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Posted on Mon, May 10, 2010 : 5:26 a.m.

Red Hawk owners move into campus area with revive + replenish in Zaragon Place

By Janet Miller

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“We wanted to offer a higher level of quality," says revive + replenish co-owner and partner Richard Schubach.

Janet Miller | Contributor

Roger Hewitt and Richard Schubach had been partners in the Ann Arbor restaurant business for 18 years, but that didn’t begin to prepare them for their newest venture: revive + replenish, a café/coffee shop and small specialty grocery market less than a half a mile away from their Red Hawk Bar and Grill but a world apart.

The owners of Red Hawk on South State Street and the defunct Zanzibar restaurant, a block north, moved into student territory last fall when they opened revive + replenish in the ground floor space of the new Zaragon Place, the 10-story student apartment building that opened last fall at 619 E. University Ave.

“This is a quirky little project,” Schubach said. “Despite the small space, there’s a lot of activity.” Revive, the café half of the operation, has about 1,100 square feet and replenish, the market, has about 700 square feet.

There would be no traditional kitchen appliances such as ovens and burners, just panini presses, soup warmers and refrigeration, Schubach said. Much of the food would have to be prepared at Red Hawk.

The partners had to learn about refrigerated display cases, making espresso and the supply chain for the market. “We had no idea how to start a market,” Schubach said. “We started making phone calls and doing Internet searches.”

And then there was learning about a new customer base: While Red Hawk and Zanzibar would attract some students, their bread and butter has always been families and townies.

“There’s a much broader constituency at Red Hawk” Schubach said. “This is a different market.” They had to understand student price points, lowering them a bit to match students’ pocketbooks. And they underestimated the culinary sophistication of students.

“Kids are more advanced than we thought. A lot of them come from the coasts, and that’s where trends start,” Schubach said. That’s meant introducing more complicated flavors, such as sliced flat iron steak panini with gruyere cheese and grilled onions and shrimp soft tacos.

While they hoped to open in August to capture the returning student market, revive didn’t open until October with replenish following in late November. The partners were too busy closing down Zanzibar and running Red Hawk, Schubach said. They have made changes in their short history: Students wanted revive to offer a “Create Your Own Salad” option where customers select from more than 30 ingredients (from radish sprouts to roasted soy nuggets) for custom-made salads. It’s become the biggest seller.

While Zaragon residents are a natural customer base - they often come down in their pajamas for coffee or breakfast - revive + replenish could not survive on the apartment population alone, Schubach said.

They needed to reach out to the student neighborhood and are also hoping to capture University of Michigan lunch crowd and U-M catering. They also want to appeal to the community.

It’s taken awhile for the neighborhood to catch on, Schubach said. “It took awhile for people to understand that we’re not just an in-house feeder and grocery supplier for the (Zaragon) residents. It has taken time for the neighborhood denizen to come in and buy.” But it’s working. Last month, they had their two busiest days.

Still, traffic from the university outside of students hasn’t met expectations. It’s going to take time to build catering traffic from the U-M, Schubach said, and for townies to hear about them. The tinted windows and not having eye level signage -- yet -- hasn’t helped.

revive + replenish are separate but linked stores. They are each self-contained with different entrances, with the Zaragon lobby separating them. They complement each other, Schubach said.

“There’s a lot of companion usage. All the produce we use at revive we sell at replenish. The salmon, chicken breasts and steak we use in our sandwiches we sell raw at the market. It makes it easier to keep things fresh and it allows us to buy in quantity to keep our prices down.”

But unlike many stores that cater to the student population, revive + replenish wanted to be polished, Schubach said. From the sleek blue signage that visually link the two storefronts to the refined and light-filled interiors and wood-top tables of revive, there’s a clean and hip mood. Much of what replenish sells is organic, there’s an emphasis on fruit and produce and revive uses Zingerman’s Deli bread and sells its brownies and is rolling out a line of smoothies made from fruit, yogurt and juice, Schubach said. “We wanted to offer a higher level of quality.”

They hope to grow. They’ll soon add outdoor seating for 20. And they may apply for a beer and wine license (they sell beer and wine at replenish) for revive. If that happens, they may expand the store footprint eight feet to the north and build out, Schubach said.

“We’re optimistic for growth potential starting next fall.”



Mon, May 10, 2010 : 11:12 p.m.

While the prices aren't cheap, I think it's a great little cafe and the food is MUCH better for what would cost even more at Panera across the diag. Their sandwiches and salads are really good and ingredients are much fresher and better-tasting than chains on campus. I hope they do well!


Mon, May 10, 2010 : 10:31 p.m.

To Mr.Roger Hewitt and Richard Schubach, You really should have really looked at your menu and service the food at Red Hawk before opening this place up. The last time I was at the Red hawk I had the MOST HORRID food ever to touch my lips. Seriously, when was the last time you tasted the food coming out of that kitchen?? You should have Gordon Ramsey come to your business and show you how to make real food. The service is even worse...


Mon, May 10, 2010 : 3:46 p.m.

I don't know about the menu, but the prices are sure East Coast.


Mon, May 10, 2010 : 10:43 a.m.

Janet, this title is all wrong and really confusing. My reaction to it was "Huh? What?" I think a better, more explanatory title would be "Red Hawk Owners Move Into Zaragon Place With a New Restaurant: revive + replenish"