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Posted on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Grand Traverse Pie Co. closes less than a year after opening in downtown Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs


Grand Traverse Pie Company franchisee Dave Ziegler closed his East Liberty Street location after opening in May 2012.

Angela Cesere | file photo

Grand Traverse Pie Company franchisee Dave Ziegler said he made a tough business decision this month when he closed his restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor.

“It just turns out that our menu did not seem to be the right fit for downtown Ann Arbor,” Ziegler said.

The restaurant at 505 E. Liberty St. closed on Saturday less than a year after opening.

“It was a business decision to get out of it before we got in trouble,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler and his wife, Beth, own the Grand Traverse Pie Co. restaurant at 291 N. Zeeb Road. In May 2012, the couple opened the 3,185-square-foot restaurant in the former @burger space on East Liberty Street.

Ziegler said business is strong at his Zeeb Road location, but downtown Ann Arbor diners just didn’t catch on to the restaurant’s fast-casual menu. He said the diverse dining scene downtown creates a lot of competition for restaurant owners.

“We’re doing really well (on Zeeb),” he said. “Out of all the Grand Traverse Pie Company locations, Zeeb is usually one or two in all categories in sales. For some reason, our menu just didn’t seem to attract enough people in downtown Ann Arbor.”

He added: “We just appreciate the guests that we were able to serve there, and we feel bad that we’re not able to stay there.”

Ziegler is in the process of vacating the East Liberty Street space. Representatives with landlord McKinley Inc. said there are no immediate plans to announce regarding the space.

Founded in Traverse City by Mike and Denise Busley, there are 14 Grand Traverse Pie Co. restaurants in Michigan and Indiana. The restaurant’s menu consists of pies and other sweets, deli sandwiches, salads, soups and breakfast foods.

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



Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 3:30 a.m.

The prices may be a little high, but at least all the baked goods are edible. When I visited the Achatz place, it was horrible. Bought a berry pound cake & it was so dry, all it did was crumble. Could not even cut a slice it was so dry.


Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 2:10 a.m.

" turns out our menu wasn't the right fit for Ann Arbor..." Let's see. Lack of parking. Foot traffic in a heavy populated student area. No other business near to attract the casual shopper. A pie shop in the middle of campus is not a destination place. Who thinks of driving to campus for pie? To quote Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman", "...big mistake, huge, I'm going shopping now....bye"


Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

This place is literally in between 2 large parking garages. Those are for parking in.


Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 12:04 a.m.

I'm opening three Ann Arbor Pie Company stores this summer. Acme, Empire and Long Lake. Y'all come up!

Jason Colman

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

The place was OK, but $7-8 for a half sandwich and a small cup of soup was a pretty poor deal compared to the competition (say, Potbelly), and the food was not good enough to make it worth the extra $$.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

One big reason that it failed was that they did not sell alcohol. Folks don't want to come to downtown/campus at night during prime dining hours and not drink. I think a restaurant with some good original cuisine and a good bar menu would do nicely there. They actually have one of the only other patio spaces that could accommodate a good number of diners besides Charlie's on South U.

Widow Wadman

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Bummer. I was hoping for a free slice of pie on Pi day, 3/14 (Thursday).

Alfred E. Newman's Ghost

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

Oh, man, you shouldn't close now - at least wait until you rake in your profits from the Hash Bash next month.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

GTPC closing is good news, indeed. I hope sooner rather than later they close the Zeeb Road location too. This restaurant is unhealthy (no monopoly on that), overpriced, and even makes lousy-tasting pies. I have been worse than unimpressed on my three visits.

Atticus F.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

I'm so tired of failed buisiness owners saying thing like "the homeless are the ones that caused my business to fail"... No, YOUR poor business making decisions are what caused YOUR business to fail! Take some personal responsibility for your own poor judgement, and your foolish idea for a business, and stop trying to shift the blame on the poorest, most valnurable mebers of our society.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Nic says: "Their pies have an awful list of ingredients. The filling was purchased in bulk and not fresh. They seem to have removed the ingredients listings from their website." Removing the ingredient list from the website is likely a reaction to the closing of the Main St store. If the other store on Zeeb has been successful, they probably don't want to "taint" that clientele with too much a list of ingredients that may have been part of the reason they weren't successful in downtown A2. Not a good sign. What are they hiding by removing the ingredient list? Too many trans fats?


