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Posted on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township Tios restaurant closes; 6 employees move to Ann Arbor store

By Erica Hobbs

After more than nine years of business, the Tios Mexican Café in Ypsilanti Township closed its doors for good.

The restaurant, located at 2224 E. Washtenaw Ave., ended operations Saturday after years of struggling financially, said owner Tim Seaver.


Tios owners Tim and Harriet Seaver with one of their daughters, Jessie, who also works at the restaurant file photo

“Ypsilanti is just getting killed,” he said. “There’s just really no business on the block.”

Seaver, who owns the restaurant with his wife Harriet, said problems started several years ago when the area’s manufacturing plants began to close.

The restaurant is located just west of Hewitt Road. Vacant restaurants on Washtenaw between Hewitt and Golfside - also in Ypsilanti Township - include the former Cottage Inn Cafe and the drive-thru built as a Hot 'n' Now. Yet a recent opening includes the newly constructed Asia City.

He said business continued to decline in 2009, and he began considering closing the restaurant at the beginning of the year.

While business suffered at the Ypsilanti Township location, Seaver said his Ann Arbor Tios restaurant is booming, enabling him to transfer all six of his Ypsilanti Township full-time employees to the Ann Arbor location.

The Ann Arbor restaurant, located at 401 E. Liberty St., has seen improved business since moving from its former location on Huron Street and gaining a liquor license.

“It’s getting busier and busier by the week in Ann Arbor,” he said. “We just decided to stop beating a dead horse out here.”



Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

Looks like the new operation may be closing before they get started. The landlord failed to advise them that the parking lot to the west must be leased from the owner of the old hot and now. and the parking lot in the rear belongs to the owner of the old gas station.


Wed, Nov 24, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

there is a new operation just opened. any one try it yet?

Jim Claystone

Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 11:24 p.m.

Stunhsif, I was told Side Track Bar had fish tacos but I was also told they were expensive. I've tried the fish and shrimp at Pacific Beach and they're tasty and nicely priced. Oh, and Taco Bell for Shrimp Tacos, OK the thought of that at TB makes me want to hurl.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 8:29 p.m.

All, ordered fish tacos in San Diego about 20 years ago only because someone else made me do it ( they said I would love them) and they were buying. Glad I did because they were awsome. Where can you get fish tacos in Washtenaw County?


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 8:22 p.m.

@nxil2009, Agree totally, LaPinata at the corner of West Liberty and Stadium was the most authentic Mexican Restaraunt. Remember how they would put a "fried egg" on top of almost anything ordered. It was the best. @Linda French, Love "Sidetrack" in Ypsi, been going for over 30 years. "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy"!! Mr. Ben Franklin!

Some Guy in 734

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 3:17 p.m.

Some more bad news. Last night we had a tasty, tasty Zorro's dinner, but our enjoyment was mitigated by the signs they had up, saying that their last day (in Ypsi) will be March 31. They'll have a grand opening in Wayne sometime in April. Great food, but that puts it out of my regular daily path. By the way, if you miss La Casita de Lupe's brunch, echoes of it can be found at the \aut\. Holy shinoley, that's a nice morning.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

@treetown Yes, LUST cleanup is expensive but there are funds to assist in this type of cleanup - It just has to be a priority. As potentially prime developable land, I think it would be a good investment for the region.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

I miss the old La Casita de Lupe in Braun Court. Sabor Latino on Main in A2 has a wide menu selection at moderate prices.

tru in d game

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 6:44 p.m.

First off, when we talk about how the food sucks in Ypsi, it's the same exact thing that they serve in the Ann Arbor location.Ann Arbor luckily just moved in a different location and now making evrybody an alcoholic including their staff while on the clock bc i noticed it when i came in one time. Secondly, Tios-Ypsi was doing very good before the changes were made. We came in for the great, very friendly, and attentive employees that we have seen worked there for years. We kept on coming to Ypsi location bc they did a pleasing job,but now, you can tell that most of them don't seem to know what they're doing that's why they ended up shutting down. And finally,the prices keep on getting higher while the quality is nonetheless like you just got robbed and have to use the bathroom for the rest of your life non-stop.

