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Posted on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Owner of PizzaPapalis restaurants signs lease for first floor of downtown Ann Arbor high-rise

By Lizzy Alfs

The owner of the PizzaPapalis restaurant chain in Metro Detroit plans to open a new pizza concept on the first floor of a downtown Ann Arbor high-rise.

The deal, brokered by Colliers International’s Ann Arbor office, is for the 2,521-square-foot retail space at the under-construction Zaragon West on the corner of East William and Thompson streets.


Zaragon West is nearing completion on East William and Thompson streets in downtown Ann Arbor.

Melanie Maxwell |

PizzaPapalis specializes in “authentic Chicago pizza,” according to the restaurant’s website. The first location opened in Detroit in 1986, and there are now more than a dozen locations in Michigan and one in Toledo.

But the downtown Ann Arbor restaurant will be a new concept for PizzaPapalis owner Joe Sheena: NeoPapalis.

Jim Chaconas of Colliers International said NeoPapalis will be a “gourmet pizza restaurant at a regular price.” It will be a fast-service, casual restaurant, and slightly different than the PizzaPapalis restaurants.

“It’ll be kind of fun,” he said. “They’re hard-working guys and it’s good for the building. They will have great salads, sandwiches and pizza."

Construction for Zaragon West started in late 2010, and the 14-story, 199-bed high-rise is nearing completion. The developer is Rick Perlman of Chicago-based Zaragon, who also developed Zaragon Place on East University Avenue near the University of Michigan campus.

A cafe and market called “revive + replenish” occupies the first floor of Zaragon Place.

In late 2010, Colliers began marketing the retail space on the first-floor of the Zaragon West building for $42 per square foot per year — a rental rate that signaled a shift in the market downtown.

Chaconas said the retail on East William Street — particularly with the amount of students Zaragon West will bring to area — has a lot of potential.

"We tried to offer something good for the tenants upstairs,” he said.

The restaurant will also have to ward off some competition in the downtown pizza market, with the Original Cottage Inn Restaurant and New York Pizza Depot located within steps of Zaragon West.

The restaurant should open sometime in late summer or fall, Chaconas said. Zaragon West is aiming for a Sept. 1 opening.

Joe Sheena and Rick Perlman could not immediately be reached for comment.

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



Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

I love the taste of concept.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

All I want is a pizza buffet on the weekend in this town! Another random pizza place that tastes like all the others.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Which one? I thought I've called them all. My kids love the buffet-O-pizza, but we have to drive 40min to dine at one.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

I think Pizza hut has their buffett on weekends

Jojo B

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

Considering the location, right next to the original Cottage Inn Pizza and a stone's throw away from NYPD, I'd say they're trying the old Ben & Jerry's right next to Stucci's trick. Who knows if this will be good or bad, but it might create the "pizza district" of Ann Arbor, offering thin east-coast, thick Chicago, and something er-um in-between. And it might at least encourage the two older joints to do a little cleaning and revamping of their filthy old dining rooms.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

Great, another pizza joint. Is this place materially better than NYPD, Pizza House, or Cottage Inn (just to name a few)?


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

We need another pizza place like you need a hole in your head. Hopefully "revive + replenish" will have good, reasonably priced items.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

Who's "we"? I don't remember letting you speak for me. Or are you some kind of monarch?


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

If you want good "Chicago-style" deep dish you got to try Klavon's in Jackson. Truly, a diamond in the rough.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

Yeah, that's right. Make the drive. You'll be glad you did.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

Jackson LOL?


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

The word "goumet" has lost all meaning ...there should be a moratorium on pizza chains ...


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

Agreed on the first part disagreed on the second

Madeleine Borthwick

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

I've never had "Chicago Style" pizza, I've been told it's really good so hopefully I can try it for the first time here; most of the comments I've read here sound really positive. can anybody give me some feedback on the product build for "chicago-style?" hopefully w/o being sarcastic please?


