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Posted on Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Ypsilanti's ex-Bombadill's Cafe to reopen with new owners as B-24's Espresso Bar

By Tom Perkins


The former Bombadill's Cafe will soon reopen as B-24's Espresso Bar, Eats and Entertainment.

Tom Perkins | For

New owners of the former Bombadill’s Cafe are inching closer to revealing what’s in the works behind the downtown Ypsilanti coffee shop’s closed doors and drawn shades.

The owners, Tom and Martha Rumford, have assembled a team of employees and expect remodeling to wrap up within the next couple weeks. Upon completing the makeover and attending to regulatory requirements, the Rumfords plan to unveil B-24’s Espresso Bar, Eats and Entertainment.

The goal is to be serving coffee this winter, roughly six months after Bombadill’s was shuttered.

But what will set B-24’s apart form the three other coffee shops in Ypsilanti’s downtown regions?

A focus on and passion for high quality beans, Tom Rumford says. The Rumfords and their manager, a former Bombadill’s employee, describe themselves as coffee connoisseurs and are highlighting their choice of locally roasted beans from respected roasters.

Among that group are Ann Arbor roasters Roos Roast, Mighty Good and Ferndale-based Chazzano. The focus will be on pour over coffee, and plans for offering standard drip, french press and the espresso options are still being worked out.

"It will appeal to a base of coffee drinkers who are a little more sophisticated than average, so they will realize they can get good coffee from us and keep coming back," Rumford said, adding that it will still be friendly to those who are just looking for a quick caffeine fix.

Rumford hopes draw a connection with the local community — the B-24's name is a nod to the area’s industrial past when the World War II bombers were made in Ypsilanti Township — and believes he has a solid location with the nearby neighborhoods, downtown business district and Eastern Michigan University College of Business.

Inside, the space will see a general overhaul, and Rumford, who owns the 100 year old building, plans to highlight the structure's features, such as its original maple floor. A new coat of paint softens the walls, new table tops are planned, and the floor layout will be slightly different.

“I think it will have a familiar feel, although it will have a different theme,” Rumford says. "We're trying to continue to make it a comfortable place."

Food-wise, expect made to order sandwiches, bagels, in-house baked goods, ice cream, soups made from scratch and other menu items with an emphasis on quality, and — when possible — local ingredients.

All the former Bombadill’s baristas have been asked to join B-24’s team, and Rumford says one of the shop's strengths will lie in a knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff.

No live music schedule is set, but Rumford said one will find singer/songwriters and other coffehouse-friendly musicians.

The Rumfords own the building at 217 W. Michigan Ave. at which Bombadill’s owner Peter Rinehart leased the first floor for six years. Upstairs are three apartments, and the Rumfords also rent a house on Hamilton Street closer to Eastern Michigan’s campus. Rumford declined to say why Rinehart closed shop, and was unable to reach Rinehart for comment.

After the first floor became vacant, the Rumfords entertained several business ideas but ultimately decided they love coffee and said they believe they can succeed by offering a high quality product in a downtown location.

“The base remains, and it’s an excellent place to come for a good cup of coffee. It’s in a good location, it’s a cool spot, so we’re going to try to make the numbers work, and we think we got a formula to do it,” Rumford says.

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.


Angela Barbash

Thu, Dec 9, 2010 : 11:19 p.m.

@Bee -- Good job sticking up for Ypsi! It really is a full time job anymore to show people the brighter side of this town... @Lisa're right, the bright side to this little known secret called Ypsi is that it's here for us and those we invite in, while the naysayers stay out in places like Ann Arbor and Royal Oak. Which is fine by me.;) @ShadowManager -- I'm not sure what has taken so long for them reopen, but perhaps it involves things other than remodeling; licensing, permits, equipment purchases and installs, capital... @jns131 -- really? you had to go there? :/


Tue, Dec 7, 2010 : 9:45 p.m.

The truth be told about Bombadills? He ran that biz into the ground. Then he ignore the taxes to boot. To keep the name? You have to pay his back taxes and every other bill that goes with it. Sad, but the owner had a great thing going and a great vision. We do know this couple and do know the back side to this sad ending. Hate to think of the feds breathing down my neck.


Tue, Dec 7, 2010 : 6:53 p.m.

Great News! All the best to B-24's grand opening!!! Now if I only lived closer I would buy my morning coffee there every day. PS, Great name :-)


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 5:23 p.m.