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:04 a.m.

My husband and I typically predict the life of the new restaurants opening up in town. We gave this one six months, and we were close. I don't know why business owners don't consult long-time residents who have a good read of the potential success of a business from their years of living in and experiencing the city. We regularly see business owners fixing up the new space with so much hope and feel sorry for them, knowing that they will be closing too soon.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:54 a.m.

This will be a great spot for the right restaurant when it comes along. I've been noticing how empty it was in there lately. I almost stopped to take a picture the other night when it was prime time and many downtown restaurants were hopping and there were two lonely people inside Grand Traverse Pie Co. sitting in the middle of a huge empty room eating by themselves. Looking forward to somebody having success in this spot eventually. Best wishes to Dave Ziegler and his wife as they move forward.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:40 a.m.

I like their lakeshore berry crumb pie, but someone ought to taste their banana cream- I've tried it at least 3 times, always hoping it will change, but th bananas are ALWAYS UNRIPE. Yuck!


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:42 a.m.

Not as good as Achatz.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:24 a.m.

If they would have had vegetaran/vegan pot pies, it wouldn't have hurt.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

Yes it would have.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:50 a.m.

Their pies have an awful list of ingredients. The filling was purchased in bulk and not fresh. They seem to have removed the ingredients listings from their website. Won't miss them. Maybe someone making real pie will take the space.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

Coming soon... Hooters.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

Please let this be true!

David Paris

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:35 a.m.

I hope you're kidding!

Life in Ypsi

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

Open up at the empty Baker's Square. in front of the Kroger plaza on Whittaker Road. We do have money to eat at good places out here despite what some might think :)


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:34 a.m.

I was there a few weeks ago. I've been to other locations but this one was just not the same. The grilled sandwiches were just lightly heated (which, in a grilled cheese really sort of defeats the entire purpose) and overall just not that great. The most frustrating part is that after we were finished with our meal the four of us wanted to by some slices of pie to go. We stood at the counter... and stood... and stood.. and NO ONE came to help us. Finally after about 8 minutes we just left. Too bad, I really love the pie and the sandwiches are very good at their other locations (specifically Troy).

Ken Olson

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:18 a.m.

I love pie. I'm not a health nut. But, Grand Traverse Pie Company uses trans fat in almost everything they sell. Come on, change the recipes; it's a made-made fat proven to cause health problems. It's no longer even used by McDonald's, Burger King, or the wonderful Washtenaw Dairy donuts! I did eat at the location once.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:53 a.m.

Their business model was wrong. This is downtown Ann Arbor. The pies should have been at least $30 and have fancy European names like pasteitje or taarts. Throw lipservice to "locally sourced" food and "organic" and count the Priuses rolling up to spend their cash. This model was too American and if there is one thing that doesn't fly downtown it is anything typically American.

Tom Joad

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

there's no shortage of places to eat in Ann Arbor and--never stepped foot in that place. I was given a GTPC pie once, how much pie can one man actually eat? I guess the memory of that turned me off from going in. I'm more sad that the Indian buffet Mahek Indian Cuisine on East Washington is shuttered--they had an awesome spread for lunch


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

I already miss it!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 11:53 p.m.

Need to check to see where they moved the headstones.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

If they came to downtown Ypsilanti, right next to the tea and coffee shops, this place would have survived. Unlike some cookie factory opening up at midnite.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

Ooops. 1 pm to 3 am.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Only open two hours a day?


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Willful ignorance is the worst kind of ignorance, jns. Insomnia Cookies won't open at midnight. The store on South U opens at 1 pm and closes at 3 pm. Sheesh.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

This has nothing to do with rent, parking, panhandlers, etc. It's the wrong type of restaurant for that location. I was next door Friday evening waiting in a line out the door at the Tomukun Noodle Bar. Meanwhile the GTPC had only one customer inside. And GTPC's location is twice the size of Tomukun. I was joking that they should rent out their tables to Tomukun customers.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

Kyle - I'm certainly no expert and, I agree, there are a lot of restaurants opening up lately. Ann Arbor is turning into a restaurant-based economy. But the success of places like Mani, Sava's, Bar Louie, etc. show that people respond to an eclectic spin on traditional favorites in a lively atmosphere. Eating at those places makes you feel good. Same with Tomukun. I do think a restaurant that close to the campus needs to a lower price point and faster table turnover to survive. Lena, Logan, Pacific Rim, etc., they would all have trouble in that spot, I bet. Clearly it won't work right next door to Tomukun, but an energetic place like wagamama would do well in Ann Arbor. It's a European noodle chain with a few locations in the Boston area.

