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Posted on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Fat Philly's & Burgers restaurant closes 6 months after opening in Ypsilanti Township

By Katrease Stafford


Fat Philly's & Burgers restaurant has closed in Ypsilanti Township.

Angela Cesere |

Fat Philly's & Burgers in Ypsilanti Township has closed after being open for just six months.

Fat Philly's, located at 2224 Washtenaw Ave. at the corner of Hewitt, opened July 13 after owner Anthony Wilkins spent six months searching for a location. Wilkins searched across Washtenaw County, Novi, and Royal Oak before settling on the location in Ypsilanti Township.

Wilkins could not be reached for comment.

Township Planner Joe Lawson confirmed the closure but was not sure as to exactly when the store closed or why the owner made the decision.

"I just found out yesterday," Lawson said. "I haven't spoken with the owner so I don't know the circumstances with the owner."

On the Fat Philly's Facebook page, an employee posted a comment in response to a customer asking if the store was closed and said they were closed and it was "time for a location change and a lot more changes."

The restaurant, which is nearly 3,000 square feet, seats about 89 customers. Prior to Fat Philly's, the Fattoush Grill was housed at the same location. Township officials said they don't have on record the exact closure date, but the last time Fattoush was inspected was in September 2010.

Before Fattoush, the Tios Mexican Cafe was at the same Washtenaw location. That restaurant closed in 2010 following nine years of business, citing years of struggling financially.

"Ypsilanti is just getting killed,” Tios Owner Tim Seaver said at the time. “There’s just really no business on the block.”

Wilkins told in July that he didn't have any issues with the location and that was what had been driving business. Wilkins also had said he planned on expanding and branching out to other locations.

"The visibility is awesome and with rush hour, there's a huge amount of traffic that comes through," Wilkins said.

The building is owned by Wei Chen, who purchased it from the Bank of Ann Arbor in 2011 for $182,000. The building was assessed at $111,400, making its market value nearly double at $222,800.

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



Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

My wife and I are going to miss their onion rings. The food was good, but the place never seemed to get its footing.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:54 a.m.

This reminds me of Wingstop's short stay on Washtenaw at Glencoe Crossing for about the same period in 2005. It opened early that year only to close just before Thanksgiving. How sad.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

The statement by Tios owner Seavers is partly correct -- "there's no business on the block". But "the block" consists of four parcels: a vacant lot, the old Tios, "IceScapes" (a truly weird building), and a gas station that I believe was foreclosed on some years ago. The other half, which blames his business's failure on Ypsilanti, is simply laughable. Others have pointed out the list of (much better) restaurants that survive, or which have opened in the last few years. I think Tios' demise was due to being surrounded by much better Mexican places. Between La Fiesta Mexicana, on West Cross, and Pacific Beach Burrito and La Casita, just down the block, there was just no reason to go to Tios, especially when they were charging downtown Ann Arbor prices. If Tios' failure was a result of market changes in Ypsilanti, then it was because of market changes that included better competitors that Tios failed to adapt to. Sorry.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 8:42 a.m.

I stopped eating at Tios because they changed their taco recipe. It didn't used to have peppers in it and I cannot eat them! I do miss their shakes.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

I drive by there every night and the place has been dark since before Thanksgiving. That stretch of Washtenaw is cursed when it comes to restaurants, just ask Al Noor, Pacific Beach Burrito, Tios, Leon's Bistro, Fattoush Grill and now Fat Phiily's. It seems the only thing that can survive that stretch of road is fast food. Wendy's, Arby's, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut all seem to make it work there, but local restaurants crash and burn. I thought I heard a Tim Hortons was going in next door in that vacant lot. I'm not sure if thats still happening or not.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 12:33 a.m.

The opportunity was too good to turn down, UM had to buy it. Just another brick in the plan to purchase every unique local hamburger shack in the area.

Jim Pryce

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

I enjoyed the food there. They didn't have a double burger on the menu, but made it special for me. Fries were also good & the prices were very comparable to Wendy's. I miss it.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

I think the main problem with that corridor is balky questionable businesses with no name recognition, screwy mixed up concepts and zero prior history...Fattoush Grill anyone? (isn't a fattoush a SALAD?)...keep going in there. I almost think these businesses are just tax write-offs with these silly concepts and crappy business plans...


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

dang hope they are comming back


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

I ate there twice, the food was good but not to die for, so the cheaper the better. What I really didn't like was having to tip a waitress. I would have opened it with just counter pickup service like most fast food places.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

If you can't afford to tip a waiter or waitress 20% just get it to go.

Matt Lang

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

There are other areas in Ypsi that restaurants don't seem to last at,Pearl Street downtown, and the Paint Creek mall Is another. That building that originally was Bakers Square has been vacant for a few years. I wonder if "destination" type restaurants would do better, like a Sonics Drive-in, or a Del Taco, a Fuddruckers, etc. I'd heard that Tony Packos has wanted to move into Michigan for awhile, I'd love to see them up here as well.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

I have also been disappointed in the restaurant location at Paint Creek. The problem with that building is that it is not large enough for a typical restaurant like Applebees but it is too large for a fast food style restaurant. And the parking is not so great. I would like to see a Panera in that location. I think it would be great. Either that or tear it down and put in a Kroger gas station so that the Huron Plaza gas station up the street in front of Leo's will have to lower their prices and stop ripping people off. I've only gotten gas there once and it was just enough to get me to a cheaper station. I won't give them my business. Even inside they are overpriced and rude.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

Apparently you never heard of Kory's Krispy Chicken - Great stuff!