Bee: It is hard to start a business anywhere. However, there are some challenges unique to Ypsilanti. Property taxes for businesses are much higher then they'd be in Ann Arbor. So is insurance. It may be easier for the new owner to do well because he owns the building. So he requires less profit to maintain the building. I for one like the building of the Bombadills Cafe. The atmosphere was nice. However, parking stinks and at night you don't always feel safe over there.

Lisa Bashert

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 4:29 p.m.

Ssssssshhhh, Bee!!! You're blowing our cover, man! No really, Ypsi is horrible. Nothing happening. Move along. Nothin to see here.


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

well, thanks all! *positivity*


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 3:12 p.m.

It still seems silly to me that they took this long to open a coffeeshop in the exact same place that was already a coffeeshop for the last 3 businesses that were there! Mr. Muggs, M-something Cafe, a loooooooong period of remodeling into, yes, a cafe, Bombadils, and now, after being closed 6 months for yet more remodeling, another coffeeshop. Wood floors and fancy lighting don't bring people in, being OPEN for BUSINESS brings people in. How many times do people who want to have a coffeeshop in that location need to close to remodel?


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 2:21 p.m.

@ Bee- Thank you!! Very well said and very true. I love Ypsilanti and like many others, see the potential and awesomeness that is here. I can only hope other entrepreneurs and business owners will also see how much us residents love this city and want the local businesses to succeed. @ Andy- Great idea. Love the collaboration that takes part in this city. I'm getting ready to find businesses to collaborate with the salon I work at downtown and hope to find others willing to work together! Ypsi forever! :)


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 1:44 p.m.

@ Bee....Thank you! So true...myth busting can be a full time job...people just love talking trash. YPSI ROCKS.


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 12:06 p.m.

I agree with Bee. Ypsi has a lot going for it. I've heard the naysayers for the 21 years I've lived here and they have been, consistently, wrong. Ypsilanti is a lovely, vital town. The B-24 will be yet another attraction and I wish them all the success in the world.


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 12:05 p.m.

Amen to Bee also! :)


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 11:28 a.m.

@Top Cat, since you posted as you did, might I suggest some living history nights hosted by YAF at the new B-24, if the owners are game? The marketing opportunity for both speaks for itself....

Top Cat

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 10:29 a.m.

Just me, but being a Member of the Yankee Air Museum, I love the name. I immediately circulated this article to many in our organization. It would be nice to see downtown Ypsi become the "destination" that Depot Town is.

Pete Murdock

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

@Bee Amen!


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 9:58 a.m.

It is so sad to see the original owners of Bombadills let the place go. The owners we knew and wish things could have been different. I wish the new owners luck in this tough economy. Winning the old clientele over is going to take some convincing. I also wish the name could have different as well, but this is me.


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 9:40 a.m.

glimmertwin, and everyone else... it's hard to start a business. anywhere. period. Just had to get that off my chest. Now, Ypsi has some amazing opportunities for startups- the rent is much cheaper, the residents WANT businesses to succeed, and in my experience, *everyone* in every department has been very willing to work with individuals to make things work on every possible level. It's disheartening to see so many closed shops right now, and I'm anxious for B-24's to open, more businesses means more business!! But I also hope inspired individuals willing to make investments in Ypsi because they see OPPORTUNITY, not decay and demise. There is LIFE here, creative, open, engaged, aware, supportive community members who work their asses off every day. And there's others who've made poor choices or bad decisions, but that's not Ypsi's fault- happens everywhere. People are people.


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 8:22 a.m.

I didn't even realize that Bombadills had closed. Too bad, he soaked alot of money into that place with new hvac when he first opened it. I wish the new owners luck. Starting any type of business in Ypsi is going out on a major limb. You can't tell the players without a scorecard.


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 8:21 a.m.

When I visit my brother in the Capitol Hill section of Washington, D.C., that area has many independently owned eateries and coffeeshops. Those places give Capitol Hill a sense of uniqueness and community. Therefore, I am glad to see downtown Ypsilanti reopen these type of establishments. B-24 and the other places in Ypsi downtown are helping to develop that same sense.

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

Ignatz - thanks for the update. Any eatery that has lasted as long as the Bomber must be doing something right.


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 7:57 a.m.

Elaine: The Bomber is alive and well at the same location. No terrorism there, unless you think the huge potion of potatoes they give you constitute a WMD.

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 7:46 a.m.

Is this any kin to the Bomber Restaurant that was in Ypsi forever? I suppose in this age of terrorism the name has a different meaning than celebrating the planes once built at Willow Run, but it was a part of history for the area.