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:21 a.m.

I agree. If Tomukun can afford it, they should expand into that space.

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

Hi snark- Any thoughts on what type of restaurant would be fitting? Honestly, I'm drawing a blank on this one as many of the places that would work either have existing location or have been unsuccessful in the area. I actually think the 'World of Beers' that is opening later this year would have worked well here considering the size of the outdoor patio, but they're already committed to the Landmark Tower in South U

Rebecca Morche'

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

To the owners of GTPC....You should research the Belleville area near 94/Belleville Road for a restaurant! I think your restaurant would do so well out this way. The closest one for us is either Plymouth or the other side of Ann Arbor. The Belleville road corridor is very busy would make it so much more convenient for me to visit your restaurant too! YUM! :)


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Yes bellevillians do not care about their health so this would be a logical choice. Maybe right next to culvers so the cows can get a buttered bun burger before their pie dessert!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

Ypsilanti and yes, Belleville areas.

Giacomo Senna

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

For those who want to pin this on location and/or panhandling I offer Mani as a counter argument. Less than a block away from this and directly across the street from Liberty Square and yet they have thrived since opening. The difference is that Mani offers what the market wants downtown and Grand Traverse Pie did not.

Jojo B

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Tio's has a loyal following, but @say it plain, you're right. It's Tex Mex at its most basic. It's not Sabor Latino or the classic La Fiesta Mexicana in Ypsi. But it survives because it has its niche audience. I eat there for memories of college fun even though it is "El Paso"-ish. I suppose Travel Channel shows like the "Man vs. Food" conquering the El Nachismo challenge (20 pounds of Velveeta poured on top of Tostitos chips) also helps! LOL.

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 11 p.m.

I just took a look at their menu for their new location, and it seems that perhaps now they've stopped with the refrieds from a can, but I'm sure they did this at their old place! Once I saw it, I never went back and thusly had no interest in checking out their new operation, so, please, excuse me for assuming they still were a canned-beans kinda place if that has changed in their new digs.

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:52 p.m.

The old el paso cans view-able from the back alley at their old location, plus my impressions of their food when I ate there years ago, are my 'sources' for that claim.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

Tios is about as far from old el paso as you can get....I'm not sure what restaurant you're thinking of...

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

I essentially commented the same in reply to a 'the location stinks' comment above, and my post was deleted as a violation. I agree! Rents are high as @JRW points out, so you need to have a business model that takes this into account (your margins have to be good to cover, etc), but, there are multiple ways to have a model that works and multiple ways to have a failing one. I am surprised that Tios can make it down there, because their food is Old El Paso but somehow maintains a following...that to me is the bigger mystery than the Pie Company missing the mark downtown.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

Too many businesses think they can open up, hang a shingle, and cash in on the rich students and parents in AA. They don't do a realistic assessment of the oversaturation of existing businesses aimed at the same population. This leads to a revolving door of businesses opening and closing with ever greater frequency. There is a saturation point, and in my view, it has been exceeded. There are far too many overpriced mediocre restaurants already in downtown AA. At some point in the future, downtown and the campus area will be mostly chains, the only retail and restaurants that can survive the excessively high rents. Unfortunately, AA isn't interested in a diverse downtown with retail and services and urban housing for anyone over 22.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:34 a.m.

Good assessment. Sad, but true...


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

Well, lots of issues there. Tasty but extremely overpriced pies. Unhealthy choices. Too many other restaurants in downtown, too many actually overall. Not enough diversity in downtown retail and services in general. This is only the start. The revolving door will continue. Panhandlers and high rent contribute as well.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Overpriced compared to Hostess perhaps. You need only travel to the Church of the Z to find truly overpriced cuisine.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

It isn't their business model that is the problem, it's the bad location. @Burger failed in that same location.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Isn't Five Guys a national franchise? I thought it was already settled that the discriminating downtown diners only accept healthy, unique food from trendy restaurants owned and operated by twenty year olds.

