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Posted on Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

On the market: Ex-Flim Flam restaurant space ready for new operator

By Paula Gardner

Interest is high among restaurant operators seeking to take over the space in northeast Ann Arbor that for nearly 30 years had been the Flim Flam Family Restaurant.

Bela Sipos of Reinhart Commercial has shown the space four times since owner Chris Klademenos closed the Plymouth Road Mall restaurant suddenly after serving customers for the last time on Sunday.


Joseph Tobianski |

Two are locals and two others are from Metro Detroit, Sipos said Friday, a day after the space officially was put on the leasing market.

“The owner is looking for someone with a solid idea and also the wherewithal to spend the necessary funds to remodel the place so that it is fresh again,” Sipos said.

Klademenos said his business had steadily dropped off after Pfizer announced it was leaving Ann Arbor in 2007 and the recession further challenged retailers.

He’d cut staff to about eight and maintained a steady stream of regular customers, he said, but their dining frequency dropped, making continued operations tough. Klademenos also said he was going to need to remodel soon, and the investment didn’t make sense for him.

However, the Plymouth Road restaurant market is active, Sipos said, from the Courtyards to the west all the way to Plymouth Green Crossings at Green Road.

He went to lunch this week in one restaurant on the corridor and found limited parking — and got the last table inside, he said.

“Overflow from the Flim Flam is jamming everywhere else,” Sipos said.

Despite the restaurant interest, there have been limited options in the corridor until recent years, Sipos said. The core area near Nixon Road — where Traver Village also sits — still remains sought-after.

The option to move into the former Flim Flam space means that start-up costs could be more reasonable than converting “shell” retail space, Sipos said.

The 3,200-square-foot restaurant that seats 125 is available for $16 per square foot per year.

Sipos said the landlord, Hutton Management Services, could end up in a position where it is taking applications from multiple prospective tenants. The edge will go to a lasting concept, Sipos said.

“Chris was there for 30 years,” he said, “and we’d like the next person to be there for 30 years,too. “

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Paula Gardner is news editor of She can be reached by email or Twitter.



Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 10:59 p.m.

OK, so you want someone to lease the space, renovate it (who knows what that will entail), offer healthy menu options, probably keep prices to a minimum, aggressively market the restaurant... then once it's open you will knock it for being too expensive and having a bad location. I hope someone out there can defy those odds.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

Diverse opinions, of course are not unusual. Everyone sees things through their eyes. My comment about never having more than 50 people in it was in response to the Realtor above saying "Overflow from the Flim Flam is jamming everywhere else,". No way is that happening, most times I went to Flim Flam there weren't 20 people in it. And while they do have another room offering total capacity of 125, the reality is that 20 - 30 people was the normal crowd, at least when I went. The Realtor is doing their job, promoting the space. For those that say that there are great stores here, the success of a business lies in the traffic that comes to the location, finds the business, and then frequently shops there. The Kroger side has lost several businesses including a cleaners and BlockBuster (and maybe a card store?). The other side has had several tenants come and go, and many of the businesses on the non-Kroger side either draw limited traffic or are very eclectic. And having Carpenter Brothers on the back side doesn't draw traffic to the front side. Just drive by and see the empty lot... My overarching point was that if a new restaurant goes in there, they had better build a relationship with the local businesses and the U of M Pfizer campus, as well as advertising to draw additional traffic. Flim Flam didn't do that, and it could possibly have helped.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 7:07 p.m.

This mall always has a peculiar, unpleasant smell.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

Another one bites the dust!


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.

The location is NOT bad... There are nearly 1000 people working across the street at one location alone. It's just that the quality has been slipping at FF for a long time. There are just better cleaner, faster and/or tastier places nearby... or even a little further away. We're willing to walk across Plymouth or get in our cars to go to any of the other establishments between Green Rd and Murfin!


