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Posted on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

'The Big Salad' restaurant to open in new Plymouth Road development in Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs

The Big Salad franchisee Kevin Vlazny hopes to bring “fresh and healthy” casual dining to the Ann Arbor area next year when he opens a restaurant on Plymouth Road.

Vlazny signed a deal for a 1,934-square-foot space in Plymouth Road Plaza — the 21,000-square-foot commercial and office building being constructed in front of Plymouth Road Mall, just east of Nixon Road.


A franchisee for The Big Salad restaurant plans to open in the Plymouth Road Plaza development.

Lizzy Alfs |

The Big Salad will join Starbucks, Little Caesars Pizza, DFCU Financial and LaVida Massage on the first floor of the two-story building.

“I chose Plymouth Road because the (University of Michigan’s) activity at the (former) Pfizer building, and I actually live on north campus, so I see all the traffic and all the restaurants,” Vlazny said. “I feel like it will be a good spot for us.”

Founded by John Bornoty in 2008, Grosse Pointe-based The Big Salad now has five locations in Michigan.

“We’re excited to be there,” Bornoty said. “It’s our first location in Ann Arbor and we hope to end up with four. Ann Arbor is obviously in its own world. Between (central) campus, north campus and Briarwood Mall, there are areas we can go that are completely different.”

Bornoty said he is actively looking for additional Ann Arbor locations, and said he is eyeing downtown "very closely."

The concept at the restaurant, according to its website: “Salads made for you, not by you."

"The salad ingredients are not handled by the masses, but by one associate who is dedicated to making you the best salad possible," the website says.

Customers can choose from 28 vegetable toppings, eight meat and seafood toppings, eight dry toppings and more than 30 salad dressings. Soups and sandwiches also are available. (View the menu)

Bornoty said prices typically range from $6.95 to $10.95.

Vlazny said he plans to hire about 15 people and hopes to open in March 2013.

“I will be able to begin my build-out at the end of November or beginning of December,” he said. “I have 90 days to finish it after that.”

Developers Louis Johnson and Jack Edelstein broke ground on the Plymouth Road development in early August after first proposing it in 2006.

Edelstein said U-M’s purchase of the former Pfizer site and improved economic factors allowed them to move forward with the project.

Another retail development, The Shoppes at Plymouth Road, recently submitted site plans to the city of Ann Arbor.

That plan calls for a 9,490-square-foot building on the vacant outlot in front of the Holiday Inn hotel, just east of Green Road.

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


Elijah Shalis

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

I checked out their website, they are really expensive. There is already a Panera and a Zoup! nearby with more reasonable prices. I love the salads and sandwiches at Zoup! most people don't even know about.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

I hope they actually WASH the salad ingrediants well theres a story that goes with that, you don't want to know...


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

Oh, I WILL be a customer of this place. The menu looks great and they have a NUTRITIONAL CALCULATOR for everything on the menu on their website. Sorry if this sounds too "sock-puppet", but this comes so close to what I would like to do at home (with a lot of effort and waste) that I am sure I will like it.

Patrick Haggood

Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Just checked their online menu; a $6 peanut butter sandwich?


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

Just as bad as that noodle company charging 6 bucks a plate for buttered noodles. I can butter my own noodles thank you very much. Besides I make a to die for PBJ.


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

Hey - it costs extra to keep those masses away from your PBJ.


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Can't wait. Sounds much like Doc Greens (Atlanta). Best part is the freshness and more sanitary conditions than a self-serve salad bar.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

"Ann Arbor is obviously in its own world." Lol.


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

Sounds great and yes, I'm jealous. Scio needs a place like this due to limited selection of restaurants.


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

Sounds like a great idea, especially for diabetics and people who need low carb options. Salads are furthermore good for everyone. Hope it succeeds.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

Loveaduck- I've been to the location in Troy and its not bad, although I had a bit of sticker shock on my first visit since I'm use to Farmer's market prices for veggies. What this does remind me of though is how I wish there was a Pei Wei here in A2.


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

Good luck Kevin!! Can't wait to eat at The Big Salad! -Former FGR hockey parent

say it plain

Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Wait, I just caught the list of the other tenants... A Starbucks?! There's a Starbucks inside the Krogers across the street?! Will that remain?! How many feet can they be apart and still function as outlets of the same addiction (I like coffee myself, but, seriously? One every couple yards now?! Even in strip malls,not just downtowns and train stations?!) And is Espresso Royale gone now from the plaza with Krogers? And isn't there a new cafe opened up in the Flim Flam place?! It's not only coffee, I realize, but I thought they had a coffee menu with the same sorts of latte-type drinks and sweet breads?! And of course McCafe is available before the next crosswalk too lol! And, isn't there already a zillion banks in that area on Plymouth? Do we really think we're going to get that many new accounts from the UM populating NCRC?! And do we really need another pizza joint in that area? A Marcos, a newish Jet's, a Cottage Inn, a Domino's...I guess now Little Ceasar's fans can get their fix on the Northside, that *was* missing I suppose; the Hot n Ready is a niche left unfilled up that way! Oh, well, here's hoping that this salad chain is least it's a little different-seeming to me!


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

The parking here will be a disaster. The City wants all of Ann Arbor to be pedestrian friendly - Plymouth Road is not. Restaurants and office require heavy parking. this site is light on parking. My prediction - Pain!


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

Parking anywhere in Ann Arbor is a disaster. Look at how many cars have been towed. I'll take Ypsilanti or Canton any day of the week for free and spacious parking.

say it plain

Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

I wonder about that too! I like the idea of fresh restaurants in town, and salads sound good to me as an idea, but gee, the parking there is tight and annoying to accomplish already!


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

I wonder how many things from Seinfeld were made real. Doesn't anyone have their own ideas or is stealing catch phrases just easier?


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.



Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Oh, don't be such an anti-salad-ite, going on about "having their own ideas" and "stealing catch phrases" yada yada yada. Besides, you'll love their muffin tops; they're downright spongeworthy. And if the idea still makes you upset, then no salad for you! Giddyup!


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

It will be fascinating to see how the parking lot handles the traffic from 5 new businesses, plus the offices on the 2nd floor.


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

I wonder if they will get the same exception that Whole Foods on Washtenaw received when it was allowed to open with inadequate parking and a ridiculously bad parking lot design.

say it plain

Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

"Fascinating" is not the word I'm thinking of, yikes! Though it will be that too, if you have some distance on it anyhow!


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

After a while people are going to grow tired of eating nothing but soup and salads and hit a burger joint down the street. Although I though a noodle company was a dumb idea as well. Who knew Ann Arbor loves its carbs and greens.


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

They have a nice daily soup selection too. I can't wait for The Big Salad to open!


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

Looks like a healthier choice of food here. Hope they lay off the preservatives and fake sweeteners. Wish it was opening in Dexter.


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

It's Grosse Pointe not "point" ...

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.



Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

"Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs."


Wed, Sep 5, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

Sounds like a really nice place. Can't wait to eat there.