Less fine dining near campus
At the Earle Uptown, half a dozen blocks east on the edge of the U-M campus, it's been a different story. While the original Earle's entrees come in at around $20-$30 and include an accompanying side, the Earle Uptown has offered its classic French cuisine at closer to $30-$40 a pop--and that's a la carte. For most local pocketbooks, that's a sizable outlay. For the Earle Uptown, it's meant a lot of empty tables.
So when the Earle Uptown's lease in the Bell Tower Hotel came due this summer, it didn't make much sense to owner Dennis Webster to re-up. It's been a good six-year run, he says, but "the economy being the way it is, [staying open] didn't seem financially the direction to take."
Webster won't be idle. The original Earle is celebrating its thirty-first year in business. "I'm just going to focus more intensely on that for the moment," Webster says. As far as opening another Earle at some future date, he says "I suppose anything is possible, but there's nothing planned at the moment."
Another campus dining destination also has run its course. "We had a good fourteen years, but our time was up. Every business has a cycle," says Dick Schubach, co-owner of Zanzibar, which closed in July and was scheduled to reopen in late August as the new home of Sava's Cafe, which is moving from across State Street.