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

Pizzapoplis makes chicago style stuffed as well as deep dish pizzas hopefully they will continue to make them at this location and not something totally foreign like a Neapolitan thin crust pizza


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

I'm not sure if MjC is trying to describe Chicago-style pizza or the pizza at PizzaPapalis. As a former resident of Chicago, I wouldn't say his description of Chicago-style deep dish (or "stuffed" as they'd refer to it in Chicago). The pizzas are cooked in what is essentially a round cake pan and the dough, which is relatively thin and not what most would consider thick crust/deep dish, is layed out on the bottom and up the sides of the pan - almost like a pie crust. The pie is then filled in with a ton of cheese, toppings, and sauce is applied on top (to avoid the cheese from burning due to the long baking time). I am probably being a little pedantic with this description but I think there is a misconception out there that Chicago-style and deep dish are the same. They are two different things in Chicago - you'll typically see "stuffed" on their menus as I've described above and "pan" pizza for what we Michiganders would typically call deep dish - "pan" pizza in Chicago is the pizza with the thick crust about 3/4" of an inch think. Having said all that, it doesn't sound like this PizzaPapalis will be serving any sort of Chicago-style pizza. I am assuming that the inclusion of "Neo" in the name is implying Neopalitan-sytle pizza, which is the exact opposite of Chicago-style stuffed pizza. We already have one pizza place serving up great Neopolitan pizza at Mani. I'm guessing NeoPapalis will be at a different price piont than Mani, so maybe there will be a niche for it.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

I was going to post this before I even saw your comment lol


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Chicago style pizza is really just a "deep dish" round shaped pizza first served way back in 1948 by good ol' Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. Thicker crust and more room for sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

OMG!!! Another pizza joint!!!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

Chicago pizza? It's not pizza. Chicago casserole.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Okay okay're right!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

A rose by any other name.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

Right next door to the Original Cottage Inn which needs a major renovation. Should be interesting.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

The restaurant may or may not be a dump, but the pizza is tasty.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11 a.m.

And a cleaning...


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.



Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

FANFRIGGINTASTIC...can't wait for them to open up.

Ron Granger

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

They'll have a tough time surpassing Anthony's. But with a big space in a prime location, they will do a lot of business.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : midnight

LOVE LOVE LOVE this -- the best deep dish pizza in Michigan, outside Uno's chain restaurants....


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

Buddy's Pizzeria has the best deep dish pizza in Michigan in my opinion. Too bad the furthest West they are is in Livonia.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 7:07 a.m.

Pizzeria Uno went backrupt.

Adam Dickson

Tue, Jun 26, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

NYPD for when I'm on the go; Pizza House for when I want to sit down for a nice meal; Back Room for post-drinking snack attacks ... now I'll have to find a way to fit this one into my rotation!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Jun 26, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

Oboyoboyoboy!! Well, now this is what I call great news. I think this ends some of the claims about Ann Arbor's best pizza. I hope their pizza is as good as it is in Greektown.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:14 a.m.

I should be. I've been to the Toledo location - it's as good as Greektown. For that reason, I assume they're all as good. Very much unlike Cottage Inn's expansion efforts. Outside of Ann Arbor, IMO, they're not good. I've been to some in Canton and Toledo - very unremarkable.


Tue, Jun 26, 2012 : 11:26 p.m.

Well, I haven't been this excited since the waffle place was going to open (but then didn't). Could my luck actually be SO bad that Pizzapapalis, the place I've said for YEARS needs to come to Ann Arbor, does actually come, but then DOESN'T offer their deep dish? Please, guys, PLEASE have the deep dish. It would be too cruel to open a location here that doesn't. I hope they do well, too. I know Pizzeria Uno's used to do a similar thing (as Pizza House also TRIES to do), and yet went out of business. Hope Pizzapapalis THRIVES.

Angry Moderate

Tue, Jun 26, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

"Pizza concept"