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

Someone could take some hints from the Northside Grill.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

Please no more national chains offering limited fare. A great breakfast selection with really good coffees and teas along with a variety of fresh healthy meal choices for lunch and dinner. Some menu variety that changes with the seasons. How about a local chef using local product? Something for families with children, young adults, and seniors.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

I'm very sad the Flim Flam closed but those who say the location is bad don't live around here or bother to pay attention to the shops there. This 'mall' hosts a large Chinese/Asian grocery, a newer smaller Indian grocery, a fantastic wine and beer shop, probably one of the best hardward stores in town and numerous other small businesses. It's true that when the library pulled out, the volume of traffic dropped, but this little mall offers such a wonderful eclectic mix of stores, and they're good stores! I am hoping to see an Indian restaurant in this part of town or perhaps a small movie theater. I sincerely hope we don't get something really upscale because that's not what is needed.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

I'm glad this place is closing, frankly. The one time I ate there and ordered eggplant parmesean, it was moldy. The place needs a good cleaning, too.

Beth Kirton

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

eggplant at the flim flam? the joke is on you, I'm afraid.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

The grammar here is awful: "has show the space", "two are locals and two other are from", etc. It's just careless mistakes. Posters can make them, but journalists?

zip the cat

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.

WOW,$4300.00 per month rent Gotta flip lotsa burgers just to pay rent Its a bad location. OK Demos Panos ,here is your chance to expand on the north east side of tree city

4 Fingers

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 6:30 p.m.

That's really not that bad for rent in A2, however the mall is run down and from what I understand needs major sewer work as well.

Andy Piper

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 12:18 p.m.

I hope the new place has offerings a little different than the standard fare. On my short list - really really good coffee, Whole grain pancakes, maybe even a real bakery in house! I will probably keep driving by if it's a Coney Island kind of place. My best to whom ever takes on the challenge of running a restaurant.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.

Whoever thinks about going in there needs to realize that it's not a good location. There is no anchor store on that side, and Kroger on the other side draws a strongly diverse audience. The "mall" itself is awful, no great stores in it, lots of businesses come and go, library used to draw traffic when it was there. You'll need to spend money on MARKETING for a good period to build traffic, and offer good value for the money. Also, Flim Talk never had more than 50 people in it, if that. 125 includes the other room that was always closed...


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 7:08 p.m.

Carpenter Brothers is in this location and is by far the most helpful hardware stores around town. Dr. Darga is the best vet in Ann Arbor and his office is located there. Then there's Domino's Pizza, Baskin & Robbins Ice Cream, Evergreen Restaurant, and Rite Aid. I'll agree that the mall needs fixing - the landlord seems to be letting repairs lapse, but I don't see how you can say this isn't a good location for a new business.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

The library branch move cut deeply into traffic in this small mall; however, there are great stores there. The stores are just not high end Kerrytown type places (thank goodness). This small mall boasts a large Asian/Chinese grocery store, a smaller Indian grocery store, a great wine and beer shop (voted one of best if not best in Ann Arbor in a recent poll), a fantastic neighborhood hardward store, a small ice cream shop, barber, drycleaner, Rite-Aid - there's a lot going on there. I LOVE the diversity of shops in this small mall and hope to see another interesting business that the regular joes of the world can enjoy (again, please keep the fancy high-end tea shops, toy stores and clothing boutiques away - I don't think many folks living up here can afford to shop at such a place).


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

@A2comments, I think you are being a bit short sighted here. Yes, the term "mall" is a bit of a misnomer and if applied rigorously there is a lack of an "anchor" store. But the real draw is the collection of stores on both sides of Nixon. Two grocery stores, a great "twin" toy store, a big pet store, Carpenter Brothers hardware & rental, a coffee shop, soon a pie shop, three banks and a credit union, many smaller shops, one of the few 31 flavors that survives serving only its core product, and even a vet office. Anchor, no - but roots, yes! As for the Flim-Flam back room, I've seen it used many times, even recently. For a group over 8 Chris would certainly open it up.