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Posted on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Hungry Howie's on West Stadium closes after 14 years in Ann Arbor

By Katrease Stafford

After more than 14 years of serving the Ann Arbor community, the Hungry Howie's located at 2145 W. Stadium closed Tuesday, July 3.

The store in Boulevard Plaza - near ACE Hardware and Arbor Farms - opened in 1997, owner Kevin Lawson purchased it from the previous owner in 1998.

Lawson said there is a “multi-layered” explanation behind the closure and it’s hard to pinpoint just one cause.

Four years ago, Lawson said, his Hungry Howie's locations were the official pizza of the University of Michigan’s Athletic Department.

Lawson said he was carrying a corporate contract for the two stores, but the deal was discontinued. In addition to the Stadium location, Lawson’s second restaurant was located at 4079 Stone School. It closed in November 2009.

“We had two locations in town and things were going very well,” Lawson said. “Our deal didn’t go as planned and it’s kind of been a snowball effect since then.”

Lawson said the decision to close wasn’t one that came about quickly. Instead, it took shape over a period of time.

“It was very difficult to maintain (amid) all of the financial difficulties that came because of that deal falling through,” Lawson said. “That ultimately caused this to happen.”

Lawson had between 15 and 20 employees at the West Stadium location, and he said he tried to help them find other jobs before the closure.

“We actively job-searched together,” Lawson said. “We’re a pretty close-knit group. We’ve been together for a long time.”

Lawson said during his time of owning the place, he developed rich relationships within community.

"Customers came from Dexter, Chelsea and Saline just to get pizza," he said. "That's probably been the hardest part of the entire thing... What I fear is people driving by and not knowing what happened. I'm very sensitive to how my customers will be left."

The space will be available for lease.

The first Hungry Howie's opened in 1973 in Taylor, and is headquartered in Madison Heights. There are more than 545 locations in 21 states.

Katrease Stafford covers the city of Ypsilanti for Reach her at You can also follow her on Twitter.

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Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

Sorry to see them go. Kevin and his crew worked very hard to make a buck selling pizzas for $6.00. Good Luck moving forward.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

Kevin, you have been a great community member. You endlessly helped the schools and high school teams of Ann Arbor. Thanks and best of luck to you and your kind family!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

How about opening up a restaurant that serves healthy food now? You have the restaurant experience, right?


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

Why don't YOU open a restaurant that serves "Healthy Food"??? Just curious...


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

No that sucks! We used to order from that Hungry Howie's every day at Skyline.

Frustrated in A2

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

Sad to see them go.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

The best thing that could happen for the citizens of our area would be for all of the fast food joints to leave town. The health costs of eating this junk are through the roof. When will we learn and do something about it?


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.



Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

I never said I eat fast food either.. I do agree with you though.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

AySquared, no I don't but I still have to pay for all of your illnesses later with higher healthcare costs.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

You don't have to eat fast food if you don't want to.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

Sorry to see them close. After trying several different companies' pizzas, this was our pizza of choice for delivery. Good service, nice people. Bon voyage...

Robert Granville

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 7:11 a.m.

Good riddance. Bad pizza and awfully slow delivery times. I ordered online and received my pizza three hours later from this location. Never ordered from them again.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:49 a.m.

I loved this store and the employees were always so nice! I'm sorry to see them closing. Thanks for the years of friendly service. :)


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:48 a.m.

I remember going in there late last summer and they had what seemed 100 pizza's packaged on the ground, the chick who sold me my pizza (with their awesome flavored crust) said it was going to the UM football team. That might be why UM did so good last year. If they start eating the $5 hot and nows across the street it's going to be a hard season for us because those pizzas from Little Casears are disgusting and can't be good for you. Oh one more thing, the BoRics right next door will give you the worst haircut your money can buy too no matter who the sylist there it was bad. Lady Janes is much much better even though it on the other side of town.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:21 a.m.

I used to order the cajun crust all the time - LOVED it! No idea where I'm going to order pizza from now without paying a lot more...


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

Damn, now I'll have to make my own Hungry Howie's pizza at home, out of cardboard. Fortunately, it will taste just the same.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

WHAT? this there's no hungry howies anywhere in ann arbor

Mike H.

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

"In addition to the Stadium location, Lawson's second restaurant was located at 4079 Stone School. It closed in November 2009." I'm pretty sure I remember going to Hungry Howies on Stone School a few times during the summer of 2010. Are you sure about this date?


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

I was an employee at Stone School Hungry Howies when it closed down. It was November of 2010, not 2009. We closed down shortly after being robbed, (which Ann Arbor covered here: This is probably a mistake of Mr. Lawson's, not Miss Stafford, so there's no need to be hostile.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 10:38 a.m.

Then can you explain why Washtenaw County did a restaurant inspection on 06/23/2010? If the place closed in 2009? Just curious:

Katrease Stafford

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

Hi Mike, Thanks for commenting! That information was given to me by Kevin Lawson, the owner.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

Out with the old in with the new. "Owner unveils plans for 'NeoPapalis' pizza restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor"