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Posted on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Upscale American restaurant Vellum now open in downtown Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs

After five days of working in the kitchen at Vellum, Peter Roumanis is pleased with customer feedback at his new downtown Ann Arbor restaurant.

Located at 209 S. Main St., Vellum opened its doors last Thursday following a 10-month renovation, which transformed the former Full Moon space into an upscale American restaurant.


Vellum owner Peter Roumanis inside the restaurant when it was still under construction.

Daniel Brenner |

“I think people are really excited,” Peter said. “It’s very different and we’re holding (customers’) hands through some of the menu descriptions…we want to set up the meal with them together.”

The restaurant is still in a soft opening phase, where it will be limiting the amount of dinners cooked on a nightly basis. Peter anticipates they'll stop limiting covers by sometime next week.

"We're just kind of making sure that what we're serving right now is coming out as perfect as possible," he said.

Peter and his father, John Roumanis, owner of Ann Arbor’s Mediterrano and Carlyle Grill, purchased the three-story building on South Main Street in February. The third-floor eventually will be converted into a loft.

Peter describes the carefully selected and seasonal menu, which took the team six months to create, as a mix of modern and traditional techniques that create a “new” American feel.

“We’re doing very composed food,” he said. “It’s very stylized."

Some menu items include a mushroom tart with tarragon, aged Parmesan and tomato sauce; poached chicken breast with root vegetables and mushroom sauce; pan-fried walleye with onion broth, shallot and apples; and a burger with egg, pickle and bacon jam.

Having worked in restaurants in Paris, Chicago and New York, Peter said Vellum is bringing two generations of restaurateurs — father and son — together in a single project.

“I have been a guy, for the past year, without his kitchen,” he said. “It’s really wonderful to be back on my playground; this is what I do,” he said.

Although Vellum is more of a formal restaurant, customers won’t find tablecloths or wait staff wearing ties and vests. There is a bar, a second-floor wine cellar, and a lounge area, where customers are seated before being shown to a table. The idea, Peter said, is to make the restaurant feel warm and inviting.

“We wanted to make the experience really warm and welcoming,” he said. “We’re able to do that, I think, because we have these brasses, coppers and wood…you go upstairs and see hand painted wallpaper, which I thought was brilliant.”

Vellum is open for dinner everyday from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. The bar and lounge is open Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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



Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

Let's see if he play switcheroo with the wine. He listed a bottle of wine for $75 at Carlyle for a specific year. Then they brought out a bottle of a different vintage and looked at me funny when I said it should priced a lot lower cause it was not as good of a year as the menu. Same bottle of wine was $25 at Meijer. Nope...won't be going.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

Hi Dave. Just an interesting tid-bit from your $25 example, the rough restaurant industry standard markup on wine is approximately 2-3x's which would put the $75 price in that neighborhood. Here's a WSJ story from a few years back on wine pricing: Alcohol (and all beverage) sales are one of the big $ makers for many restaurants so I understand the mark-up on them.

Andrew R. Gorsuch

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 2:58 a.m.

Peter and family it looks great! Can't wait to come in and enjoy! Cheers! Andrew Gorsuch

Peter A Webb

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

This place may very well be awesome, but I can't be the only person whose appetite is thrown into question by having to contemplate dried calf skin. Vellum?


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it.......there is a reason that no prices are listed! They are sky high! One more overpriced restaurant in A2!


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

Very excited by the influx of cutting-edge restaurants in Ann Arbor in the past year or so. Competition is good. Our little city is growing up.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

Some people like upscale restaurants, the way others may spend their entertainment budget on a rock concert or a hockey game. You throw a stone anywhere in Ann Arbor and can hit a pizza, burger, or falafal place. I guess I'm kinda confused as to why people are so anti "upscale." What is it that bothers you? What do you mean by more quality and diversity? I'd love a great Vietnamese restaurant. Still, not everyone likes to eat casual all the time.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

They are going to need more than fancy names and high prices to truly "grow up." How about some real quality and real diversity. Enough overpriced upscale restaurants that last 6 months.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

the menu situation reminds me of this:

Jonathan Blutarsky

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.


Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

"Upscale American restaurant Vellum now open in downtown Ann Arbor" ... replacing the older, pedestrian Parchment restaurant.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.


free form

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

Very exciting! The menu looks appealing and the decor seems lovely. (except that ugly patterned carpet in the back of the dining) Can't wait for another great Ann ARbor restaurant.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

The text accompanying all of the pictures give the address as 205 S. Main St., whereas the address actually is 209 S. Main St. (the address correctly given in the article).


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

OK, I see (without a note to that effect in the article) that the address in the text of the pictures has been corrected to 209. However, whoever did the corrections missed correcting the address in the text of the 3rd picture.

Honest Abe

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

What restaurants were previously at this location?


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

pool table side of One Eyed Moose, Full Moon and Monkey balls.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Full Moon most recently.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Excited to see this space being used Carlyle...will definitely give Vellum a try! Best of luck!

Hi McDonnough

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3 p.m.

"a burger with egg, pickle and bacon jam." Wow that basically sounds like the Grange menu. Can you even do that? I know that there is no copyright on food, but I thought there was some professional courtesy between chefs. I guess I have been watching too much Food Network.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

Aussies have been doing it for years and I'm sure they are not the only ones.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

It's called the Bedford Burger (Chicago).