Forest City

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 2:33 p.m.

I ate there once and had one of the worst experiences of my life. Sorry.


Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 2:16 p.m.

@Mumbambu, that corner lot is an old gas station, meaning there are or were old leaky tanks. The remdiation costs associated with developing on that land inhibit any one from thinking about doing just that.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 12:48 p.m.

Something needs to be done to the terrible vacant plot of land next to it on the corner. Just please, not another pharmacy. If Washtenaw were a walkable area, all the restaraunts along the corridor would see more business.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 11:23 a.m.

It sounds to me like the problem *is* Ypsilanti. Not that Ypsilanti is a bad place to run a restaurant but it sure sounds like there is a lot more competition in the Mexican food area in Ypsilanti than there is in Ann Arbor. It is too bad though. I always get a little bit sad when some locally owned place goes under because I think such places add to the character of the area. But I am certainly part of the problems they had since I never ate there even once. Why? Because there are so many other really good places to eat in Ypsilanti!


Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 10:15 a.m.

Have to agree with the majortiy of the comments here. I really never had bland Mexican food before until I went to Tio's. Ate at all 3 locations and totally disappointed at each. Expensive and bland. The location that was at Ellsworth and Stone School only last about a year, if that long. They have been closed for a couple of years now. Like nxil2009, how I miss La Pinata.


Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 8:13 a.m.

Sorry you closed.


Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 8:01 a.m.

One down one to go...a whole lot of digestive systems in Ypsi can sleep easier now

Jim Claystone

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 12:14 a.m.

Lokalisierung, your frequent posts seem to have a common theme, against anything authentic & West Coast, do you work for Tios? (the give away was your reference to needing cheese, sour cream, and lettuce on your Mex) Raised in Orange County Cali my infant formula consisted of Mexican food, probably ate Mexican a minimum of 8 to 10 times a week counting breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night.. all good, all fresh. Dined at Tios once, reminded me of Taco Bell on steroids, the vacant space will make more room for a strip mall someday. Best tasting & affordable Mexican in SE Michigan, Lupitas on Bagley in Detroit, $1 authentic tacos, Pacific Beach in Ypsi, lots of good to choose from, & La Terezza on Lawndale in Detroit (not a great neighborhood but worth the visit).


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 5:30 p.m.

Yeah I'm not really into the whole "authentic" or "real" food people alwaysd talk about. I only like what tastes good to me. Everyplace I've been on the west coast was horrible. Of course those were more upper west coast and not Cali. Although i ate some in San Diego and was not impressed.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 4:35 p.m.

Try Mi Zarape in Saline on Michigan Ave. It's across from the Walmart. It's real authentic and fair prices.

James Briggs

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

Wow... Tios is getting crushed. I liked it, and I know a lot of other people who did, too. Although, I used to go there for lunch and the wait staff would have soap operas playing at top volume. That was no fun.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

I always enjoyed going to Tios in Ann Arbor, back when I was 20 and drunk. I remember when the Tios on Washtenaw opened. I was looking forward to having Tios so close. The first time I ordered from there I was thoroughly disappointed. I figured it was just a fluke though, until I went in one day and had the same bad food, but this time with bad service. My Wife and I made the mistake of going in one day last Summer for lunch. We got the menu and noticed the high prices, but we figured we were already there so we stayed. That meal sealed it for us on never eating there again. Overpriced and a poor excuse for Mexican Food. Charging for chips and salsa is ridiculous as well. No Mexican Restaraunt charges for chips and salsa, they just bring it out. It didn't help Tios that about 5 or 6 good Mexican restaraunts opened in Ypsi in the last few years. All cheaper and better than Tios, so why would you go to Tios? Good riddance to bad food!


