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Posted on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

Several new restaurants to open in the Michigan Union on South State

By Lizzy Alfs


Several new restaurants are expected to open in the Michigan Union next year.

Angela Cesere |

Out with the old and in with the new.

That seems to be the motto at the Michigan Union, which is searching to replace several of its current restaurant tenants with new ones.

According to a Michigan Daily report, leases for the restaurants in the Union, located on South State Street, are set to expire in April. Restaurants include Amer’s Mediterranean Deli, Subway, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, and a shared space for Mrs. Fields, Freshens smoothies and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels.

All of the restaurants except Panda Express, whose lease expires in 2018, will be replaced, the report says. University Unions plans to open a market and cafe in the current Amer’s space.

U-M also plans to undergo interior renovations to the Union’s dining area to improve seating, flooring and lighting.

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



Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

My first job was at the Michigan Union 50 years ago. The whole basement was The Mug back then. I got out of High School early and worked there in the afternoon.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

One scary memory I have is in 1964 in the Mug. There were three rooms: the north room had booths and was great for studying and coffeeing and socializing. The middle room was more of a meal place. The south one was for meals and whatever. The south room (and maybe the middle one) had huge round wooden tables with generations of initals carved into them. Great stuff. and you could get food even I could afford. The bad day was in the north room. Lots of kids were eating and hanging around, and the TV was on, and Lyndon Johnson was announcing that we were going to send (40,000, I think) troops to fight in Vietnam. Everyone was stunned. There were two questions being thrown around: 1. Where the (bleep) is Vietnam (or Veetnam, as LBJ called it)? 2. Why? Well, we all figured the answer to the first question pretty quickly. Some of us have never found a good, true answer to the second. That even initiated the defining issue of our young generation. Many never returned. Many were injured, physically and emotionally. Many refused to serve. I thank all of them for their actions. It was a horrible time, but at age 20 or so, anything is possible. I wish the new tenants well, and hope they will be local ones and reallly and truly cater to the students.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

Lucky to be getting old Mady. All the "beatniks" hung out there then. Those were good days to be in Ann Arbor. Lots of things starting to happen.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Wow, I remember the Mug!! justcurious, I guess we're both of us gettin' old.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

those who stay will eat orange chicken


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

The Union is no longer a student hangout as it now serves as a high profile weighstation for the potential donor alumni football "re-unions" and other visiting elite - like Sam whatshisname. Since there is already a conucopia of assemblyline type food choices in town, it only makes more cents (spelling is correct) to offer up something more palatably rich and memorable..


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Noooooooo, not the Subway!!!!!

Haran Rashes

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

I remember when the basement was redone in 1984 to create the MUG Eateries. I worked at the MUG Grill (where Wendy's is now) as a freshman in the fall of 1984. I also remember a deli counter called Dagwood's, a Pizza station and a couple of other places down there. The Eateries replaced the U-Celler and soon after (January 1985) Barnes and Noble moved in as well. Anyone else remember the names of the other eateries in the MUG in the mid '80s?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Oh, I remember Frank. He was a sweetheart. I will have to look for that feature. The downstairs was the pool. My dad went to Michigan and told me lots of stories about the nefarious activities that took place in the basement. :) Last time I was in there, it did look like they were using it for storage. I don't think many of the stores let you browse the stacks looking for books anymore....sad, because that is how I chose a lot of classes.

Haran Rashes

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

A2Girl, we probably worked at B&N at the same time. I was upstairs in trade books. In recent years, one of the B&N Managers from those days, Frank, (used to work at Follets on State Street) spent many mornings "hanging out"/working as a greeter at the Colonial BP station on Plymouth Road. I would see his smiling face every morning when I got gas. He has since retired (again) but in the last few months of the Ann Arbor News, they did a feature about him. By the way, for anyone reading this. Barnes and Noble's original text book room was the filled in Michigan Union Swimming Pool. I think it is now only used for storage.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

I worked in the basement of Barnes and Noble -- it had just opened in 1985, I think. The textbook department was in the basement. I can't remember the names of the eateries, but I remember that it was always dark. My most vivid memory is of the loss of the space shuttle Challenger. A television was in the MUG -- and we watched throughout the day hoping for a miracle. I also remember sitting at the desk in the basement a feeling an earthquake that was centered in Ohio, I believe. That would have been sometime in 1986.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

More corporate **** chains for the kids. Do local operators stand a chance to bid on those spaces? Even if they did, huge corporations like Wendy's and Pizza Hut are more than willing to take losses in these high-profile spots to ensure that fresh, young minds get imprinted with their branding. Seems like you'd want your school to take care of the health of their students. Even if schools don't agree with the "food pyramid," they should be making sure they provide a balanced, nutritious diet so kids do have to search around for it. No institution of learning could possibly think Pizza Hut is nutrition.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

timjbd...If your kid loves greasy pizza and can't get it in the Union, guess what: He will walk a block from there and be in Pizza Heaven!!!! Is he/she tied to the Union? Nope. Go where the food you like is and devour. And yes, you can get a healthy meal at Pizza Hut, if that's what you want. I would head north a block, myself.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Sounds like you need to better inform your kid on a healthy diet.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:19 a.m.

Yeah. I read it. Corporations have taken over. Their "branding" is all over the place. Those vendors are being replaced, most likely, with a new batch of corporations unless people b**** about it. I don't want my kid eating that but he will if that's all that's there.

Matt P

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Did you read the article? All of the places that will be leaving, except for Amer's, are national chains. The two specific chains that you mention are LEAVING the Union.

Albert Howard

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

power of the pen