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Posted on Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Restaurant proposed for ex-Pinter's Flowerland on Washtenaw

By Katrease Stafford

The city of Ypsilanti could soon be home to a new sit-down, carryout restaurant in the former Pinter's Flowerland building on Washtenaw Avenue.


The former Pinter's Flowerland, pictured here in this file photo, may soon become a sit-down restaurant.

Courtesy Ypsilanti

Mohamad Issa, co-founder of Global Educational Excellence that oversees some charter schools in Washtenaw County, has submitted a site plan to the city to renovate the building and transform it into a restaurant.

Issa could not be reached for comment and the site plan doesn't state what sort of restaurant Issa is seeking to open. The Issa family also founded the Ahmo's chain, which now includes three restaurants in Ann Arbor and one in Adrian.

The 2,780-square-foot building is on the southeast corner of Washtenaw Avenue and Owendale Street, and sits on about .34 acres of land.

The building's assessed value is $90,300, making its market value $180,600. Robert Pinter purchased the building in 1991 for $217,000 from Gary Miano.

City records still show Pinter as the owner of the building and it is unclear whether Issa has purchased the property from Pinter. Pinter still has other locations within southeastern Michigan including one in Belleville at 6830 Rawsonville Road.

Issa is proposing turning the building into a 50-seat restaurant and adding additional landscaping to the front yard, adding nine parking spaces and an outdoor seating area.

The property is zoned B1, neighborhood business, which allows sit-down restaurants with fifty or fewer seats as a permitted use, and sit-down restaurants with more than 50 seats as a special use, provided they have access to a major thoroughfare.

City staff are recommending the plan be tabled until Issa is able to address some issues.

The staff wants Issa to consider adding bicycle parking, removing the curb cut on Owendale and replacing it with a barrier curb and landscaping as part of the project, as well as other engineering changes.

The curb cut does not meet access standard requirements due to the proximity to Washtenaw Avenue, according to staff.

"The site faces extensive dimensional constraints, due to the siting of the existing building, the size and orientation of the lot, and the spatial requirements of the landscaping and parking ordinances, as well as stormwater control," wrote assistant planner Bonnie Wessler.

"This site plan is an excellent attempt to work within those constraints, however, both parking and stormwater handling will require significant alteration to conform to the ordinance."

The planning commission will consider Issa's site plan at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ypsilanti City Hall.

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



Sun, Mar 17, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Yes! I love hearing about a poorly written article about hypothetical plans for a restaurant that will go out of business within five years! Keep up the great work! I'll be sure to make it to the Ypsilanti City Hall Wednesday at 7pm!


Sun, Mar 17, 2013 : 5 a.m.

Hope the new resturant is approved and successful. A map would have helped the story. Good luck.


Sun, Mar 17, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.

One of the issues in the area, which has been seen in the "sit down" places that have tried and failed, is that most of the traffic on the road is usually leaving the city. A fast food place, like the proposed Tim Hortons a couple blocks down, would do great as it could tap into the transient traffic (EMU is a commute school) on the road. I worry about a sit down restaurant there as it might be destined to follow the past places that have failed, not necessarily due to their own mistakes, but due to the nature of the travel on Washtenaw. I hope the place does well and it would be great to have a good eatery within walking distance of NP.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

I worked for Pinters years ago and wish I had the money to reopen as another florist shop. It was a really good space but in need of a rennovation. I wish the new owners well. Its always a good thing to see local business set up shop.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

So Mr. Pinto lost $37,000 by holding onto the property for 22 years. Boy, give me some of that Ypsilanti real estate! Anyway, it seems that retail continues to die, and eventually only restaurants will be left.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

Correction, Mr. Pinter.

Scott Reed

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

All of these new restaurants on Washtenaw are great, but difficult to access without a car.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

Scott, yes walking/biking tracks along Washtenaw are really needed.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Not sure where you are coming from but from EMU you could take the sidewalk on Cross st to Mansfield

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

It's on the bus line.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

Hope it's an actual restaurant restaurant...not just a tax-shelter.

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

I just hope it's not an actual vacant building.