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

La Fiesta Mexicana is clean, pure Mexican food, not Tex-Mex. A bit pricey, but worth it. Los Amigos is more of a hole in the wall, but tasty and less expensive. Taqueria La Fiesta is, I believe, owned by a relative of Michelle's of La Fiesta Mexicana. Zorro's is OK. Had not heard of La Casita, it must really be hidden away. As for Tios, like the Seaver's, not so much their food.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

Atticus, we might be talking about a different place. There is Los Amigos on East Michigan Ave in Ypsi and there is Los Tres Amigos by Briarwood mall (if it's still there??)


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 3:02 p.m.

"Being from the west coast I did not have much, if any, expectations for finding authentic or even 'good' Mexican in Michigan." Here we go again.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 2:38 p.m.

La Fuente is by far one of the best Mexican food places in the area. Being from the west coast I did not have much, if any, expectations for finding authentic or even 'good' Mexican in Michigan. So hats off to La Fuente, good eats and not a bad price.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 1:11 p.m.

People have differnt ideas of cheap I guess. Everyone says Pacbeach Burritos is cheap...which I guess it is if you dont want lettuce or cheese or sour cream...that's an extra $3 right there.

Atticus F.

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 12:55 p.m.

where are all of these people coming from saying Los Tres Amigos is inexpensive...I eat there once a month and think there food is awsome, but they charge $8.00 for 3 soft tacos. I've seen 3 different posters talking about how wonderful and cheap their food is. I've always griped that their food is excellent, but they are way overpriced.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 12:15 p.m.

I have to agree with the comments that others are making about the quality of the food and the prices. The only reason that I ate "there" was because it delivered out to Pittsfield where we live. I will miss that!


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

"Al Noor also closed recently in the proximity on Washtenaw." Worst service of any single entity i ever dealt with. I loved the food, but the service was so below par it was shocking.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 11:21 a.m.

Let me be the upteenth person to recommend La Fiesta Mexicana -- delicious food and it's BYOB. Also, my go to Mexican restaurant is Los Amigos, great prices, food and fantastic margarita specials.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 11:03 a.m.

There's some great taco stands along Vernor near Clark Park in Detroit. One of 'em is also often set up in the parking lot of a shoe store across Michigan Ave. from the Telway.

j bredell

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 11:02 a.m.

I have owned a business in Ypsi and have eaten at that location for years, when it was Kenny's. My wife and I ate at Tios once, and never came back. The closure has little to do with the location in Ypsilanti.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

There's also a Mexican market downtown Ypsilanti on Michigan Ave. that sells tamales for $1. You take them home, cook, and serve! They are delicious! It is right by Abe's.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 10:16 a.m.

I've actually never been to that particular location. Sounds like maybe it was a couple notches below the Ann Arbor location? I never really thought Tios had *great* food; it was a tasty, quirky, reasonably-priced, hole-in-the-wall pseudo-Mexican restaurant. Nothing really special, but a nice change from pizza or Chinese on a lazy Thursday night. If things have changed significantly since then, that's a shame.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 9:37 a.m.

Tio's predeccessor in that place, Kenny's place, was pretty good. I think they had a full liqour license though. A psorts bar of some sort might do ok there, they could capture some of the Eastern Athletics crowd since they are so close to the complexes. Gotta have good food though. Miesel/Sysco's bottom tier fried frozen foods just won't cut it.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

I agree with the posts. The food was not what I remember it being in Ann Arbor. Plus every time I walked into the restaurant it was half full. I also have noticed that once Mexican restaurants do start? Their food is good and priced reasonable. This one was a little expensive. The one of the East side of Yspi is the same way. expensive and bland. Guess Mexico Town in Detroit is the last resort?

Life in Ypsi

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 9:18 a.m.

Tio's owner seems to really care about the area I'll give him that. The food was just too expensive and a bit bland.Maybe it's time we get Chef gordon Ramsey from kitchen nightmares to come to some places. Heh Heh. I heard Bandito's in A2 are struggling too. Again, nice people but their food was bland. I'm always sad to see places in Ypsi close though. I'm glad the workers kept their jobs. I highly recommend La Fiesta on Cross St. They are by far the tastiest place in the area. They were better than the highly recommended places I ate at in Texas.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

Blaming Ypsi? The food was TERRIBLE!! I drive past the location daily and, after being burned there several times, wouldn't eat there if they were giving it away. YPSI RULES!!! PS I eat at Luca's all the time, a VERY successful restaurant just a few doors down.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 8:35 a.m.