David Paris

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:58 a.m.

You're half-right. It was a combination of the two. Wrong location for THAT business model.

Reverend Bubba X

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

@burger had good burgers and beer on tap. And wasn't obnoxiously loud like 5 Guys. The problem was the staff: mopey hipsters staring disdainfully at the customers.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:30 a.m.

Another bad business model. Open an unknown burger place a block and a half from they eagerly-anticipated Five Guys.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

Too bad. I was a fairly regular customer for lunch, mainly because it's a block from my office. But truth be told, the food is pretty unremarkable. Good, not great. If you're gonna survive in downtown A2 making sandwiches and pie, there better be something special about it.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:24 p.m.

That's too bad. But it was probably a mismatch between the heavy student population in that area and their real target customers. A lot of businesses don't really do a sophisticated analysis of this when they locate a new restaurant or other type of business. It seems crazy given how much money it costs to open a new location. I don't think the healthiness (or lack thereof) of their food made any difference to their success in this location. Most of the campus area restaurants serve food loaded with fat, sodium, and sugar. The fact that their Zeeb location is doing well attest to this.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

I agree. At least they had the good sense to pull the plug when they recognized their unfortunate decision.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:24 p.m.

My wife and I went there a couple of times. The food was really only so-so. With so much competition just blocks away, you really have to do something to stand out, and TPC just didn't do that. Look at the other places right near there: Noodles, TK Wu, lab, Tio's. They all offer something unique. Even Bar Louie--a chain--offers a kind of hip, urban bar experience. All four of those establishments have been there for years now and seem to be thriving, so I don't think it's a problem with the location.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Tio's is uniquely terrible.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Tio's? What they offer that is unique is the least authentic, overpriced, supposed Mexican food in the Midwest.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

Downtown diners are more interested in unique, not chains. It would do better at the mall or something. No more chains, please.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

Cosi is closed. In its place is a small chain of Middle Eastern food. (as in they have one other location I believe)


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Cosi has been closed for years.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

So that's why Potbelly, Five Guys, Cosi, and Starbucks are all thriving in that same area. Gotcha.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Yes, those sophisticated downtown diners need more independent pizza parlors to satisfy their adventurous pallets.

David Paris

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

My sentiments exactly! In fact, I just mentioned that to Doug, above. Had I gotten to your post sooner, I'd just have given you a thumbs up, rather than wasting my breath!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

Grand Traverse Pie Company sounds like a store that sells pies only. The name does not attract me to eat there.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:29 a.m.

Not everyone is up on the all the chain restaurants in the world.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

How about Cheesecake Factory? Do you think they sell only cheesecakes?


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:34 p.m.

I do Tim Hortons. I know I am going to get coffee and a donut and/or a bagel. Come to Ypsilanti, especially Blimpie, we will find a nice home for you.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

Ever been to Panera Bread Company? Were you surprised when they had something other than bread?

Paul Wiener

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

Completely predictable from the word go. Impossible for me to understand why any enterprising businessman wouldn't know this.

Jenn McKee

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

I never welcome news of a business closing, but I must confess that this doesn't surprise me too much. The one time I popped in, there was live music that was a little overwhelming for the lunch hour, so the staff had to scream customers' names when the food was ready. It all seemed to suggest a place that was trying a bit too hard.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

Seems to me that one's subjective opinion that music is too loud leads to the conclusion that they are trying too hard, is itself trying too hard.

say it plain

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

Hooray, their food was full of transfats and sodium..I'm glad people voted with their wallets to keep them out of downtown. I'd never bothered attending to their pricing given the ingredients, but, yes, if even their prices were not appealing, then why wouldn't people instead buy the yummy pies from Achatz (no transfats and many of them even *vegan* as I understand it) or Zingerman's (butter sure, but that's better for you than artificially hydrogenated fats GTPC uses!)?

say it plain

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

well, I can't account for taste, and I'll surely double-check when next I have some, but Achatz's web site says they do not use 'chemicals or preservatives' in their pies. If that can allow a loophole of 'artificial whipped cream' then I would be surprised, but food claims should always be checked. If I hadn't looked to see what's really in the GTPC products I wouldn't have known they were full of transfats!


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 9:55 a.m.

Achatz uses artificial whipped cream on many of their pies. I will never go there again.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:40 a.m.

