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

With ya, Jon. Why do we want more of what we can get everywhere else? Not only can I get PF Chang at multiple locations around the metro area, I can get it at the GROCERY STORE. I am sure they will do great, people do seem to love sugar coated meat.

Hot Sam

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

Chang does not use any MSG...


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

"people getting excited about a chain opening up....Who wants that?" Obviously an awful lot of people, otherwise they would not exist...

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

andre In the land of the free he/she has the right to be & say what ever he/she wants's called freedom. So please put away your PC hand book & pick up the Constitution & The Bill Of Rights


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Such a stereotypical/racial thing to say.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

Will you people just give it a rest? We get it you don't like chains, some people do, end of story!

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

For those who haven't been to a P.F. Chang's, there's a photo gallery of one that opened in Grand Rapids in 2011 on MLive:


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

I'm all in for any business, restaurant or not out of the downtown area. Due to high parking fees I stay away from downtown as much as possible.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

I have to agree with you on this one. Unless I can get a bus into downtown and out on a schedule? I too stay away from there.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

PF Changs is overrated and overpriced Asian food that exists for American bland and trendy food sensibilities. Go to an authentic local Asian restaurant, and save some money in the process.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

"you have to know to ask" If it isn't on the menu that they give to everyone, then that restaurant doesn't serve that food, they just happen to be able to make it. This whole, "ask for the authentic menu" noise is silly. Death to menu apartheid!


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

There's plenty of authentic Chinese food around here, though you have to know what you're looking for, and in some cases, you have to know to ask. SMC is dead wrong.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

While it is not Ann Arbor, Hung Hua in Farmington Hills is one of the best in SE Michigan that I have come across. If you are a destination foodie, you will not be disappointed that you drove out 30 minutes for the experience.

Hugh Giariola

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Pho House on the corner of Washtenaw and Hewitt is great for no-nonsense Vietnamese style dishes. It's a family run business and not pretentious, just delicious.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

If you want good Asian flair there are two in Ypsilanti. Hidden Dragon, the one opposite it on Michigan and a good Korean near the Ford Road bridge. I too have heard PF is over rated as well.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

Has anyone tried the Pho House on Washtenaw? I also have had success at Lucky Kitchen up here on the Northside, you can ask for more traditional Chinese dishes.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 12:04 a.m.

I agree that PF Chang is overrated and overpriced. I tried out the restaurant at Fairlane and I thought 'Is that it?'. I will try this new location out just to make sure, but I agree about supporting smaller and more authentic Asian restaurants.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

Adding TK Wu to the list as well down on can get some authentic dishes there. I second the vote for Asian Legend! PF Chang's is NOT Chinese food, and it's sad that many people think it is...gone are the days of the authentic Chinese restaurants, like Szechuan West back in the 80s and 90s, before new owners took over and ended up closing it down. When the massive Chinese buffets came on the scene, people were looking for more bang for the buck, not necessarily quality Chinese food. It's very hard for many restaurants to stay in business these days and charge more than $15 a dish, without people complaining. Yet consumers don't hesitate to spend that kind of money down on Main Street in any of a number of American establishments.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:29 p.m.

Asian Legend for reasonable Taiwanese or decently authentic Sichuan. ChiaShiang for some interested cold or seafood Sichuan dishes Ypbor Yan for outstanding Sichuan dishes of all kinds and great DanDan Noodles. Of course, all of these restaurants serves standard US Chinese Restaurant food too - but it's not nearly as tasty as the more-authentic dishes.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

I'm all about Kai Garden in downtown! It may not be authentic, but it does suite my "midwestern American palate!"


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6 p.m.

"I like PF Changs but I barely even think of it as Chinese food." Yes, this. It's ok food, but the giant monolithic horses out front are silly, and the food is overpriced for what it is. It's not terrible though, just don't fool yourself that it is in any real way "Chinese". Just like most of the "Mexican" restaurants are essentially American-ized Tex-Mex. The idea of "authentic" is somewhat debatable though, since food changes from region-to-region, and over time as well.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

I like PF Changs but I barely even think of it as Chinese food. Asia Legend is pretty darned authentic.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

Kai Garden on Main has amazing, authentic Chinese food (in addition to the usual American-Chinese stuff). The owners are wonderful people who will always make something special for their regulars.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

The meals at a lot of the local restaurants can be as "authentic" as you want them to be. Like at say, China Gate, where you could order the standard student lunch special and get American Chinese food, or you can go deeper into their menu and specials and get some really authentic Chinese or Vietnamese food. It's all hard you want to try rather than just snark at tastes different from your own.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

My picks in the immediate A2 area would be China Gate or Hidden Dragon. Im not trying to badmouth PF Changs as a business (they obviously have a successful business model), just saying there are other alternatives to trendy chain restaurants.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

SMC, five extra thumbs up for the David Carradine reference, lol.

