You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Feb 26, 2011 : 5:54 a.m.

Ypsilanti's newest coffee shop, B-24's, opens on Michigan Avenue

By Angela Smith


The sign outside B-24's, a new espresso cafe in downtown Ypsilanti, proudly displays its namesake airplane.

Angela Smith | For

Ypsilanti’s newest coffee shop, B-24's, “is a tribute to our Ypsilanti heritage,” says operations manager Rebecca Manney.

During World War II, almost 8,700 B-24 bombers were built at Willow Run Airport, making it the world's largest bomber facility in 1941. During peak production, the plant employed 42,000 people, according to the airport's website.

“A lot of people come in telling us about a grandfather or father… and the connections they have to the Willow Run plant,” says Manney.

The coffee shop's sleek, clean ambiance seems to fit well with its industrial theme. Bomber posters line the back walls, but the front of the shop gives recognition to current local talent. Manney says the shop, which officially opened Feb. 18, also features live music.

Currently the shop is showing the work of David Austin, an established Ypsilanti artist with a gallery downtown. Next month, Fritz Ho, an artist and a barista at B-24, will show work.


Employees Rebecca Manney and Fritz Ho show the many options for coffee at B-24's.

Angela Smith | For

B-24’s coffee is also a selection of local favorites. Manney and owners Tom and Martha Rumford chose three local roasters to make up their lineup: from Ferndale, Chazzano Coffee; and from Ann Arbor, Mighty Good Coffee and Roos Roast.

Manney talks excitedly about the coffees they serve:

“Before we opened, we ordered a lot of different coffee samples, and we all tasted what we thought was the best and ended up with three. All phenomenal. We really go over and above on the coffee. Espresso training is intense and ongoing. You can never hear enough about it.

"We also do pour-over coffees. We brew each coffee by the cup for the customer, and that way you get to select from a whole lot of coffees, and each one is going to be brewed perfectly. … You can taste all of the little nuances that our roasters are so passionate about.”

Manney is probably the face customers will come to associate with the shop, since as operations manager, she's there day in and day out.

“Thank God there is coffee, and good coffee,” she jokes.

Manney also worked at the coffee shop that preceded B-24's, Bombadill's, where she fell in love with the cafe industry, the customers and with Ypsilanti.

“I tell people I came with the building,” she says.

Of Bombadill’s closing, she says she doesn’t know a lot about why the business didn't work out but was disappointed. She was happy when the building's owners decided to redesign the coffee shop and carry on.

“This building has been a coffee shop for quite a while now. This space… I think it just wants to be a coffee shop,” she says.

Manney has hope for downtown Ypsilanti’s Michigan Avenue: “I feel like it is always in a cocoon, and about to become a butterfly. We are just trying to push it… a lot of people coming together to really keep this area alive. And it’s a tough battle, I am not going to lie. I’ve lived downtown here for several years, and I have seen it come and go. There was a time when every shop down here was open. And now there are some vacancies.”

B-24’s is attracting plenty of newer customers among the Bombadill’s regulars, she says, adding that “people have been really excited. I am finding I know a lot of the customers. I am seeing a lot of new faces too, people still checking it out, and the nature of being a university town, there are always new faces coming in and out."

"We are trying to span all ages, not just a certain niche," says Manney, acknowledging the events the cafe hosts and the ice cream and desserts they serve.  "It’s clean, and its sophisticated, and it’s for everybody.”

217 W. Michigan Ave.
Ypsilanti, MI

Angela Smith is a freelance reporter for


Angela Smith

Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 11:10 p.m.

Update: Business hours are: M-F 6:30AM - 10PM Sat 6:30AM - 11PM Sun 8AM-9PM


Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

I stopped by Saturday night to get some coffee and I was surprised to learn the place is opened until 11 on Saturdays, don't really know the other hours. I ordered a Mocha and it was DELICIOUS!!!! It is the best one I have had in a while. The girls inside working were very nice and knowledgeable. I must say having this place around town makes me VERY happy because now I have another local place to go for coffee in Ypsilanti other than Ugly Mug and all of its employees with their ugly attitudes who all seems to hate their job. These girls brightened up my evening!

Henry Ruger

Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

Congratulations, B-24's, but open in the morning by 6 AM or start preparing your bankruptcy papers now.


Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

Your apology is not accepted. This is a really cool place and if it weren't for the men and women who lost there lives flying this plane then we could be under a Nazi regime today with no coffee houses to share thought and ideas, think of the past, and look to the future. On a congratulatory note, I commend this people for adding a cool, a hip, and a relevant coffee institution. To me a cup of Joe symbolizes the grit that came from the men and women who built and died in these planes. It is very unfortunate that we needed to create this machine, but without it we would not have ever seen the day of an Obama presidency. The longer we ignore the past the sooner it will be upon us. Robert A2 2011. So preach as you may, say as you will, but they make a dam good cup of Joe. I campaign to offer on D-Day June 6 a small cup of coffee at 5 cents 1940 prices. Very small cup. Or pay full price and large portion will go to support the Yankee Air Museum.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 5:43 a.m.

I apologize. Like many Ypsi residents I'm fiercely supportive of new businesses. This one, however, seems a bit out of touch. I just have a hard time visualizing the marriage of coffee culture and carpet bombing. Roasted beans and war machines. Yes, it works for our local and revered breakfast institution, The Bomber. But The Bomber has legitimate history and piles of sausage gravy. Chunky hash. The massive breakfasts pair well with the history and decor. A coffee bar, up the street, with a slight variant of the name doesn't seem like homage; it seems like a sloppy gimic/mimic. I'm pretty sure this will be second on a short list (now two) of local places I'll probably never visit.

Steve Pierce

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 5:01 a.m.

Welcome back Tom, Martha, and Rebecca. the place is fabulous. - Steve


Sat, Feb 26, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

@thedime I have a model B-24 on my desk, and their painting matches quite closely. Also, for more convenient review, note that their painting is almost identical to this image of a B-24: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Feb 26, 2011 : 11 p.m.

Wow, this coffee is delicious!


Sat, Feb 26, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

RE: the comment by thedime. Other than a bit of artistic license in proportions, the painting on the Cafe sign captures the B-24 quite well. The engines certainly are round, the tail is the unmistakable twin rudders. The airplane on the Cafe sign is a very good representation of the B-24. I can't imagine what airplane you think a B-24 is ??


Sat, Feb 26, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

I wish them, as a former Ypsilantian, all the luck in the world. Hey, Gloriagirl, however, don't let people in on how nice Ypsi can be as a place to live and work. All the ding dong Ann Arborites will head there and louse it up! (LOL)


Sat, Feb 26, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

Do you know what would make this place even better? If they had done research to ensure the front of the building was painted to the authenticity of a real B-24 Liberator. Everything about it, from the engines(not round), to the wings(not wide like British style) and the tail section. Not to be a negative Nelly, but I would think that if you would like to pay homage to something, you would first do your homework.


Sat, Feb 26, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

I moved from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti and it has been refreshing. Ypsilanti has an old charm and familiarity of what both cities were when I was growing up in Ann Arbor. Ypsilanti still has that quaint small town atmosphere but has an added attraction of a diverse community of first generation immigrants and locals working side by side in small businesses especially on Michigan avenue. This is possible I believe, because the rent and tax structure is more realistic for small business to come to the downtown and the depot town area. Let's hope as the economy improves that many more entrepreneurs and customers find this area as charming. While there are still a number of vacancies on Michigan Avenue, It still offers a small town charm that reflects the historical past of this region without the hyper marketing machine of Michigan football and sports economy Ann Arbor has succumbed to.