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Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

New restaurant close to opening in Ann Arbor's ex-Flim Flam space

By Katrease Stafford

The Songbird Cafe is set to open June 1 in a space on Plymouth Road previously filled by the former Flim Flam Family Restaurant on Ann Arbor's north side.


Mother and daughter, Jenny and Youn Song, plan to open their coffee shop and cafe, The Songbird Cafe, by June 1.

Melanie Maxwell |

The coffee bar portion of the restaurant is slated to open first and the kitchen will open toward the end of June, according to co-owner Jenny Song.

The Song family signed a lease last December after the space was listed for $16 per square foot per year.

The cafe, which is located at 2707 Plymouth Road in the Plymouth Road Mall, is 3,200- square feet and seats about 85 people, Song said.

Song, who co-owns the restaurant with her mother Youn Song, said they completely changed the look and feel of the restaurant.

Song said the space had not been updated in more than 20 years. Renovations began in February and took about four months to complete. She declined to disclose the renovation costs.

“The previous look didn’t really match the concept of our cafe, so all of the flooring is different and the layout is a bit different as well,” she said. “We have a coffee bar that is more of a casual space. We have a dining area that we want people to come and have meals in, but also be able to come in and study.”

Song believes the space is more inviting since they added warm, earth tone colors and new light fixtures.

“We just have a very different atmosphere that we wanted to create,” she said. “There are a lot of vintage touches, but we wanted to be updated as well.

"What we are really going for is something that’s more of a local, high quality artisan feel.”

Song grew up in Ann Arbor, graduating from Huron High School and the University of Michigan before heading to the University of Chicago for a master’s of business administration.

She said the family chose the area not just because of their personal ties—they believe the north side of town needs a business that can offer something new.

“I think the area needs something that’s a little bit outside of the box so we’re going to be offering something unique,” Song said. “For this north side area, that’s been something that’s missing. Knowing the local community and this side of town made us want to open up something that wasn’t here.”

The cafe will focus heavily on brunch and lunch offerings, Song said. The menu will consist of a variety of sandwiches fused with traditional and unique aspects and the cafe will also have a full salad and coffee bar. “For our coffee bar, we have baked goods that will be both supporting local bakeries and a few items that will be in house,” she said. “We’ll have a full menu of espresso tea and coffee.”

Song said most of the hiring has taken place, but additional employees will be needed when the kitchen opens. Training has already begun, and Song expects to have close to 15 people on staff by the end of June.

“We’ve hired our entire front of the house staff,” she said. “For the kitchen, we’re looking for people that have a lot of passion for food and are open to exploring new ingredients and recipes. “

Song said there is a growing “foodie culture” in the Ann Arbor area and she is hoping to capitalize upon that.

“There are a lot of foodies in Ann Arbor and a growing foodie culture,” she said. “We want to tap into that and be able to explore the different cultures and combinations that people haven’t seen before.”

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Dug Song

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 2:58 a.m.

AWESOME!!! Can't wait! Will bring a small posse of unruly Songs with me - they're fans of Babo, which also has a modern/vintage feel. I will try to keep them from terrorizing your customers, though... ??!!!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

This is fantastic news for the Nouvelle North! A place for coffee that is not a chain will be most welcome thank you very much!

Ann English

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

Coffee that is not a chain? Sounds like it's more likely to be good, that it has to stand on its own merits, the essence of free enterprise. Espresso tea? Sounds like Brazil and the Orient are collaborating in the tea production business.

Jonnie B

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

As a former FF enthusiast, it is wonderful to see another breakfast/brunch place in that space. There aren't many places to sit in an open area and converse or study so I'm excited to visit there often. Got a sneak peek to the menu and be prepared to experience great tastes that isn't a corporate recipe. Best wishes Songs, already a fan!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

It's good to see a locally-owned business in the space that is interested in sourcing from local suppliers - and not another corporate owned chain restaurant that imports most of their food from out of state. I wish the Songs the best of luck and I will stop by if I'm in that part of town.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

All my best wishes!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Sounds like a great concept. I hope what they offer and prices are tasty and reasonable. I would love to support a locally owned business like this!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Thank you for the article! And thanks for all of the encouraging comments- we're excited to serve you soon. If you'd like to see more pictures/updates, follow us on facebook: Hope to see you all soon!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Sounds great, can't wait to try it...I hope they have a good web site with menu, always fun to browse/see what's new that way.

Lynn Liston

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

This is great news- a family-owned, local concept business! I missed Flim Flam, but welcome the new look and feel of the Songbird and am looking forward to meeting friends there for lunch soon. Best of success to the new owners-


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Huron High School?? Family business?? Local bakeries?? Now that's PUURREE MEEECHIGAN!! While I'll miss Flim Flam, I can't help but to say that the new look is amazing. If they can do that to that creepy side room that FF used to have, I can only imagine how good their food will be.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

Good luck to you guys! I'm glad you gave the place a face lift. Looks great!

Ron Granger

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

And the crowd screamed "we want great Korean food!" Where is our Pajeon? Nevermind that a seafood pancake makes no sense - it is delicious.

Ann English

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

A seafood pancake? Reminds me of the latest Egg Fu Yung recipe I've tried, which calls for shaping the egg mixture into patties and cooking them 1 1/2 minutes per side, just as if they were pancakes. Oh yes, among the five "variations" (food that could be added to the mixture) was SHRIMP. Special tips for cooking the egg fu yung with shrimp were given, but in this initial try, I opted for bamboo shoots.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

I'm also curious to check this new place out and hope it succeeds.

Chull Kim

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Good luck Jenny and family, excited for you and we'll be there when you guys open!

Tex Treeder

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

I've missed Flim Flam for the past few months, and I'm happy to see another breakfast/lunch restaurant take its place. Good luck to the new restaurant. I'll be giving it a try as soon as it opens.