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Posted on Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

'Vellum' restaurant owners aim for mid-November opening in downtown Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs

Ann Arbor’s South Main Street is getting a new restaurant, bar and lounge in the coming months as John and Peter Roumanis prepare to open their latest concept: Vellum.

The restaurant, a unique American concept that utilizes Michigan grown products, is opening at 209 S. Main St., next to The Ravens Club. The space was most recently occupied by half of the Full Moon restaurant.


John and Peter Roumanis plan to open Vellum at 209 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor in mid-November. file photo

Together, the father and son duo have decades of experience in the restaurant industry: John owns Ann Arbor’s Mediterrano and Carlyle Grill, and Peter has worked at restaurants in Paris, Chicago and New York.

In February, they purchased the three-story building on South Main Street and are now in the process of converting the 2,513-square-foot first floor and 2,633-square-foot second floor of the building into the restaurant and bar. The third floor will eventually be converted into a loft for Peter.

“(Vellum is) going to be American food,” Peter explained. “The techniques we use will be both modern and traditional…we really feel like we can do this beautiful food with precise technique without having to be a formal restaurant where you have to spend high-end prices on Main Street.”

He said Vellum will highlight “as many things as Michigan has to offer,” including sour cherries, sweet corn, morel mushrooms, apples, carrots and various fish.

“We have been going around the state and discovering various things we are really excited about,” he said. “We kind of use these undervalued ingredients and coax out that flavor and transform it into something beautiful and incredible.”


A salmon and barley plate is one of several menu items depicted on Vellum's Facebook page. Peter said the menu will continue to evolve leading up to the opening.

Photo from Vellum's Facebook page

Peter said Vellum will offer a unique cocktail list, which is being created by head bartender Travis Reeves. A large wine cellar is also being installed on the second floor.

A small area on the first floor will be dedicated to the restaurant’s specialty coffee program, spearheaded by Josh Longsdorf of Detroit’s Anthology Coffee.

The pastry sous, Dugan Walser, is working on developing a “mind-blowing” dessert menu to pair with the coffee and cocktails, Peter said. The head chef is Russell Bronson.

They also are in the process of hiring 30 to 50 additional employees.

“In many ways, (Vellum is) going to fit within the dining scene here and the scope of what people feel is acceptable, but at the same time, it’s going to very much push the envelope,” Peter said.

The lounge and bar at Vellum will open in the late afternoon for cocktails and drinks. Dinner will probably be served from 5:30 until 10:30, and cocktails and desserts will remain available until at least midnight. It will be open seven days a week.

The under-construction space will have about 130 seats on the two floors, including a small outdoor patio. Peter described the feel of the space as “warm” and “open,” with a more intimate feel upstairs.

The contractor for the project is Mason, Mich.-based Lovell Contractors.

And as for the name of the restaurant? Peter said a printing company once occupied the historic downtown building, and Vellum, a parchment made from calfskin, had a nice ring to it.

“We really liked the historical aspect of it,” Peter said. “It has a nice academic connotation being a university town.”

For more information and updates on Vellum, visit the restaurant's Facebook and Twitter.

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



Sat, Sep 15, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

Vegan options would be great. That's one big reason we love and patronize Jolly Pumpkin. :)

say it plain

Sat, Sep 15, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

I like these ideas (especially the attention to coffees and "mind-blowing" desserts! ) "Precise" techniques also sounds good... It's all going to be about distinguishing yourself with *execution*...which is what is generally lacking in our AA downtown restaurant scene. In that sense "Vellum" is an encouraging name I suppose, jokes about cowhide has an air of careful craft. If that comes at reasonable prices it would be noteworthy indeed!


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

I still miss Full Moon...

George K

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

We need more vegan options in A2. Seva is fine for now, but could be a lot better for the nutritionally-impaired. I wish them luck, although I won't be eating there unless they have a fully vegan menu.


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

A wine cellar on the second floor? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call it a wine attic or a wine loft?


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

Love Carlyle! Can't wait to try your new venture! I love the idea that you are supporting and featuring local Michigan products, as some of the other local restaurants have done...curious to see what pops up on the menu! Good luck :-)


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Alas....another "hip" menu and the same few taps of beer, lets see how many more of the same we can fit on S. Main.


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Just when we thought there weren't going to be enough places to eat and get tipsy in...this comes along to save the day!!!


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

As long as they have some tasty craft brews I will check it out!

Dog Guy

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Will Vellum serve veal?


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

I hope they serve veal. Good veal is hard to find.


Sat, Sep 15, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

Please don't serve veal.


Sat, Sep 15, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

Perhaps menues tattoo'ed on (their) calf skin?

Kent Jocque

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

P. Peter Roumanis, When you respond it encourages us to make even stupider comments (see above). That's the fun of it here for us lonelyhearts. -Kent


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

No, but they will print their menus on calf skin


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 3 p.m.

....wrapped in paper??

P. Peter Roumanis

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

No idea--at the moment, we don't have it planned on our menu!

Lynn Liston

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

Wonderful news! I love both Mediteranno and Carlyle and am looking forward to the same kind of food magic at Vellum. It's good to know there will be a place for dessert and coffee/nightcaps for the after-theatre crowd, too. They will be a great addition to Main Street.


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

who is the designer/architect of record?

P. Peter Roumanis

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

The designers were Momus Inc. -- and they have done a fantastic job!


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

Lovely - the sooner the better. This place has been under construction for quite some time now.


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Mmmmmmm..... connceppppppt...

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

A day late and dollar short. Good luck.


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

After a couple already standing establishments that are similar, its hard to market to the same crowd differently than the others...