Not great food. Too high prices. There were things I liked but more I didn't like. Man I miss La Pinata in AA on Liberty and Stadium. They closed years ago but that was a great place!


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 8:24 a.m.

Al Noor also closed recently in the proximity on Washtenaw.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 7:57 a.m.

Good job Tim! I worked for Tios (you) back in the late 80's/early 90's as "night" manager.....had some great times back at the old building and I'm so happy to see that Tios has had continued success over the years....Best to you and your family!

Linda French

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 7:12 a.m.

Tios lease was up and the landlord wanted to jack up the rent. Get real, it's not about Ypsi. A lot of restaurants are doing great in Ypsi.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 6:04 a.m.

I would get a take-out chicken wet burrito from time to time, but that's not enough to support an entire business. The dining room was always empty, my big surprise is that they lasted this long. The good part of an empty restaurant was that the kitchen staff was never busy and my food was always ready about 30 seconds after I ordered it. The real benefit of this article for me is all the Mexican restaurant reviews and recommendations in the comments! Thanks, everyone, I now know a few more places to try.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 1:16 a.m.

The BBQ across the street is booming maybe it was the pour food and bad prep. Ann Arbor people like bad food.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 12:02 a.m.

tios=squirts beating a dead horse? bad comment when the article is about food yes, sick of the tios stories on, also sad that the first page of news is overwhelmingly there nothing else in this town, off season, on a tuesday..


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 9:26 p.m.

Taqueria La Fiesta at Packard and Carpenter serves up some great pork tamales.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 8:29 p.m.

i agree with everyone else and i'm constantly seeing tios on here?? There was them shutting, then the demolish, then business booming at the new location, now this....hmmmm. la fiesta mexicana is the best mexican!


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 7:51 p.m.

There's also La Fiesta Mexicana on Cross Street. My favorite is Los Amigos! Tios being located in Ypsi is not to blame. I, too, live in Ypsi and eat Mexican...from Mexican restaurants. I never liked Tios and never understood its popularity in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 7:35 p.m.

Tios=sad food. It all sounds so good... and then it arrives. Tiny taco, big price. I can't wait to try Los Amigos and La Fuente. Thanks for the tip! ps I don't see Los Amigos in the restaurant tab.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 7 p.m.

Mariachi band is sweet! Love it!


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 5:59 p.m.

"and a mariachi band on Sunday evenings." Oh nice...I want to check this place out now.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 5:23 p.m.

Tios was ok, very nice owners, glad to see employees being transferred. A great word of mouth restaurant that should take a look at is Los Amigos on Michigan Ave in Ypsilanti near Canton. Really good food at steal of a deal prices, great beer and margarita specials and a mariachi band on Sunday evenings.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 4:37 p.m.

Leann and Lokalisierung, I assigned the story about Tio's move to Liberty Street several weeks ago after writing a story about a new restaurant moving into McKinley Towne Centre. As part of that reporting, I was getting casual questions about how the restaurant was faring after its much-publicized move. I believed it was worth answering those questions in the recent story by Janet Miller. I also assigned this story after a reader said that they noticed the Ypsilanti Township location has just closed. That's something that we routinely try to do. As I look through our story search, I'm not seeing many other stories on since last summer - though we did run some photos in a downtown slideshow by Mark Bialek. It may just seem to be a lot because of the short timelapse between them.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 4:24 p.m.

I grew up in Ann Arbor, and we got Tios delivery almost as often as we got Cottage Inn. It's a place that's reasonably well-known by anyone who has lived in Ann Arbor, and reports on it for the same reasons they would report on The Fleetwood or Krazy Jims. Plus, as Lokalisierung says, the old location was right across from The Ann Arbor News. Since, according to the other article on Tios, Tim Seaver "estimated The News accounted for 40 percent of the restaurants day business", many staff are probably familiar with the place.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 4:23 p.m.