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

Not convinced Grange invented that idea either.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3 p.m.

i much prefer aged parmesan to the brand new stuff.

Mary Bilyeu

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Oh, the menu sounds just lovely! And the sense of whimsy in a dessert that lists M&Ms as an ingredient makes me smile ... :) Can we find a Frugal Floozie Friday feature to write up there ...? We'll have to see ....


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

It looks lovely. I'll try it! Best of luck!


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

The menu sort of reminds me of The Grange. Well, except that they have prices on theirs.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

It will be tough to top quality of Grange. Grange has formal enough 1st floor and a cozy bar upstairs. Does seem a bit repetitive. But I do like Carlyle Grill London Burger.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

Yep, all of those things are on the brunch menu. And all from local farmers and vendors.

just sayin

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing- burger, egg, bacon jam- shrimp n'grits? Doesn't Grange have that on their menu?


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

I really didn't think food at the Carlyle Grill was very good. Maybe things have changed there. I hope this young man has quality food coming out of his kitchen. It sounds as though he will keep a personal hand on his restaurant. Congratulations!!

Tony Livingston

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

We go to Carlyle often. Try the veggie burger with Portabello mushroom. It is delicious, very large and comes with an entire plate of really great fries. I always take half home. Only $10.

free form

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

The Carlyle food is fine, but it is just very mass market. (by design, I'm sure) It fits into the area and serves it's purpose well. I eat lunch there, but it's certainly not an "upscale dinner" place. I think a comparison of Carlyle and Vellum is like comparing apples and oranges. Just because they are owned by the same family does not mean they are similar restaurants.

Tex Treeder

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

When Carlyle Grill opened a few years back, I thought it might be a nice place to try for my SO's birthday. No reservations for just 2 people, said the person on the phone. We dropped by anyway and looked at the menu. Boring and expensive, so we never went there. We'll see whether this restaurant is cut from the same cloth.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Are you sure those aren't pictures of Red Hawk inside? All jokes aside, *FINALLY*. This place must have been undergoing construction for two years. I'll give it a shot.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

If I'm not mistaken it took less then a year to build. And considering the entire building had to be gutted and reconstructed, that's not bad. It wasn't anywhere near code when they bought it, and wasn't equipped at all for a restaurant.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Good for them, hope they succeed. That is not that building that's had a lot of turn over in the past ten years is it? Unfortunately nothing looked too appealing to me on the menu, I hope they add a few staples like steak and pasta. Also confused by the addition of M & M's on the dessert menu, lol.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

I think it sounds beautiful and can't wait to try it. Haters gonna hate.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Gonna need a lot more tourists to support all these new restaurants.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 7:06 p.m.

@free form. Retired living on a fixed income, sorry that I can't either.

free form

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

I live here and I eat at nice restaurants. Sorry that you don't.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

"a second-floor wine cellar,"!?!?!?! Oxymorons are us!

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Haha, my fault!


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Do they take reservations?

George K

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Show me the vegan options!


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:37 a.m.

If you are a vegan or vegetarian DON'T go to vellum. The owner/chef has no problem telling you that an option is vegan/vegetarian even though he knows full well that its not. The best part is, he brags about deceiving the his clientele into thinking that its a really Delicious vegan/vegetarian dish even though chicken stock, for example, is used to enhance the flavor of the dish. just adds to the already noted pretentiousness of Vellum.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Goto jazzy veggie


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

I see there are no prices on the menu.

Boo Radley

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

Like Sheldon, I was responding to Ross's challenge to "Find us an example of a nice restaurant posting prices on the web. " Not about whether THIS restaurant has had time to post prices. Not saying I am never a hater .... just not in this case.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

I think it's reasonable that they don't have prices up when they're still doing the soft opening and may not have gotten to it yet. But when someone says something as incorrect as "Find us an example of a nice restaurant posting prices on the web. They don't.", I'm going to respond as requested, because it's wrong.

free form

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

Seriously, haters? Can you wait until they are at least OPEN? I'm sure since they are still in the "soft opening" phase, they are working on the menu and pricing.

Honest Abe

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

If you have to ask how much it can't afford it! ;)


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Ross, at this point it is easier to change the menu prices online than it is to reprint new menus every time there is a price change. I however will cut them some slack and chalk this up to the fact that they are brand new.

Boo Radley

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Ross, I checked the first few places that came to mind .... All of the Main Street Ventures restaurants - Real Seafood, Gratzi, Palios, and The Chop House have their prices listed with their online menus. Mani Osteria also lists prices online. When I check a restaurants site online to see if I want to go there, if they can't list prices, I know I can't afford it.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Ross, here are a number of examples of restaurants which are at least as nice as Vellum posting prices on their web menus. There are certainly some that don't, but many do:


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Completely normal for a menu version posted on the internet. Find us an example of a nice restaurant posting prices on the web. They don't. Prices fluctuate, and the restaurant is brand new, cut them a break.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

Is there an Early Bird special before 5pm? A senior discount? Coupons in the Val-Pak that comes on Wednesdays?


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Yes, and I feel that is really pretentious. That menu looks totally incomplete. Either do it or not!