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Posted on Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Artisan coffee shop and juice bar opens in downtown Ann Arbor

By Kody Klein


Glassbox Coffee on the corner of South University Street and Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor.

Joseph Tobianski |

When Jason Friend named his new coffee shop, he took inspiration from its enormous glass walls that provide a panoramic view of the streets they face.

"People kept coming in and saying things like, ‘glasshouse’ or 'aquarium' or 'fishbowl,'" Friend said. "None of those things sounded that good. Then somebody mentioned ‘glassbox.’ It’s an architectural term and I just thought it sounded nice."

Glassbox Coffee, 1335 S. University Ave., will officially open Monday, in a roughly 700-square-foot space leased from Campus Realty.

The shop will serve specialty coffee and espresso drinks, as well as fresh artisan juices.

"We take great care in sourcing our beans," Friend said. "The roasters we buy from are without any doubt a few of the top 10 in the entire country."


Glassbox Coffee on the corner of South University Street and Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor.

Joseph Tobianski |

The espresso beans will be from Gimme! Coffee and the featured coffee beans will rotate between Verve, Stumptown and Michigan's own Madcap Coffee.

The fruits and vegetables used in the all-natural juices are sourced from Ann Arbor's Frog Holler Organic Farm.

"Some people have the wrong impression that juices have to taste bad," Friend said. "If you use really fresh, quality ingredients, you can combine them in a way that’s really good."

For people who prefer more simple and straightforward juice, Glassbox has flavors like Orange Perfection, made with freshly juiced blood orange and mint. But those wanting something more complex can order juices like the KGB, made with kale, ginger, basil, cantaloupe, and pineapple.

"You would think that kale is so gross in a juice but when you combine it with certain things, you can’t taste it at all," Friend said. "It doesn’t taste like you’re drinking a salad."

In addition their actual products, Friend said he hopes Glassbox will be recognized for its staff as well.

"It’s about how you make people feel while they’re here," he said. "We want people to feel like we want them here."

Glassbox is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. As spring creeps in, Friend said hours will be extended and outdoor seating will be installed.

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Kody Klein is an intern for Reach him at



Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

I'm interested in giving it a try. Thanks for the heads-up! But I'm also with the folks who say, "Why do think they call it Division St?" (Really. Google it!) As journalists, it is part of your job to take sales pitches with a grain of salt. So look it up. And ask the DDA what they mean, and why. But's track record tells me that that it is not likely that they will do so. They are perfectly happy calling B&Es "Home Invasions," (conjuring up images of automatic weapons and duct-taped hostages), because a few "Tough On Crime" politicos decided to make some political hay some years back. And "Speeding" is now, "Driving At A High Rate Of Speed" (which, in the real world, actually means "Accelerating"), just because some cop thinks it sounds more formal, and cooler to say, than "Speeding." The lesson being, "Take What You Are Spoon-Fed Without Questioning."


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

Wow people. How about you just go give it a try before saying things like it will probably be closed in a year or two. Would you rather have your town full of empty buildings or go out and suppirt new places?


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

man there are a lot of pessimistic close-minded babies on here... I for one am excited to give this place a try!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

I'm amused that something like this can generate 30 comments. I'm sorry, but I think that this is yet another place that's going to be gone in a year or two.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

"Glassbox" will be very close to Glass House (in Palmer Commons). Wonder how many people will be waiting in the wrong one to meet their coffee date! Always happens when names are too similar.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Ann Arbor, Michigan ... possibly the only place in North America where the residents are actually offended when a particular area is referred to as "downtown," and where they have nothing better to do than express their consternation about this perceived outrage in the comments section of an online news site.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

No, what this has to do with is a local publication that can't keep local details straight to save their collective lives.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

Looks great. Hope they do well. But this location is not "downtown."


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 6:40 a.m.

i have lived in ann arbor my entire life and always have considered south u dowtnown, how is it not? also curious to where this place think there is room for available outdoor seating?

Speedy Squirrel

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 4:28 a.m.

Thank goodness for the strict admission policy on the coffee beans. Yawn.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

This is great because I only drink coffee made by artisans.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.

I am very excited. I hope they price the juice decently unlike some other places DT that jack up the price to unreasonable amounts. :) But, I am sooooo happy about this. It looks like it's gonna be incredible!

David Paris

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

* * * * * <----- That's a Five-Star Rating just for being Locally-owned & Independent. And, that's a Very Cool use of that space!


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

I'm assuming you mean Frog Holler Produce Co. I don't think Frog Holler Organic Farms does much growing during the winter, and they don't really grow much fruit.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

I am old enough and have lived in Ann Arbor long enough to have an opinion on this. Anything east of Division is called Campus Town. The DDA can call it anything they want, but Campus Town is not Downtown.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

Love the name. It's also a good location for students walking to class - I lived in a house on Washtenaw and would always stop at Espresso Royale on South U before going to class, but now this shop is before that. I think they'll get a lot of that traffic.

Tom Joad

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

Here I was all set to trudge over to check out a new coffee shop [live on OWS] and then I see it's on South U. That is about as far away from downtown as you can get.

An Arborigine

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

Hope they have lots of parking, oh wait, I'll just ride my bike way over there for coffee and "artisan juice". Lots of square feet to rent for low cost product, guess it won't be a low cost product, eh?


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

Non-local bankers think the corner of South U. and Washtenaw (across the street from the Mud Bowl) is "downtown".


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.



Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 9:27 p.m.

That's not downtown. That's South U.

shadow wilson

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

This is news? and way is that downtown..


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

Yeah, I mean, there's no abbey there or anything.

shadow wilson

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

whoops no way is that downton


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

Interesting that none of the prices were listed in this article............... Hope they are washing all the fruit before going into those juice drinks. I've seen plenty of places using oranges and other fruit right out of the boxes they are shipped in, and of course, still covered in pesticides......


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

FINALLY a place I can get some coffee in this town. ...just kidding. Hope it does well.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

And here I thought that artisanal juice squeezing was a lost art.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

I'm shocked there's room for yet another coffee shop in Ann Arbor.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

Anxious to see a menu. Wonder what the juice prices are like. Looking forward to this opening!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

I don't think of that location as downtown. I would refer to it as "campus area."


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

A. I can't believe anyone actually cares about this distinction. B. It's downtown.

Susan Montgomery

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

I'm with Ypsicat, Kyle. Just because the DDA calls it downtown doesn't mean has to. South U is most definitely not downtown.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

Hey Kyle--how many legs does an elephant have if you call a tail a leg? The DDA would call the entire city "downtown" if it thought it could get away with it. That way, they could suck up even more money from the other governments.

Kyle Mattson

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Hi ypsicat- This particular building is on the very eastern edge of the Ann Arbor DDA zone which we use as a rough guide for referencing locations around town.