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Posted on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

Owner plans to demolish former Sze-Chuan West restaurant for new tenant

By Lizzy Alfs

The former Sze-Chuan West restaurant building on West Stadium Boulevard could be demolished soon to make room for a new tenant, according to city documents.

The owner of the property, Gallup Properties, submitted a request to the city for a land division, which would divide a car wash at 2151 W. Stadium and the former restaurant at 2161 W. Stadium into two separate parcels.

“We will be demolishing the existing structure at 2161 W. Stadium and replacing it with a new building,” according to documents.


The former Sze-Chuan West on West Stadium Boulevard when it was open.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Rigg

Gallup Properties is redeveloping the property for a new tenant, said owner Chuck Gallup.

“I have been talking to somebody, and it was decided it would be better to split the two properties,” Gallup said.

Gallup declined to provide details on the new tenant.

Separating the two sites would “simplify such a purchase if [the] new tenant decides to purchase the property,” according to documents.

Sze-Chuan West, a fixture on West Stadium for years, closed in February.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

I blame the panhandlers.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

I blame the developers of City Place.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

I hate to be the poo in the punchbowl, but I am less than impressed with the Chinese food in AA. There are plenty of restaurants, but based on experiences in other cities, it is overpriced, often mundane and really nothing special. I find many of the restaurants in AA to be quite good, just not that impressed with the Chinese food here.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

The Waterfall and the Wine Castle are the only structures on West Stadium with any amount of character. So sad to see one of them go.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

What AA needs is a good Pakistani restaurant!


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 11:41 a.m.

The problem is that A2 has become overly saturated with good Chinese restaurants. Time for something new, I won't miss the cave since I'm mildly claustrophobic.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

True, but very, very few of them are any good.

Townie John

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.

Originally the restaurant was Kales Waterfall Supper Club when it was first opened thats the origin of the waterfall which first felt out of place in a oriental restaurant.

J. Sorensen

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 8:22 a.m.

"Delete We're sorry. We were unable to delete the comment at this time." Why did you add this to my comment???? Strange little online paper you are.....


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 3 a.m.

I really wouldn't fret. There is that Chinese Buffet in the Westgate Center. Then there is Asia City and Emerald City on Washtenaw. Great Chinese food on Washtenaw I think. Not much left on Stadium anymore is there? Kind of sucks. But at least we are on the great side of town. Better restaurants.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

Gourmet Garden is a block a way and pretty good.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

I'll miss that place. Dad was good friends with Jim Kale, the bar from Kale's Waterfall ended up in our basement, albeit shorter than it started out. It's sad to see another Ann Arbor "landmark" end up under a bulldozer.

Tom Joad

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:29 a.m.

Ann Arbor's equivalent of Googie architecture?

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:28 a.m.

Oh no! Not the bomb shelter!


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

Perhaps preserving the waterfall would have been a better investment for Ann Arbor than a so-called sculpture at city hall

Seasoned Cit

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

I'm not sure we'll miss it... but just be thankful it's not in a historic District ! Wouldn't it be entertaining to hear the testimony of why we should save this icon (like our Art Deco Bus station) for the benefit of future generations ??

Elaine F. Owsley

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

The Waterfall was a favorite choice of our kids for birthday dinners. They never really took to the spicier food in Sze Chuan, or any of the other Chinese restaurants around.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

Oh, tale of woe . . . First, Stadium Tavern, Then, LaPinata, Now, Sze-Chuan West . . . ; /

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

The bar section in the back was even more obscure, and maybe intimidating.. And it had those chairs with really short legs. Definitely the hardcore spot to hangout within the cave. And it was smokey... Because that was the style of the day. Actually, will we have a chance to pickup any decor? I'd like a set of those short little padded chairs. Maybe some of those Fogcutter glasses. How about a chunk of wall section for my bar? And what about the bar proper? What's happening to that?

sheri hillman

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:58 p.m. is sad. Though it had been going steadily down hill for the past several years, it was THE place to go for the best chinese food and great service for the longest time! I have such great memories of so many friendship/GROUP gatherings there in the unique surroundings. And their barbeque beef and broccoli was like no other.... I've not had better chinese food, and dearly miss the good old days of Sze Chuan!


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

I'll really miss that place. It really did take you back to the atomic 60's, what with the aqua blue furniture, drinks with umbrellas and great waterfall and cave walls. Where else can I now go for a good Mai Tai with a proper atmosphere locally, Trader Vics in Chicago is too far.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

What a tragedy! Goodbye to the Grotto!


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

at least it outlived the architect that designed and helped build it. rip sze chuan west.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

Memories from the 80's? That place goes back to the 60's and it was weird even then. I won't miss it a bit. Jim Kale had a unique idea but hey, not everything old is historic; some of it is hysteric.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.

I went there once and I got really claustrophobic and dizzy from the walls, I never felt like that ever before.

Tom Teague

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 6:50 p.m.

While I understand the owner's desire to clear the lot, and agree with those who would say that the building's architectural influences included an upside-down beached ship and a slightly tipsy rooster, I do have fond memories of the Sze-Chuan Eggplant.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

LOL @ Ron! I, too, have fond memories of this place. My friend and I once went there in our jammies and slippers to have drinkies in the cave where no one would find us or recognize us. I'll miss it!

