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Thursday December 02, 2021
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The Grange Kitchen Closes

As Brandon Johns finds a new niche.

by Micheline Maynard

From the November, 2021 issue

The Grange Kitchen & Bar on W. Liberty, which emphasized local produce and ingredients, closed in mid-October after twelve years in business.

"Grange opened during a global recession, and it seems fitting that we close during a pandemic," chef-owner Brandon Johns posted on Instagram.

Grange is the second downtown farm-to-table restaurant to close since the Covid-19 outbreak began. Logan, which operated for sixteen years, closed in June 2020, and its space was absorbed by Frita Batidos (Observer, March).

In a lengthy post, Johns wrote, "I was planning on waxing poetically about how much we accomplished, especially pushing the local food movement and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars we put back into the local food economy ... But as I type, I'm mostly just sad. Bummed."

Johns wrote that he would sleep better not being a "stressed out restaurant owner" but there were many things he would miss: "cooking with the rhythms and nuances of the seasons. The hum of a busy dining room. The chaos of a slammed kitchen. But mostly I'll miss the people--regulars, farmers, and the restaurant's quirky staff and their families."

The Grange "wasn't an easy restaurant to run," Johns acknowledged. "We made things difficult. Constant trips to the market. So much whole animal butchery. Ever changing ingredients."

He concluded, "Grange wasn't the best restaurant ever, but we did live up to our goal to serve truly local food grown and raised by the people we know. I'm proud of that."

Johns has joined the Ann Arbor Distilling Company, where, he writes, he is "making the booze, learning new skills and making myself more valuable in the Zombie apocalypse."


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