UUUHHHH. I tried an Achatz pie once, and it was terrible!!! Never go there again!


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:15 a.m.

When I checked ingredients in a Zingerman's pie a couple of years ago, the shortening wasn't butter. Maybe some crusts are butter, but not all, at least then. Also, comparing a Zingerman's brownie with a TPC brownie, the TPC brownie's taste and ingredients surpassed the Zingerman's brownie.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

I was amazed at the beginning thinking no way would this restaurant survive on Campus.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

My, such a great business person, blessed with clairvoyance. You should offer consulting services, given your successful track record in business startups, right?


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

Well, shoot, now I have to plan ahead for Pi Day this week.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

Parking! Would I search for a parking space in downtown Ann Arbor just to buy a great pie? No! But I do buy them at the other location where parking is right in front of the place!

David Paris

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:53 a.m.

Exactly! GTP is attractive to suburbanites, not Townies. Townies are authentic Locavores. CCF will have the same exact problem, they also need to be at Zeeb/Jackson rds, or similar if they expect to survive. You've got to be where YOUR customers are, and Townies don't want franchises, suburbanites do (typically). Similarly, @Burger probably would have done fine out on Carpenter, or near Best Buy, but obviously, Liberty wasn't the place.

Jojo B

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

No disrespect to this franchise, but it was extremely difficult to find very many healthy things. Items like the pot pies are dreadfully unhealthy with about 2000% of your daily recommended saturated fat. Being an irritating hipster who's pretending to want to live a healthy lifestyle, I just couldn't bring myself to eat at a place like this, even though I'm sure it would have tasted good. Perhaps a free Lipotor with every pie would have sold me.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

New location for Blimpy Burgers!

Hot Sam

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:49 a.m.



Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:35 p.m.

They have to be out by July. Think Ypsilanti.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

yeah---perfect for Blimpy Burgers! where are they moving to anyway?


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

excellent idea!!!!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

The Cheese Factory would be great!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

They talked about their pies being natural, but they put artificial ingredients in them. Kept me away.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

Please do something about the beggers and fix our roads.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

Menu was limited. Most of this stuff you can get at Panera and people are creatures of habit when it comes to dining. Unless it has something new and different, people don't see a reason to give it a try. Had it a couple of times for work meetings, but it was never a place that anyone was excited for as a lunch option. Unfortunate that it didn't work, but I'm not surprised.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:47 a.m.

Amen, indymama. I have no idea why so many people like Panera. Don't forget most their foods are tasteless and dry.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

Panera...ugh. Their sandwiches are mostly bread! Huge rolls with a little something inside. But their coffee is OK.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

Unlike panera, you could at least get a seat at TPC


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

nice spot for a dispensary


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:49 p.m.

That might have helped the pie business.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

The pies are tasty, I'll give them that...but they are ridiculously overpriced. You can get away with that if you've got that Z name attached to you...


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1 a.m.

I find them fairly priced - and they are delicious.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

Ridiculously overpriced compared to what? Hostess pies? Maybe. But they're certainly better than the run of the mill grocery store pies.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:44 p.m.

I though it was a pie shop only?

Anthony Clark

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:50 a.m.

Their slogan is "we're only part pie".


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

A coworker raved about a breakfast sandwich they had there, and it looked pretty good to me, sorry to see it go before I tried one.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:33 a.m.

Oh my gosh. I must be tired...Sorry about all the misspellings in my previous post!.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:32 a.m.

Their pies are absolutel the very best!!! Thier sanwiches and soup were just as good. I love their Blueberry Crumb is the best pie I'ver ever eated! Their salads are very good, healthy and large. So is the soup, althoiugh I usually have a sandwich or salad. All excellent, FRESH, and Fantastic!!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

Hence my point on the name...


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

No, they had sandwiches/salads/soups/etc. A pie-centric Panera.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Lizzy: Are they keeping the restaurant open on Zeeb?

Blue Marker

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

I didn't mean to sound like a jerk. I thought is was kind of funny. I did not vote you down.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

Well I'm so sorry Blue, I just happened to miss it. But thanks for pointing that out.

Blue Marker

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:07 p.m.