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

Not the cave! They can't tear down the cave! Such fond memories, from all the way back in the 80's... but it has been going downhill for the past decade, or more. Maybe around the time they put in windows. Who puts windows in a cave? I can recall a housemate ordering takeout from the cave and repeating on the phone "as hot as possible!" over and over. And one afternoon, a housemate and I ordered just a bunch of dumplings for takeout, and nothing else. We thought it was a brilliant move. But then came the incredibly intense MSG OD headache. We were both down for the rest of the day. Dumb, dumb. We were so naive. And then there was the time a group of us were there, ordering drinks before dinner. My drink choice was easy, the classic Fogcutter. One of my guy friends had a much tougher time of it. He pointed at the picture of some pink drink that actually sounded good. The waiter scolded him, LOUDLY "Oh no! That girl drink! You no want to order girl drink! That drink for girls! You want girl drink?!" We will never let him forget that one. We will miss you, dark cave of mystery hot food.

J. Sorensen

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 8:19 a.m.

I loved the cave! After work hangouts at the bar. Eating at the table with the giant lazy susan with my family. Watching them go through a whole ceremony putting a new Buddha in the waterfall (they were offended by people throwing money in wasn't that kind of fountain). I'll miss this place, too bad they lost chef Jan and the food did go downhill in later years.

J. Sorensen

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 8:16 a.m.

I remeber waitress asking the bartender for a "Chewy Shark" over & over till he finally sent her back to the table because he had no clue. She came back and said a bit more clearly..."oh, Cutty Sark!"


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.

I keed I keed! I LOL'd too! Surprised it didn't get blocked by staff.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

Actually, smokeblwr, they do. And sometimes even much less coherent.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 11:46 p.m.

I thought this post was funny as well. I never dined at this restaurant being a relative newcomer but feel I really missed out on something!

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

I have tried to be as accurate as possible, and believe I have quoted exactly. I don't know the man's ethnicity or nationality, and I would never automatically assume Chinese. That is what he said. Oh, what I would do for a recording. It went beyond chastising my friend - he seemed very adamant that he would not serve him that drink.

West of Main

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9 p.m.

I thought Ron's post was funny. I'm a terrible person, so that might have something to do with it, though.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

Your post could be looked at as offensive. Chinese waiters don't really talk that way.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

It was like having lunch with The Flintstones.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

Sad to see the building go. It was a classic, even if the food at Szechuan West was pretty awful, at least in my experience. We could use a Jimmy John's or Chipotle on this side of town. Either might fit there, though parking could be a bit scarce. I'd welcome just about anything but a check-cashing place.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 7:10 p.m.

Here here! Bring Jimmy John's to the Westside pleaaase


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

@Beth Kirton - It's not all that likely that the property owner would go to such lengths (dividing the lot, razing and rebuilding) for anything but a national company with considerable resources. The only exception I can think of is a well-established local company looking for a new location. Anything come to mind? Not for me, either. Also, while there are several Jimmy John's around central campus, there has never been one on the west side. Some of us out on this end of town actually like Jimmy John's, but rarely go there because the only ones that are close (downtown/campus) lack convenient parking. That location seems like a logical location for such an establishment, given its location, parking, and the footprint of the building. Same goes for Chipotle. I only suggested those two chains because they aren't represented on this side of town and seem likely to thrive in that spot. If a local business wants to deal with all the up-front expense involved in demolition and rebuilding, that would be prefereable, but I certainly don't expect that to happen ... do you? Honestly?

Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Worked at Kales my senior year in the 60's. Had Christmas Dinner there last Christmas in the spirit of the Christmas Story movie. The food was awful and the place was dirty. BUT, let's not make every town in America a clone by having more chain restaurants. What we need are more affordable unique restaurants, not more Jimmy John's, Applebees, McDonalds, etc., etc.,etc.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

Oh, geez - yes, we sure need a 13th Jimmy Johns in this town. How about something we don't already have, hmm?


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

I never understood why Jimmy Johns has ignored the West Side. It would seem to be a great market, especially for delivery. Glad the condescending, bean sprout type got her little dig in.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

My kids and I vote for a Noodles over here on this side of town! Jimmy Johns is great, but there are so many already, and they are....freaky fast, anyway!


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Ohh, Jimmy Johns. I love them but neither will deliver to me because I am barely out of the radius at Liberty and Stadium. Doubtful that is the actual tenant. Sounds like they already have someone in mind.

Beth Kirton

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

Yes, chains are the answer. Another Jimmy Johns especially, perfect.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

Maybe the waterfall could be relocated to city hall. Historic preservation.

Todd DeLand

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

Good riddens, that place was nasty and is an eye sore on a nice street.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

Come on, Stadium isn't that nice.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

its a restaurant. no matter what road its on you cant ride it. now come on down off of there, todd.

Go Blue

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

Sigh, out with the old and in with the new. There goes the former Jim Kales Waterfall restaurant, popular place for many years.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

noooo this is horribly depressing!! yes it looked like a cave, but that is awesome!!! it was unique and an had a feel of the 60s. I think it is really sad, just needs to be cleaned up.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

Codes would never make it feasible to renovate. It was a cool place, I always thought it should be some kind of night club and have a guy like Ausitn Powers run it.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

I am glad to hear that they are demolishing the building. I enjoyed the food at this restaurant, but I didn't like the odor of water from the waterfall decor. I felt like I was in a cave, and that the waterfall area was unsanitary. I hope they build an attractive new building.

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

I apologize for the odor of the water. There was a line and... Well.