Paula Gardner

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

I really like that Ypsi provides a place for first-time business operators to try an idea - we see over and over how how the lower rents/building prices create opportunity for retailers and restaurateurs. On this stretch of road, I believe that a locally recognized name like Ahmo's could prosper. It's still a main connector for the city/EMU campus and can be a destination for nearby neighborhoods. And that, in turn, could inspire something exciting for the other nearby vacancies, like the ex Hollywood Video or drug store (which I still call Richardson's out of habit).


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.



Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

t, I remember Big Top. Thanks for the reminder.

Paula Gardner

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

I don't remember Big Top! But did shop at Richardson's when I lived on North Adams back in the olden days. Small photos hide wrinkles:)


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Richardson's ?? You don't look old enough to remember them ( you certainly can't remember Big Top do you ?).Richardson's was on the NW corner of Mansfield and Washtenaw wasn't it ?


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

I can't wait! Contrary to some opinions, I would love more choices for eating out in Ypsi. One request: PLEASE City of Ypsilanti work WITH this business person and not against them. I've see one too many people have to fight and claw to get through the red tape, the fees, etc and sometimes the struggle becomes too much. Please work WITH this person. Thanks.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

Katrease, yes thanks....can't wait to hear the plans! :-)

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

From the city staff that I've spoken with, they seem pretty willing to work with Issa on the recommendations they made on his site plan. I'll continue to try to follow up with him to see what sort of restaurant he has in mind.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Ypsi's getting a great restaurant scene lately. I agree, the city should help, not hinder.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Ditto, tdw and Cash. Sometimes I wonder whether the city understands the difference between a useless vacant lot and a prospering, tax-paying business. I would love to see a restaurant at this location, and it sure would benefit the city!


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

Cash....I'm with you 100% on this one.Thanks for saving me the typing


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Mohammad Issa is a great contributor to economic growth throughout the area. This resturant will be a welcome addition to the Washtenaw corridor. We look forward to enjoying good food and friendly service and salute this investment in Ypsilanti.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

I dare to try to interview a female member of the Issa family for this story. In an Observer article about the family, the male Issas refused to even name female relatives, let alone allow them to be interviewed for the article. Cultural differences...

Jay Thomas

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

I have to disagree. Issa badgered EMU into giving foreign students from the Middle East in state tuition rates while an American student just next door in Ohio would have to pay the full out of state rate. I don't find that to be even remotely fair. His charter schools (paid for with tax dollars and set up around SE Michigan) are all about maintaining an Arab identity as far as I can see (and thus not very diverse). In the past if you wanted that kind of exclusiveness you had to pay for it yourself.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

Well, I can see parking being a issue there.That aside I hope they have gyro's from off a cone.It's close enough to me that I would make the drive


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

T, Now you made me hungry!

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

I'm eager to know what sort of restaurant he has in mind for this location or if it might be similar to the Ahmos chain.


Sun, Mar 17, 2013 : 3:01 a.m.

I wish more restaurants would open in downtown Ypsi.

Kent Jocque

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

Majestic Plural


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

Katrease, I think you would love it. Top quality food for very reasonable prices. And the service is top notch. At lunchtime it's pretty full though. Because we have the ability to set our own schedule, we try to make it there on the off hours. 2PM - 4PM is a good time from a bite to eat!

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Cash! I still need to check out Blue Wolf. I've heard a ton of great things about that restaurant.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Sir, I'll be seating you in the overflow section; would you like to put your coat back on and I'll walk you over?


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

I only wish it was for the expansion of Blue Wolf! We fans need more room! :-)

Rob MI

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

50 seats? That will be a cozy little place.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Restaurant? we need a new shoe store selling stripper shoes........or maybe another pot dispensary.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

Some of the nicest women I know have big feet.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

Do we really need another restaurant, pharmacy, liquor store , dispensary on Washtenaw ???? Ypsilanti period .


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

No. Clearly what we need is a head shop, based on the initial post.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Well as long as we eastern Washtenaw residents eat out, drink, need medical prescriptions and are given the option of dying pain free......then I believe there is a need for these businesses.


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Lisa, Do you have any uses in mind for the building?


Sat, Mar 16, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

Well, when " we " are investing " our " money into it then " we " can talk about it.Perhaps " we " can think of better use that " we " can use it for