All will be answered if you read.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

Yes, the Zeeb location will stay open and Ziegler said he'll focus his energy on that business.

write winger

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Seemed like a strange place for downtown. Sort of like putting a Bill Knapps in Manhattan.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:23 a.m.

Yeah Bill Knapp's which marketed itself to people over 100. Their biggest marketing campaign was taking the % of your age off the bill for your birthday. Most of their crowd were demanding money back since the 105 year olds thought they deserved the extra 5%.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

yeah, i miss Bill Knapps too. talk about bad errors in judgement! I'm with you, dancing.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:44 p.m.

I miss Bill Knapps.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

Wait...what?...There was a Grand Traverse Pie Company downtown?


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

And then there is that mysterious "Midtown" that seems to have popped up in the last few years. Or what we locals call "the corner of Liberty and Division". I'm still with Jaime on "campus downtown" and "downtown downtown".


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:27 a.m.

Jaime, That part of Campus town should be referred to as is not the same as DOWNTOWN which is the area around Main Street. From either North or South State Street, one has to go UP to get to the State Street merchant area. Then you have to go down to get to Main Street! This part of Liberty is still UP! Tsk,Tsk!All these newbies in town!! I just wish they knew the TRUE facts of AA! :>)


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

@Jaime - you sound like someone who is actually from here.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

Campus downtown, not downtown downtown.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

Michigan Theatre, State Theatre, Bivouac... they're all destinations within the same block there.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

But seriously...with Borders gone, there is nothing to draw townies (me) to that part of downtown...there is no "destination"-- how could a restaurant survive there?


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Dang, I should have used this coupon I had for a buy-one-get-one-free entree sooner. I only went a few times, but it always seemed pretty empty, even at prime time. Too bad.

Matt Lang

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

I did use that coupon, they had great sandwiches there. That's too bad about the closing, they only lasted about a year, as did the @burger that was in that spot before the Pie co., and wasn't there another restaurant that didn't do very well in that spot before @burger?


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

It's unfortunate when a business opens and fails so quickly. You have to wonder about their business plan, marketing plans, etc. as to how they could fail so quickly. I agree that the location wouldn't be idea. For me, "Grand Traverse Pie Company" wouldn't be a place I'd go get dinner, but that's just me.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:21 a.m.

A GOOD business plan would take into account the demographics and desires of the neighborhood they are in. Just because the business is successful on Zeeb does not mean it will be a success everywhere. They have FAR more competition and far better quality food. There are a LOT of people who pass that area every day (myself included). IN all the time eating at a glorified Big Boys never once crossed my mind.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

Perhaps you are suggesting that they do a completely different kind of business in order to accommodate the downtown location? I don't think that was ever their intent. It's like suggesting Big Boy have a different menu for downtown; it wouldn't then be Big Boy. They do a thriving business out on Zeeb Road. It's an ideal place to stop for lunch. And as for their pies - they are outstanding and one often finds oneself waiting in a long line prior to holidays to buy them. There is parking right outside the restaurant/store and it is free. Much more pleasant than going to Liberty Street.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

Solitude: I don't agree. Their other location I assume has a parking lot? And traffic driving by that can see the location, i.e. as they go to/from work? How many people commute past Liberty? This would have to be a) a walk to destination for city residents OR a go-to destination that has a bigger draw than competition. That's all in a business plan.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:09 p.m.

I don't think you have to wonder about their business planning or marketing abilities, since their other location is thriving. What you have to wonder about is the location.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

How many businesses have closed on East Liberty over the past ten years? How many spaces there have seen multiple closings? It seems like there's another East Liberty business closing every couple of months, which is quickly replaced by another business, which also soon closes. Why has East Liberty turned into a restaurant and retail graveyard?


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

I am down working in that same block all the time, year round, and the farthest I have ever had to go for street parking is half a block. It is not parking issues that hurts Liberty, it very well could be the panhandling. It doesn't bother me, but I know some people hate it.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

Re: Parking is always a problem - I don't find that true, unless you mean parking within 10 feet of where you want to go. In my opinion, the menu at Grand Traverse IS the problem, as the owners stated. I find the food to be rather retro - not the kind of offerings that attract a younger or more health conscious clientele.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

Parking is ALWAYS a problem in A2

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

I wrote a story last summer about the turnover in that area. I think it struggles for several reasons, but business owners have cited loss of foot traffic since Borders closed, panhandling, high rents, etc. It will be interesting to watch the area as the Borders building is revived with new tenants.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

I would have gone more often but the homeless on that block are a real turnoff. Plus, that alleyway attracts all of the freaks. AAPD needs to clamp down on the begging. Getting in my face asking for money is keeping me from spending money down there.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

Whaaaaat?! Freaks and beggars are part of the diversity that makes a downtown VIBRANT! How can anyone possible be against freaks and beggars?!

