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Posted on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

Passport Restaurant closed permanently on South State Street in Ann Arbor

By Ben Freed


The Passport Restaurant and Lounge will not return to the former Chi-Chi's building on South State Street.

Ben Freed |

The Passport Restaurant and Lounge will not reopen at 3776 S. State St. due to what one of the operators said are problems stemming from the operating agreement with the landlord.

Jenny Wu, who owns Passport and two Lucky Kitchen restaurants in Ann Arbor with her husband Jin Huang, said in an email that she could re-open in a different building.

"At this time, we are sorting out our legal issues, and we are no longer interested in going back to doing business at that location," Wu wrote via email.

"The future of Passport is unsure, and we are still trying to find another location to open our dream restaurant," she continued.

Wu's landlords on South State Street are Androulla and Zakhour Youssef.

Operating under the entity A & Z Investments, the Youssefs purchased the property in 2005, after Chi-Chi's closed, for $1.355 million, according to township documents. The Youssefs did not respond to requests for comment.

Adding to the restaurant’s issues are 17 liquor license violations that Michigan Liquor License Control Commission records indicate have occurred since October 2011. The legal status of the Class C liquor license is in question because it is technically owned by ACY Restaurant, LLC, a limited liability corporation which is 91 percent owned by the Youssefs, with Wu and Huang only legally controlling 9 percent through LK Passport, Inc.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Are businesses still allowed to fail? . .couldn't they get a bail-out?. . was Johnny Dingell asleep at the switch?. . . .did his hearing aid fail? . . . oh the tragedy!. . . why is this information just coming out now? . . .we want transparency from our leaders?

Larry Eiler

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

Who cares. It was a dump


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

I hate to burst your bubbles folks, but anyone who had eaten at the Lucky Kitchen (particularly the operation adjacent to North Campus) in the last five years would have noticed the steep decline in quality of the food, the cooking and the service. I used to eat there regularly and have stopped even thinking about the place as an option since I had a couple of quite disgusting meals there. So, if the owners could not keep a grip on their original restaurants, it is not at all surprising that any new venture would not be entirely successful. The fact that the owners were never present at the Lucky Kitchen locations towards the end of the times I would eat there is indicative of their lack of focus in my opinion. Thinking about it, that should be a great location there on State Street, big parking lot, large building, should be a great place for a restaurant, never liked Chi-Chis myself, but surely someone can make a go of a restaurant there? Even without the drive-by traffic from Costco there are a huge number of well heeled people living in that general area who would frequent anyplace that had half decent food and service. Of course restaurants in that area have never been that successful, look at the Great Lakes Shipping Company (and subsequent incarnations) on the north eastern corner of Ellsworth and State!


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Oh gosh...what about my $100.00 restaurant gift certificate!


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:10 p.m. you can just exchange those for other certificates. i have a $50 certificate and i've been waiting patiently for this place to close so that i could exchange it.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

or Jasmine and where is Jasmine Thai and China Bistro! I missed their Thai Apple Salad, Jasmine Lettuce wrap and that huge refreshing delicious Summer Rolls!


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

P.F. Changs would be a great fit in that location.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5 p.m.

Space way too small for P.F. Changs

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

renovations didn't go as planned...?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

To the former owners: perhaps, before you open up that "dream restaurant", you might want to do some information-gathering on the liquor laws in Michigan. Just sayin'.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Wife and I are long time A2 residence and we are fortunate to dine out weekly. Of all the places and all the meals we have had in A2 we both without a doubt would vote The Passport as the WORST dinning experience we can remember. Every time we have driven by that place since we commented on how "it's still open?" The only surprise in it's closing is that it took so long.

Simon Green

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

Culinary Darwinism...


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Good. Maybe I'll stop getting their annoying emails that I never solicited. Obviously the owners took advantage of their girls school contacts, and at least some of us have no interest in that dump. Leave us alone nod fix your email crap. Reopen in Ohio would ya? Not needed in Michigan.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:36 a.m.

You'd think the location would be a positive given the opening of Costco nearby. How about a On The Border restaurant? IHOP or Denny's?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Denny's?!?! ICK.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Marks midtown is already right there.

Blue Marker

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Denny's? Really? I'd prefer vacant.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 11:14 a.m.

100 plus votes...something very needed in that stretch...

Honest Abe

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

A Mexican prison serves better food than Passport. Good riddance to this slop serving restaurant! (If that's what you want to call it)


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:03 a.m.

Time to resurrect Chi-Chi's. I loved that place when I was younger.

Honest Abe

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:09 a.m.

....At least in the U.S.

Honest Abe

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:08 a.m.

There is a REASON, why Chi-Chi's does not exist.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

"$1.355 million" for that dog of a property? No wonder Androulla and Zakhour Youssef did not respond to requests for comment...probably too embarasssed.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

There are always 2 sides to a story -


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

The problem with this place was both location and lack of management. A lot of the problems seemed to arise out of management just not knowing what to do or how to handle situations. You can't run a restaurant on JUST the menu alone...

Rod Johnson

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

Wish I could vote that comment up a hundred times.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Absolutely right, Billy. In some form or another, you almost have to have onions

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

So many people called this correctly in the comment section of the last article on this.

Rick Stevens

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

So Ben - who are Androulla and Zakhour Youssef and what is known about them? That would help understand the situation better.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

They definitely know how to overpay for property.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

17 is a lot, right?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:25 a.m.

Man this place sounds awesome - wish I would have known before they closed down. Allowing fighting, gambling and selling to minors ?

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

@seldon: Yes, 17 is high. If you go here: There is a link to download a PDF of common liquor license violations in the state of Michigan. There are lot, but it includes selling to a minor, selling before noon on Sunday, allowing fights on premises, dancing or entertainment without permit, gambling, employing a person under 18, etc.