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

A new restaurant just opened very close to this location. It is called "The Blue Wolf Grill". My husband and I ate there this weekend and it was really good.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

My wife and I ate at Blue Wolf Tuesday night. The food was creative, excellent and reasonably-priced. The service was good, too. We'll definitely be back. I don't usually care for sweet dishes, but the butternut squash ravioli proved a delicious exception!


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

No disrespect, but i can guarantee it will be closed within a year. The issue with that part of Washtenaw is systemic.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

I've got my fingers crossed that Blue Wolf survives. The food is excellent and the staff are friendly. I ate there once already and plan to go back again soon.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

Good to hear the reporter on Blue Wolf ITT, we have a story on its opening coming soon.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

We've got a story coming on that soon. I noticed it was open last weekend - I was curious when I saw the work going on in the building earlier. (I'm fighting to keep from calling it the old Taco Bell)

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

I would have to say that I understand Tim Seaver's statement about that stretch of Washtenaw (not Ypsi as a whole). I'm not sure what could help turn that 2-mile stretch around, possibly some type of consistent streetscape project similar to the one done along Ford Road in Canton a while back would be a start, but obviously that would come at a high cost. Any other thoughts out there?


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

I thought Tim Hortons was going into that corner spot? And where are they? I thought this was a done deal? Once that spot opens? More will follow.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

That stretch is a wasteland. I occassionally eat at TupTim and Heifa and always think I've driven past them. The whole strip looks the same; run down and worn out.

Ben Petiprin

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

@Mattson: What an Ann Arbory suggestion. "Ah plant some trees out there, that'll fix it." Hang some local art from the branches while you're at it, then criss cross the whole thing with pedestrian crossings. The difference between campus/downtown Ypsilanti and the rest of Ypsilanti is the patronage of students. This strip serves mainly nonstudents who are still struggling. Get the general population working again and they will spend money at restaurants. Landscaping is just a waste of time and money. Worse yet, it will give this stretch the same bland symmetrical look that tinges Ann Arbor's outskirts.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

Sidewalks would increase foot traffic in this area. Bring in QUALITY restaurants. "Fat Burger" in a health conscious society doesn't work. If the owner could only handle six months of losses before closing, his business plan was a bit weak. We need to up our game (businesses we recruit to this area) in Ypsilanti Township, and create a true business development authority.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

First, Luca's Coney and Pita Pita are great places to eat as well as the Thai restaurant on the other side of Cueter Chrysler. Second is that location just does not make me want to turn into the lot. It's too congested being so close to the intersection.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

Good question Ghost, my thought is that Washtenaw is so heavily traveled between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti that is would be helpful to spruce up the corridor even if just along the road. I compared it to Ford Road for that reason as they were/are similar in that both have mostly mixed use commercial with large parking lots for shoppers. Some of these properties on Washtenaw have seen renovation in recent years while others have been untouched for quite a while and show it. I agree spending may be better served into centralized downtown areas, but since this is one of the main gateways to Ypsilanti it would be interesting to see how just some basic streetscaping like consistent sidewalks, streetlights, and planters would impact that specific area.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

Seems like food places just don't work (or maybe just so-so food places?). The taco place (the old A&W couldn't make it (and I actually liked that place) even with a liquor license. Al Noor's failed. Cottage Inn, and the Bistro place that replaced it closed as well. Tios had name recognition and couldn't cut it. Fattoush Grill wasn't impressive during my lone visit. Never made it to Fat Philly's. The location is just beat up and run down. Dear Wei Chen, you gotta spend money to make money. Give the place a total face-lift, including a resurfaced parking lot, and tenant's may have a fighting chance.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

Is it really necessary to develop the area? I'd rather pour money into downtown Ypsi and Ann Arbor, rather than further the sprawl in Pittsfield Township.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

I Ate there once, the food was so-so, nothing that made me want to come back and try something different or have some more.

Andy Frazier

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

That's too bad. My wife and I have eaten there once and we really loved it! Ypsilanti needs some great food places.


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

No one has mentioned PITA PITA ?? Simply THE BEST place for quick, healthy, delicious food! Get the Riz Beldajaj !


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

And Chef Mediterranean Restaurant on Huron River Drive. Fresh and delicious Middle Eastern food!


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

and cuppy's! i love that place. but that's more ypsi township/west willow...


Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

nobody mentioned la fiesta mexicana? that's the one true gem of a restaurant in ypsi as far as i'm concerned.

Dan P

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

Don't forget Red Rock BBQ, Beezy's, and Bona Sera downtown.

Katrease Stafford

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Wurst Bar is a pretty great place. Love the menu!


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

I tried Wurst for the Furst time last week and I will definitely be spending some money there...Great beer too!

Ghost of Tom Joad

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

The Wurst Bar is definitely worth the trip to Ypsi


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Ypsi has some great places to eat. Sidetrack, Wurst Bar, Corner Brewery, Aubrees, and Los Amigos to name a few.