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

actionjackson, I disagree with you. If people spent more time communicating with the folks on the street in downtown Ann Arbor, they would realize that those folks are far less threatening than perceived. Also, when they know you, the ones who usually ask outright for money, know not to ask because they recognize you. People on the streets of Ann Arbor are not untouchables. They are human beings. Quite frankly, all the cranky people who scapegoat the homeless and afflicted in Ann Arbor as great desecrators of one's ability to consume can stay away from our city.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 6:27 p.m.

The handful of "homeless" people downtown is a lame excuse to avoid going to a business. I could describe each one of those people on the street. It's the same few people that have been in that area for years. Only a percentage of those on the street actually ask for money. The guy making jewelry, the guy with the sign in front of the mural, even the annoying guy with the sign that gives bad publicity to people who smoke weed - they don't ask people for money. The only really aggressive person is the guy with the hood and sunglasses. Simply saying "no thank you" in a firm voice will stop those who actually do ask. I can't help but wonder what the real issue is when people scapegoat the poor, mentally ill and/or addicted. I have a sense it has more to do with the person making the claims.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

I am with you Dave. I see too many young white (mostly male) able bodied beggars. Get a job kids and quit asking for the hard earned money I get from mine! The begging is ridiculous and a HUGE TURN OFF. For the record I live in A2 and am not a "suburbanite".


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:17 a.m.

Yet other businesses thrive. The fact is, the restaurant is a bad fit for a downtown location,. It is a glorified Big Boys. It really is a strip mall kind of concept that works well in strip mall paradise (Zeeb Rd). This place has next to no student appeal. As for whether panhandling is freedom of speech, why is it any less freedom of speech than a billboard, a radio advertisement or a person singing as they walk. The signage from a Meijers is overbearing to me, but it is covered. I guess prissy suburbanites prefer their safe little world out int he townships. Go ahead and stay there. We wont miss Grand Traverse Pie downtown.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

The panhandlers are a big turnoff and do detract for the experience of going down there. Although they are frequently called homeless, they do in fact almost always have homes. It's too bad that it's become so trashy in comparison with what it once was. Between that and the parking, I also rarely go down there anymore. The only thing that draws us are the concerts at Hill and the theater and art museum.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

Come on out to Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti, Depot Town or Cross Street. No pan handlers there, and the parking is free for the most part.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

I agree with Dave. No one going to downtown AA or the campus area (or the downtown library) should have to deal with aggressive panhandlers. Unless the city clamps down on this behavior, it will deter many customers from frequenting the downtown area stores. AA needs to pass an ordinance outlawing panhandling in the city.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

Unfortunately the courts have ruled that begging falls within their constitutional right of free speech. I tend to disagree.

Spicy Whitey

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

Hey, welcome to the city.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:10 p.m.

Learn to ignore and don't make eye contact. Do not under any means give money or converse with anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable. It's either that or you will find yourself staying away from some very fine dining and entertainment that any city has to offer.

Homeland Conspiracy

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.



Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

weak excuse


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

Probably good to get out now before summer hits and population downtown decreases.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Too bad. I liked going there. There must have been too much competition for it.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

You can go to their restaurant on Zeeb Road (assuming you have a motor vehicle).


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

Ooooh, maybe Cheesecake Factory can take over this spot

Frustrated in A2

Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

@Christy they are finally opening in Michigan. They're going to open in Novi near 12 Oaks mall. I can't wait either!


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

@ Christy, I have never been to a Cheesecake Factory, but it seems every time there is an article on space being vacated people are clamoring on here for the Cheesecake Factory to take over the space. I decided to have the herd mentality and clamor along.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 4:11 a.m.

Too small of a space for CF

Christy King

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

I'm sure you're kidding, but I would DIE of happiness if that were true. I LOVE The Cheesecake Factory's food and have to go faaaar away to get it.