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Posted on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Specialty cookware retailer Sur La Table opening in Ann Arbor this year

By Lizzy Alfs


An employee stocks the display shelves at a Sur La Table location in suburban Houston.

Photo courtesy of CITYCENTRE Houston

Related story: Lululemon athletica to open store on Ann Arbor's Washtenaw Avenue

Upscale cookware retailer Sur La Table plans to join more than 20 tenants at the Arbor Hills shopping center on Washtenaw Avenue this year.

Sur La Table signed a lease for a 5,997-square-foot space in the under-construction development between Platt Road and Huron Parkway, the company confirmed on Monday.

The location, which will act as a store and an avocational cooking school, will be the first in Washtenaw County.


An aerial view of the under-construction Arbor Hills shopping center on Washtenaw Avenue. The Huron Village shopping center, with Whole Foods, is pictured across the street.

Melanie Maxwell |

According to Sur La Table’s website, the stores sell hard-to-find culinary items: “Our buyers travel the world seeking innovative and authentic tools from small artisanal businesses and exceptional brands,” it says.

The stores also host cooking classes focused on seasonal cuisine or various techniques for people of all skill levels. Private lessons and a gift registry program also will be available at the Ann Arbor store.

Founded in Seattle in 1972, the privately held company has since grown to more than 100 stores in the U.S., including one in the Somerset Collection in Troy.

Construction started on the Arbor Hills shopping center in June, when several buildings were demolished to make way for the 100,000-square-foot development. The new buildings are taking shape on the site, and several tenants have announced plans to open late this summer. Other confirmed tenants include:

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



Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 7:19 p.m.

I love plates.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

A friend of mine took one of the cooking classes at the Troy location and said it was mediocre at best (even though it sounded good on the website). I agree with 2viva: many Ann Arborites do not yet even realize A2 has it's own local avocational culinary school, and I think they'd be interested in learning more about it. For several years now Chef Natalie and her crew at Ann Arbor Cooks have been doing a wonderful job educating and inspiring home cooks of all ages and skill levels!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

that is a pretty big footprint for such a store...but we shall see. I am happy with the diverse selection going in over there and have been impressed with the landlords selections so far. I hope the city is going to be ready with a new light or better traffic flow from the highway/arborland area to there. It gets backed up now as it is.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Pricey stuff with some specialty stuff that you cannot find elsewhere. But I do have fun walking around these stores


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

Why aren't you mentioning the LOCAL cooking school ANN ARBOR COOKS!? This is a local business that has been offering classes since 2009. Their classes are great and appeal to a wide range of cooks. Isn't it important to mention the local businesses in an article about a big company coming to Ann Arbor? Support local FIRST,!

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

@2viva: I didn't mention any comparable businesses in the article - local or non-local. We do list Ann Arbor Cooks classes and events in our weekly Food and Drink Calendar post. You can find it here: Thanks!

Jessica Webster

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Lizzy, do you know if there are plans afoot to deal with all of the extra traffic these shops will attract? That stretch of Washtenaw can be very challenging as it is.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

I think it's time to look into pedestrian bridges for Washtenaw by Arborland and by Whole Foods.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

We need to have an overhead set of lanes like on I-10 in Los Angeles to avoid this chaos that is being created.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

Plan on plenty of waiting Jess, a new light is being installed at Platt and Washtenaw. I suspect that it will be right turn only from Arbor Hills onto Washtenaw and if you want to turn left will have to exit the shopping center to Platt first.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

When I lived in Arlington, VA, we had one of these in Pentagon City. It was a great place to find any kitchen specialty items you may need. Glad there's one closer! :)


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.



Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

I inherited a complete set of copper-bottomed Revere Ware, 60 years of use, not a dent, not a scratch, just needs a little copper polish. Sadly, today's Revere product is half the weight, probably a fraction of the life.

Jessica Webster

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Arborani - you're so right. I just spent some time cooking in a friend's kitchen, and have decided to start collecting All-Clad as I can afford them. They feel like the same quality as the old Revere pots of old.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5 p.m.

