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Friday April 18, 2014
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Less fine dining near campus

 

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Schubach has seen plenty of ups and downs: he's been involved in some capacity with Ann Arbor's most seminal and iconic restaurants of the last four decades: Great Lakes Steakhouse, Alexandra's (now Gratzi), 328 Main (now Prickly Pear), Southside Grille, and Casey's Tavern. In the 1990s, he partnered with Roger Hewitt, whom he had met back in the seventies at Great Lakes, and Marilee Sturtevant, a former colleague at Alexandra's.

First they opened the Red Hawk, a casual but sophisticated pub, cannily priced just out of reach of most undergraduates, and then, in 1995, Zanzibar, with its slightly postmodern pan-ethnicity. Like Red Hawk, it wasn't aimed at students but at their parents and faculty.

"We were not the most expensive restaurant in town, but we were in that tier where you have to make a commitment," says Schubach. Things were OK in the winter, but "we were a destination restaurant in a nondestination neighborhood." In the summer, with the university traffic gone, things were "unsustainably quiet," he says.

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