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Posted on Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Mexican restaurant to open in former Signature Grill on East Michigan Avenue in Saline

By Lizzy Alfs

Cancun Mexican Grill, a Kentucky-based restaurant with six current locations in Michigan, is opening its first Washtenaw County location this summer on East Michigan Avenue in Saline.

The restaurant is taking over the 3,103-square-foot building at 405 E. Michigan Ave. just east of downtown Saline — a space most recently occupied by Signature Grill.


A Mexican restaurant is opening in the former Signature Grill on East Michigan Avenue in Saline.

Photo courtesy of Swisher Commercial

The restaurant’s specialty: moderately priced, “authentic” Mexican food.

The building, which is owned by Dean Zahn Properties, has been vacant since 2009 when Signature Grill closed. Tony Caprarese of Swisher Commercial had the building listed for lease, and he said it took some time to find the right tenant.

“We had a number of interested parties and a number of showings,” he said. “Given the economy and the market, we just couldn’t find the right fit until this particular prospect came along.”

He added: “It’s a location that I think this particular use is ideal for and I think the downtown has a pretty diverse mix of different restaurants…adding a Mexican cuisine to that market, we believe, will get a good reception.”

Restaurant owner Ismael Leon launched the first Cancun Mexican Grill in Kentucky in 1993. Since then, his business has expanded considerably, adding locations to Ohio and Michigan.

He said the business has seen success thanks to its “fresh food and good, clean atmosphere.”

“Those are the most important things for us,” he said. “It’s just a good product.”

He has other Michigan locations in Grand Ledge, Cadillac, Mount Pleasant and three in Okemos.

Leon said he decided to expand to Washtenaw County because he “enjoy(s) the Ann Arbor area” and spends a significant amount of time here when he travels to his different restaurant locations.

He hopes to begin renovations to the space in the coming month, and the restaurant is expected to open sometime this summer. He’ll transform the building to look like his other locations, including installing all new equipment, bringing in furniture from Mexico and building an outdoor patio.

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



Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

I've been to Cancun Grill in Okemos many times - their food, service, and atmosphere has always been great. I've been missing them in Ann Arbor and I'm really looking forward to the Saline location opening. Mmmm.....their hot sauce is really good.....

sun runner

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

Want as close to authentic Mexican as possible around here? La Casita Taqueria, 2866 Washtenaw, Ypsilanti Taqueria La Fiesta, 4060 Packard, Ann Arbor TMAZ Taqueria, 3182 Packard, Ann Arbor Try one of those places and you'll never go to a chain "Mexican" restaurant again.

Jed I Knight

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Bring back Leithauser's


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

I wish them the best of luck, My family rented that spot for almost 30 years. I hope they get more from the landlord then we did.... Saline needs a good Mexican Restaurant

Jim H

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

Loved your restaurant, John. I hope you and your family are all well!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Unfortunately, it'll probably be more Tex-Mex stuff, which, though an authentic PART of Mexican cuisine, is not representative of the best or the whole of it. Anyway, however, I wish anyone with the courage to open in this economic climate Buon Suerte!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

Not sure if this is against the rules but seems like the article would have posted their website. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> it has menu's

Barbara Duff

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

The resturant at michigan ave and state street is not in saline,michigan It is in pittsfield township!!! Therefore saine needs its own authenic mexican food!!! I love steak tacos!!!! So better put that on your menu Yo queiro Tacos al carbon!!!!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

You are splitting hairs Barbara. Ever been to this place ? I have many times, the receipt says &quot;Saline&quot;, I rest my case ! ABO


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

Which is Saline.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

48176 to Chris


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

Whats the zip code there?


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

I miss Jon Doms Pizza. I had my first slice of Pizza there at age five when my Dad who worked at Ford at the time took me in there. It remained some of the best Pizza I ever tasted till the day they closed. Good luck to this new venture. I live in the Adrian area and we have plenty of Mexican fare around here (and its good), but I also work for the auto industry in the area and I like to spend money the area. I like Saline a lot. Local business's get my money more often than chains. Business owners take note... There is a growing group of us auto workers who are thankful for the uptick in the industry and we are giving back by supporting those who support us. With new or existing business's we try to determine what type of vehicle the owner(s), management drives. If its Big 3 American, we'll spend money there. If it is foreign, we'll spend somewhere else. Just Food for Thought.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

Yeah, that should scare them since Saline and Ann Arbor have so few paying customers driving Hondas, Toyotas, etc. Maybe the auto workers should be thankful to the taxpayers for bailing them out?


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

While its almost impossible to buy 100% American, one can only try. The only New Years Resolution I have ever kept for more than the one year is...stop shopping Wal Mart. Its been three years running. And yes, there are a lot of auto workers who have the bad habit of shopping ChinaMart. Some people just cannot see five feet past their billfold. The SE Michigan area is Big 3 Country, if I lived in Alabama within proximity to a &quot;other &quot; plant and was employed by said plant, my tune would probably be different. But for my environs my tune is justified and I will continue to support those... who support my brothers and sisters at GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Now... if I could just find a pair of American made Tennis Shoes. @john We miss you too!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

&quot;GM is no more American than Toyota or Honda&quot; Very true! Even if its built here how American is the car if every part is made overseas? BTW, I drive a Nissan and it was built in Tennessee. Funny how many Auto workers contradict themselves by buying everything else they own at Wal-Mart.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

You are so right, this is from the guy who owned Jon Doms, thanks for the comment. We miss the place. We always drove American made cars and still do...


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Yeah, so I hope your computer is American made 9 I would wwager it isnt) How abotu your clothes? (Not American made). My HONDA was built in Ohio. Mazda's are built in Flat Rock, while Ford Focus and Fusions are built in Mexico. By the way, that Big 3, number 3 is owned by an Italian company, but that's ok, facts never hurt the argument of people who do not think through their actions. Also quite hysterical when a person wantd AUTHENTIC Mexican food, yet screams buy American. I guess they should only purchase food from Mexican farmers. Take note, your food for thought is what your corporate over lords at Gm and Ford want the masses to believe. GM is no more American than Toyota or Honda.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

I hope it truly is authentic...homemade tortillas, carne guisada, traditional chilaquiles, etc. Welcome!


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

Can't wait! I've been driving all the way to Adrian for good Mexican. The other place is not so good.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Already a Mexican restaurant in the strip mall across from Wal Mart on the east side of Saline. Will Cancun Mex Grill be able to purchase the liquor license that was owned by the former tenant, if not they will not stay in business long ? You need to join the Upromise network, you will get a lot more business if you do, check it out. ABO


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

Mangiamo's got the license from Kellys 107 they still owned their license. Signatures license which was bought from Jon Doms went back to the state for back taxes and they had no address to attach it to.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

That license went to the sushi rest. but I bet they are able to get a beer and wine lic. city has to ok it..


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Pretty sure that Mangiamo's bought the liquor license that was used for Signature grill. I agree, no maragrita's, no business.

David Rhoads

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

This is great news! A good mexican food restaurant has been high on my list of wishes for a long time. I hope they do well.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Happy about this. Having a problem finding good tasting food at Pizza , Wings ,and Things.


Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

Welcome to Saline