Pizza trumps Coneys
The Kashams shuffle the deck
by Sally Mitani
There aren't five guys named Moe in this story. But there are two guys named Mo, one restaurant named Moe, two properties named Pittsfield, and a lot of juggling of names and concepts.
Mo (short for Mohammed) Kasham opened Big Moe's Coney Island Restaurant on Washtenaw a few years ago. His younger brother Mo (short for Mohanned) managed the Cottage Inn take-out and delivery store at the other end of the same strip mall, Pittsfield Crossing. It's not as big a coincidence as it seems, since Pittsfield Crossing is owned by the Kasham family.
Then last spring, Mo the Elder opened Greeko's Coney-Grill in Pittsfield Plaza, another Kasham family property at Washtenaw and Pittsfield.
Both Greeko's and Big Moe's closed a few months ago. As Mo the Younger explains it, "We first opened up Moe's two years ago and it was beautiful. Then six other Coney Islands opened within a half mile." He ticks them off: "King of Queens, IHOP, Leo's, Luca's, Greeko's, Golden Egg. We just got saturated."
He explained this from his new workplace, the Cottage Inn Buffet, in the space that was formerly Big Moe's. "Cottage Inn corporate wanted to take this space over and make it a buffet, so it wasn't really a total loss," he says. "As you can see, we're still using the same dining room. With the economy the way it is, and everyone pinching pennies, it works out nicely. For $6.99, it's all you can eat: salad, pizza, and drinks." (You can still order pizza and sandwiches for takeout and delivery too.)
In case anyone's finding this too easy to follow: while Greeko's was going down the tubes, the two brothers put their heads together and quickly overhauled it as a Middle Eastern restaurant named Tabbouli's. But it was open for less than two months, and for most of that time didn't even have proper signage-only some crooked lettering painted directly on the glass.
Mo the Elder is currently looking for a new restaurant tenant for that space. "I don't want to just lease it to anyone," he says. "I want to make sure whoever leases it has the proper background, the right resources."
Cottage Inn Buffet, 4860 Washtenaw, 528-1515. Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.-1 a.m. cottageinn.com.
[Originally published in February, 2009.]