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Posted on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Brahma Steakhouse & Lounge closes in Pittsfield Township; new restaurant coming soon

By Katrease Stafford


The Brahma Steakhouse & Lounge has closed and a new restaurant will replace it in mid-January.

Julie Baker |

After being open for nearly a year, the Brahma Steakhouse & Lounge in Pittsfield Township has closed and a new restaurant will soon open in its place.

A sign posted on the window of the restaurant located at 4855 Washtenaw Ave. said the new restaurant, Maiz Mexican Cantina, will open in mid-January.

Building owner Demos Panos confirmed with that a new business would be moving in shortly. A banner is now hanging announcing the near opening of Maiz. Calls to the new restaurant owner were not immediately returned.

Brahma replaced The Smokehouse Grill and Pub in 2012. Brahma owner Louie Vushaj said last February he planned on investing $100,000 in renovations. Vushaj could not be reached for comment.


A sign was posted

Julie Baker |

Panos originally put the restaurant on the market in 2010 because his family was preoccupied with running its other businesses, including Nick’s Original House of Pancakes on Lohr Circle in Pittsfield Township.

According to township documents, the property’s assessed value was $454,300 in the 2012 tax year, making its estimated market value about double that.

Panos had invested in some remodeling in June 2011, when he told the restaurant was performing well. The restaurant seats approximately 230 people.

Brahma is the second restaurant to close recently in this particular stretch of Washtenaw. The Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet located in Pittsfield Township’s Glencoe Crossing shopping center is closed until further notice after being open for six months.

Selina Chen opened the restaurant last June in the 12,000-square-foot space at 4735 Washtenaw Ave. Chen opened the restaurant in the former Bistro Bar and Grill space, which closed in 2011 for renovations but then never reopened.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

All of the exisiting Brahma staff is working at Maiz. With the size of their bar and really great food they will be serving, I expect Maiz to totally fill the spot lost when Don Carlos shut down.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 7:52 p.m.

Waht happened to Hibachi Grill already?


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

What's in a name? I like this name 'Brahma' as it is derived from Indian language known as Sanskrit. It refers to a breed of domestic cattle developed from the zebu of India. In the picture, the horns seen may not represent the Indian bull known as 'Brahman'. If the owner had paid attention to these small details, he would have done better in managing the big details.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

So, will this be a small barroom that serves Indian corn?


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

it would be interesting to see how many restaurants in the Ypsi/A2 area have closed in the last 5 years and how many new ones opened and also closed during the same period of time.seems like it's a revolving door.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

Wow this place changes so often they should just install one of those programmable digital signs. Does anyone have the complete list of restaurant incarnations in this building?

Katrease Stafford

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

The farthest back that I'm aware of is Herc's Roast Beef. Does anyone else know of a restaurant prior to Herc's?


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

The Smokehouse Grill was an old favorite of mine that seemed to do well in a tough location. I don't remember the reason it changed (change in ownership I'm guessing), but I had hopped that Brahma would've continued the same level of food and service. Unfortunatly, it did not. I'd be very surprised if this planned Mexican restaurant is still there within a year. Despite being near the highway and being a main route between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, this seems to be a bad area for restaurants.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

They need to bring Don Carlos back...hopefully this new Mexican restaurant will be close.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

We never understood why Smokehouse Blues was closed in the first place. They were always busy and some times we had to wait a few minutes to be seated. The food was excellent and the service was good at Smokehouse, can't say the same for Brahma. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Little Patience

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

Bummer! We were planning on eating there again this coming weekend. Loved their brisket.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Aren't there already quite a number of Mexican restaurants in the area? I miss the early version of Smokehouse that served up some tasty comfort food for a reasonable price.

Katrease Stafford

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

I specifically remember one the one that was located right down the street on Washtenaw. I believe it was Pacific Beach Burritos in Ypsilanti Township. It's been closed for awhile now.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Another business run into the ground by bad management..... You have a responsibility as a business owner to your EMPLOYEES....yet why is it that nearly every single business owner I've met seems to think only about their bottom line and only view employees as assets to be gained and lost... Consequently the most successful people I've met do NOT think like this....and there is solace in that.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 12:01 a.m.

What business do you own, Billy? If you're one of the successful people you refer to, I'm there!


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

Did you work there? What evidence is there (other than the business closing) in the article that it had bad management? Just asking.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

You should start your own business, Billy. You know, for the employees, not for you.

4 Fingers

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

I can agree with that.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Oh I entirely understand the difficulty in finding responsible and reliable employees....but you also have to remember, if you treat your employees poorly they perform poorly. Happy employees do the best work by far. Putting employees out by cutting corners to save money on your bottom line is unfortunately an all too common business technique used least by small business owners that are in it to get rich. Heh...the most successful small business owners I know...yeah they're in it for the business itself. There is a lot of personal pride in running your own it well and it can be more rewarding than money.

4 Fingers

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

I wouldn't call it bad management, more like bad concept and execution. Oh, and your only good as the people you hire.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

I predicted this when I saw the prices. Way too high for that part of town.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

My husband and I went once to try Brahma. Total disappointment. Although the service was good...the food not so much. We also heard from the table near us that their food was not up to par.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

So, who is the new owner who couldn't be reached by phone?


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : noon

Bring back Herc's. Never understood why a successfull restaurant would close, or change. Oh well not my money.


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

And they had one of the best pizzas I've ever had anywhere!

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

along with the muffin size fried mushrooms and the donut size onion rings.....mmmmmmmm two appetizers=dinner #goodstuff


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 11:15 a.m.

Sad, lots of good people worked here, andI went regularly ( about every two weeks)...and it seemed to do good business-- though the last time I went its doors were inexplicably locked. Now it makes sense. Good luck to the folks who worked here!