Absolutely, I used to love Revereware, and was very disappointed to see what poor quality their pans are now. The knobs on their lids fall off after a couple of years, and there's no good way to get them back on. I've had to find 'old' original replacements at Treasure Mart and yard sales.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

I wouldn't mind a Crate & Barrel in town somewhere. Exciting to hear that a place is opening with tenants lined up. I hate to see empty strip malls like the one just a jog up the road with the Jimmy John's in it.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

Zig... LOVE Crate & Barrel. I used to shop there all the time when I lived back east.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

While a C&B would be nice, I'm hoping for a CB2 location closer than Chicago...


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

@JRW the problem is always location and Size. Anthropologie wants into this town pretty badly. But they want the foot traffic, and a good sized store. So they either wait for years, passing up Cranbrook Village and the Plum Market area, and pass up Arborland (Circuit City) because it's not the right size store. Likewise, I'm not going to lease the space next to Panera where that old hallmark store was if my schtick is wood-fired pizzas. I would only be able to seat 10 people.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

Don't worry. This one will have vacancies. All the strip malls around AA do. Why not fill the existing strip malls before building new ones? Oh, that's right. The developers get rich while stores sit vacant. Fill up Arborland and the one near Miller Maple (K-Mart, Plum Market and a lot of vacancies).


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

"authentic tools from small artisanal businesses" Both "authentic" and "artisanal"? Have they come to the right place or what??

Michael Feeney

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Recently visited Pittsburgh store, I've never seen a more overpriced selection of cookware you could buy for half the price in other stores

Bertha Venation

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:57 p.m.

I'm with you, BlueProf. I don't purchase something at either W/S or SLT if I can find the same or similar quality somewhere else for less money. However, I do like to browse, and they do have some unusual items that you don't find at K-Mart.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4 p.m.

Downtown would have worked well, but this is also a great location for them. It's a good business strategy locating yourself across the street from a store when tons of people already go to spend 2 to 3 times extra for food! I say this both playfully and seriously. Whole Foods shoppers aren't there for a bargain. (Plus, I don't mind browsing in these places myself.)


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Overpriced is the name of the game. Go to Williams Sonoma in the mall if you want a look at overpriced kitchenware. I've never seen more than 2-3 people in there at any one time. The profit margins must be very high or they couldn't afford that ridiculous rent at Briarwood.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

Time for the hyperventilation sack!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Yeah,. I guess the fact that they have 90 stores means they are so overpriced nobody shops there. It is important for people to understand, there is NO such thing as overpriced. If people are willing to pay for it, then that is the price. If you put your house on the market for $1 million and somebody buys it, THAT is the price. It may not be what YOU would pay for it, but others would. Sometimes paying less is NOT a good thing. It is that the cheapest is best mentality that is why this country is where it is now. Employers take the attitude that customers only want cheap, so they in turn do not care about quality or service, so they give the people what they want. CHEAP JUNK WITH NO SERVICE. I am glad for the companies that buck that trend and are willing to pay for trained employees and stand behind their products. I am sure Wal Mart loves having people like you as a customer.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

So then what you are saying is that they would really fit better downtown?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

I've missed the old Kitchen Port - this will be a welcome store!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

@JRW I have shopped there many times and they are always friendly and helpful. Perhaps you should check your friendliness as well. As someone who works in retail, I get the crankiness people and there are ALOT of them in Ann Arbor!!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

But they also have some really nice people, too.

Chester Drawers

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

JRW, Some of the employees at the Stadium Ace have been there since The Flood! Maybe that's what makes them cranky.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

@Lael, yes Ace has good kitchen stuff, also the store on Washtenaw. Unfortunately, the store on Stadium also has some very surly staff (one person in particular). Stopped going there long ago. People who work in retail need to be customer friendly.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Check out Ace Hardware on Stadium. They have a great kitchen section!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

Good for them, good for Ann Arbor. They are somewhat of a destination store for many people and I bet other businesses in the area will benefit from the incremental increases.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

These stores/restaurants all sound great, but where are we going to park? Maybe it is because they are built right on top of the road, but that place seems like all buildings and not much parking lot to me.