Coney island restaurant on Ann Arbor's State Street gets revamped by new owner
Lizzy Alfs | AnnArbor.com
R.J. Rzeppa, along with his wife and son, Anne Marie, and Nathan, acquired Mr. Greek’s, at 215 S. State St., in November when the restaurant’s former owner retired. The Rzeppa family is completing cosmetic changes to the 2,000-square-foot restaurant and plans to roll out a new menu and signage in July.
Lizzy Alfs | AnnArbor.com
“I always wanted to own my own business and give back to the community,” Rzeppa said. “If this restaurant were located anywhere else, in this economy, I probably wouldn’t have done this.”
Rzeppa has a background in sales and marketing, but he said the Mr. Greek’s location — just steps away from the University of Michigan’s campus — was appealing. He said U-M students account for about 75 percent of business at the restaurant.
“There’s so much potential here that the previous owner left untapped,” Rzeppa said.
During the past several months, Rzeppa said he renovated the restaurant “from top to bottom.” He repainted the interior and exterior, added outdoor seating and ordered signage.
New menus also are being printed and will be rolled out in July. RJ’s Coney Island will have the same type of fare, but with some updates.
Rzeppa said he might expand the restaurant’s hours to stay open for the late-night crowd. The current dining rush at the restaurant is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., he said.
Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lizzyalfs.
Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.
would like too know if anyone know of a good Greek Restaurant in Ann Arbor .
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.
Oh good. when the previous owner bought the restaurant from the original "Mr Greek" owners, they really took a great little place and let it go to waste. It was filthy, rundown, and all of the home-cooking went out of the window. Hopefully the new owner will bring it back to life. It's a great spot.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.
I like Vienna beef on real Vienna buns, then run it through the garden. Do they have those kind of dogs there?
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.
Charge a buck a coney dog and you'll be just fine.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.
What? There was nothing wrong with it the way it was - best grilled cheese in town! Great bread- really nice wait staff...what?? I liked it. Don't change that or you will loose many students and townies, and do not raise the prices or...bye bye
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.
I agree! If it works, don't fix it! Why do so many people have so much trouble grasping that simple concept? I guess ego gets on the way.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.
@andralisa: The new owner did say that most of the staff remained and he hired a few additional people. He doesn't want to drive away the restaurant's existing customers, so I don't think things will be drastically different.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.
Mr. Greeks was already a successful and established business. Then I hear the new owner say this...""There's so much potential here that the previous owner left untapped," while making renovations and changing things. This doesn't bode well...I predict a surge in new business, which will die down and lead into a loss of storied customers. I remember in the 90s Mr. Greeks was a hot spot for police officers on break and between shifts.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.
The problem with the restaurant was when the original Mr. Greeks owners sold the business (including the name) to the most recent ones. The down-hill slide was precipitous....
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.
I went there a bunch back in high school and early college. It was a nice place downtown for food that wasn't too expensive. It was pretty much the goto spot after Olga's closed. If he doesn't change the menu or the feel of the place too much, then staying open late and the outdoor seating will definitely boost business.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.
@Billy: I think what the new owner meant about the untapped potential was just in terms of attracting even more clientele. For instance, he put a few outdoor tables on the sidewalk, which the previous owner didn't have. He also talked about staying open for the late-night crowd, which would be new as well. I will say, I was a regular customer when I was a U-M student. My friends and I would go a couple times a week.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 10:17 a.m.
Aside from the name, how much does one Coney's menu differ from another?
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.
I see lots of differences between coney menus. Some offer just dogs & chili; others eggs & more extensive breakfasts; some have gyros & other sandwiches & salads.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.
The menu doesn't usually differ that much, but the execution of the individual items can differ a lot.
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.
@Hugh - I might sound like a coney island nerd, but there are for sure taste differences - although you're right, menus are usually pretty similar. I grew up in Metro Detroit and my friends and I all had our favorite coney islands for different reasons. It usually comes down to the Greek dressing!