New Jazzy Veggie vegan restaurant to open in ex-Quizno's in downtown Ann Arbor
When Ananth Pullela arrived in the United States from India 17 years ago, he was surprised at the dearth of vegetarian restaurants. On outings to grab fast food, he faced a menu of burgers and chicken nuggets. Frustrated, the long-time vegetarian caved in and began eating chicken occasionally.
Now, Pullela is taking matters into his own hands. He plans to open Jazzy Veggie, a vegan, plant-based casual restaurant in the former Quizno’s Sub shop next to Vinology at 108 S. Main St.
Janet Miller | For AnnArbor.com
He hopes to open by mid-October. It will join only a handful of Ann Arbor restaurants dedicated solely to vegetarian food, including Seva and Earthen Jar.
Jazzy Veggie will offer a menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and a “guilt-free” pizza that uses vegan cheese, Pullela said.
“It will be pizza without the calories. It will be one less thing to worry about," he said.
While it will be a vegan (no meat and no animal products such as milk or honey) menu, Pullela said he hopes to also attract meat-eaters looking to cut back on animal protein or looking for something different.
The 1,500-square-foot restaurant will have seating for about 35 and will also offer carryout. Customers will order at the counter, and Pulella describes it as “fast casual.” He expects to employ between four and six people.
Jazzy Veggie is not affiliated with the Jazzy Vegetarian Laura Theodore, a cookbook author and radio host.
Pullela began thinking about opening a vegan restaurant five years ago.
“I began putting it on paper about 3 Â½ years ago. It takes a lot of planning,” he said.
A 2008 graduate of the University of Michigan Stephen Ross School of Business, Pulella began drafting his business plan when he was a student. He did a market research study, consulted with a chef and began sourcing products. It will be Pullela’s first business venture and he will retain his program management job in the auto industry.
While he has little experience in the restaurant business - he worked in a restaurant setting in graduate school and at his uncle’s ice cream store growing up - Pullela said he will draw on his business education and will hire an operational partner.
“It’s a business. You have to hit the right price point between cost and value. You have to find the sweet spot," he said. EntrÃ©e averages will run around $8, he added.
The build-out began about two weeks ago and includes what Pullela calls tomato and electric lime wall colors. Tentative hours will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.