I second Zorro's over on Golfside. They are wonderful, I've been to San Antonio a few times and stepping into Zorro's is kind of like walking into a mini San Antonio. Hate to see Tio's leave only because there is yet another empty building on Washtenaw Avenue. There used to be another super yummy Mexican Resturant on somewhat across from the AME Church on Michigan Ave..not sure if they are still open or not, anyone know?


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 4:01 p.m.

"Why does this pseudo-Mexican restaurant get so much attention from" Probably becasue it was across from Ann Arbor News for so long?


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 3:57 p.m.

I have to agree with most people here. I lived almost a block away for 3 years but stopped going to Tios because it's ridiculously expensive. I feel like this is a self-perpetuating cycle. Business goes down, raise prices to compensate, people stop going because of prices, etc., etc. I was there, Seaver, but your prices kept me out! For what it's worth, there is a "Zorro's Mexican Restaurant" nearby at Golfside and Clark that is reasonably priced AND delicious.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 3:56 p.m.

Why does this pseudo-Mexican restaurant get so much attention from

Adam Jaskiewicz

Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

Tios is great for lunch if you're in the area. Not exactly "authentic Mexican", but so what? If I'm looking for a tasty bowl of chili and a plate of greasy, salty nachos, I'll go to Tios. If I'm looking for tacos with carnitas or lengua, I'll go to Vernor and Clark. Was this the last satellite location, or is the one on Ellsworth still around? I used to go there now and then when I worked in that area.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 3:36 p.m.

Don't know about Ypsi location but i assumed it was just as overpriced as Ann Arbor. Pizza House of Mexican food. Better than Pacific Beach Burritos for sure, but that isn't saying much.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

Pacific Beach Burritos opened up the street from Tios a few months ago. As opposed to Tios, their food is authentic, good, and quite reasonably priced.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

I frequent Los Amigos. They have good prices and great food. We sat down at Tios once and they didn't have alcohol. That was the last time I was there.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 3:27 p.m.

Completely agree with everyone else. I never considered Tio's a Mexican restaurant, it was more of an impersonation of Mexican food. Hard to blame the failure on Ypsi -- perhaps it's the quality of food.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 3:25 p.m.

We ate at Tios ONCE and never again! The food was horrible, it was over priced, we had to pay extra for chips and salsa, the service was bad and the building wasn't very clean so it's no big loss that they closed. I also take exception that Tio's failed because of being in Ypsilanti! There are a lot of good restaurants in the area and they have survived and will continue to do so, because the food and service are good. Glad to hear that the employees were able to transfer to the Ann Arbor location.

Atticus F.

Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

I quit eating at Tio's years ago. It seems like the prices kept going up, while the portion sizes kept going down...Same reason I stopped eating at Zingerman's.

Burt Reynolds

Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

Agree with everyone else. Tio's food was bland and horrible. Its hard to survive with La Casita down the street. Hopefulle something else can go in there that will work. Also, Hot N Now closed because the entire corporation shut down, not because of a weak economy in Ypsilanti.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 2:44 p.m.

Agree with ShadowManager! I take exception that the restaurant failed because it was in Ypsi. Come on. I frequent many restaurants in that area of Washtenaw Ave -Pita Pita, Smokehouse Blues -yet when I want Mexican food I rarely went to Tios. You know why? (Drum roll) Because it just wasn't very good. I've always liked the original Tios and mean no disrespect. The location and hole in the wall atmosphere makes it, I think. Plus, word of mouth and legendary status help. The Ypsi restaurant just wasn't that special, it didn't have the appeal. I prefer other Mexican restaurants in Ypsi and frequent those instead. So, one can't blame Ypsi.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 2:40 p.m.

Spot on Shadow manager, that food is not destination material.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 2:31 p.m.

It can't be ALL be blamed on "Ypsi" my point.


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 2:29 p.m.

They were over-priced and their quoteMexicanunquote food was no good. A few better Mexican restaurants moved in down the street and the area, and that was the end for them.