Edward Green

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

Chia Shiang is my favorite in the area. But might not appeal to more western tastes...i.e. more garlic, spicy and ginger. Plus the menu, like a lot of better asian restraurants, doesn't really explain to well. P.F. Changs is Chinese food meant for Western tastes...


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

Which "authentic local Asian restaurant" are you referring to? Every single Chinese restaurant in town uses the exact same menu (complete with identical food pictures, item numbers, and prices), and they all get their ingredients from the same supply house. The Thai options may be slightly better, and the Korean restaurant on Oak Valley is pretty good too, but most of the food around here has been altered to suit the midwestern American palate. In short, the "authentic" Asian food you're eating is about as Asian as David Carradine. Mind you, I'm not a fan of PF Chang's, but if people want to eat there (perhaps because they have some vendetta against their own kidneys), who am I to argue?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

So if I enjoy P.F. Chang's, and I'm willing to pay the price they're charging, does that make me some sort of inauthentic spendthrift?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Which authentic local Asian restaurant are you referencing?

Ben Freed

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

I've actually never been to PF Changs, but I hear mostly positive reviews from friends who have. What's your pick for best local Asian food in the area?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

I can predict whats going to happen next... Here come the anti-chain crowd that blasts places like these for their corporatism and doesnt want to see their little paradise of Ann Arbor to be destroyed by the giants. These businesses will bring in money to our economy especially from outside the city as well as people on business that will recongnize the names. I doubt either one of these places is going to destroy any of the small local businesses and I for one would welcome them to the briarwood area where they definitely won't destroy any "charm"


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

No chains for me. I prefer to eat local.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

Go for it! Eat local and pay 2 to 3 times what you SHOULD be paying! Pay for overpriced food. Pay for a draft beer or glass of wine that comes in at 6 or 7 dollars minimum. Go for it and stand in line like the rest of the sheep for 45 minutes. Go for it and continue to get lousy service. Go for it and pay for parking that comes in at a minimum of 3.20 for an hour and 1/2. Go for it so that when I go to a local restaurant outside of downtown I can get a seat as I / we do not have to worry about you! Did I say GO FOR IT!


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.

I hate to say it, there is a pizza place near our home that is a franchise and is owned by a local. He hires locals too. Great pizza too. I wish a better chinese restaurant would turn up in Ypsilanti. Most are turning expensive and cheap.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

One of the best and most loved chains/franchises of mine is Mancinos Pizza. Every one has a largely similar menu, but you'll find a lot of extras thrown in by every different owner. The one I used to go to in GR had wheat bread grinders that were great, and the one up in Fenton has some items the others don't. I get the impression they are a fairly "hands-off" operation.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

We won't miss you...


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

Usually these places are franchises so a local often times is the owner, and of course they employ locals. I agree that there are better choices than chains that have their menus, recipes, and ingredients decided and pre-packaged thousands of miles away, but I'll thank any business that wants to give jobs to the people of my community!


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

You're under a misconception then since many "chains" are actually franchise locations owned by "locals".


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

Eating local supports the few employees and the owner (if local). Not bad...but a place like PF would employ many local employees and likely a greater local dollar income amount, that will also be spread over more people.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

No restaurants for me. I prefer home cooking.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

I really do enjoy P.F. Chang's...crossing my fingers.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

These places would provide significant competition for those on Main St. They'll have advantages of free parking and ease of access. Hopefully, P F Chang's will fill the spot in my stomach left empty when Middle Kingdom closed.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

Ypbor Yan on Washtenaw near Golfside has a traditional sze chuan menu you can order from, or the American menu. Much better than Asia City.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

No, P.F. Chang's is not a substitute for Middle Kingdom. Sadly.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.

The Washtenaw corridor now sports a new Pho House, and I don't think the chinese food over there (Asia City, etc) is all that bad. No PF Chang's for me...


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

China King on Jackson is small. The food has been fresh and with good flavor for my two visits. It has gotten good reviews.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

@ChrisW: As I understand it, Middle Kingdom will not be reopening. The new owner of that building is working with a different tenant, although I don't have any details. She also owns the neighboring Chocolate House building.

Ben Freed

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

ChrisW, That's a good question. We've reached out a number of times to the new owner of the Middle Kingdom location but have yet to receive word from them on the reopening plans. They initially told us it was going to happen as soon as possible but we're as in the dark as you are on that one. We have been making sure to keep tabs on the property though and we'll be sure to get an update out there when there is one.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

Ben, I've not found a go to Chinese food place yet. MK was so far above the rest, it was ridiculous.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

San Fu is ok, but it's no Middle Kingdom replacement. Whatever happened to the plans to reopen MK with a new owner, Ben?

Ben Freed

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

It will be interesting to see how the chains affect the amount of parking available at Briarwood. It's always free but not always available. What's your new go-to spot for Chinese? Or have you not found one since MK left?