In The Works, March 2021
Lewis Jewelers is still paused, more food at Briarwood, and Ann Arbor's first "Chipotlane."
From the March, 2021 issue
Last summer, it looked like Lewis Jewelers was on the verge of moving into its new location next to Westgate, where the Quarter Bistro long stood.
In February 2020, it began what it thought would be a relatively simple transformation of the former restaurant.
Lewis's owners aimed to offer a more extensive selection of watches and designer jewelry and create private areas where transactions could take place more discreetly than in its current location. Though you wouldn't know looking at it, that little white-brick jewel box was once home to a McDonald's.
The upscale jeweler even called its annual August promotion a "moving sale," expecting it might be able to relocate in October or November, according to Keith Largin, the store's assistant manager.
But Lewis's expansion plans have repeatedly been slowed, first by Covid-19 delays that interrupted a number of city services, and then by updated directions from city departments, Largin says.
Rather than renovate the existing building, the jeweler ended up tearing down all but a skeleton of framing around the old building's footprint. Plans now call for a virtually all-new building on the site, with the jeweler taking up to 10,000 square feet, and three to five other tenants occupying the rest, he says.
Although Lewis had hoped it could open its new location this fall, even that target is now in question, Largin says.
"It's been so difficult," he says of the delays. "Now, we're just going at whatever pace they're giving us. Whatever happens, happens."
Meanwhile, Lewis continues to operate at its longtime location at 2000 W. Stadium Blvd., where it is open six days a week. "We're fortunate to be up and running," Largin says.
Nearby, another west-side skeleton has come back to life. In February, finishing touches were being put on Ann Arbor's fourth Chipotle. Spokeswoman Erin Wolford says the Mexican fast-food chain plans to open next door to the new Reinhart building in mid-March, replacing a practically historic Burger King.
As Lewis Jewelers
did with the Quarter Bistro building, the new owners stripped the old structure down to a skeleton then rebuilt on the original footprint. They also kept Burger King's drive-thru lane. Once the restaurant opens, customers will be able to place orders through Chipotle's app, then breeze through the rechristened "Chipotlane" to collect their food without leaving their cars.
Briarwood mall's website says two new food outlets are "coming soon."
Ah-Ha Noodles, in the JCPenney wing, promises Asian-inspired, noodle-based dishes made with fresh ingredients, as well as wontons and dumplings. This will be the company's second location--the first opened in 2019 in the Laurel Park Place mall in Livonia.
Crepe Delicious Urban Cafe, founded in 2004 in Concord, Ontario, calls itself "Canada's largest mall-based creperie." Now it's expanding across the U.S. The menu includes breakfast, savory and sweet crepes, and gelato. In February, its location wasn't yet listed on the Briarwood directory.
[Originally published in March, 2021.]
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