May Your Days Be Merry…

If you have visited the U-M Museum of Natural History (“the dinosaur museum”) and you read this blog, you probably noticed two big changes:

  • The gift shop is much less of an afterthought. It’s much more eye catching than its predecessor in the Ruthven Building, and you have to get your planetarium ticket there.
  • Like many museums across the country, it has a restaurant.

Darwin’s is a quick service counter run by Michigan Dining that actually opened months before the museum to serve the students, staff and faculty of the Biological Sciences Building (the research and classroom complex, of which the new museum is the public face).
Hot on the heels of that reopening comes this announcement of a new cafe opening next month inside the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Stylized concept art of cafe at U-M Museum of Art (UMMA). I straight up lifted this from their dang website and didin’t even ask permission.

Some of the public areas in UMMA’s expansion and renovation a decade ago were built with a cafe in mind. The gift shop has sold ready-to-drink beverages for years. This is interesting but not unprecedented. I hope this trend continues because I look forward to seeing what kind of quick-service concepts they come up with for the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology (“Mummies ‘n Yummies”), the U-M Computer and Video Game Archive (“Burger Time”), and the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry (“Ensuring the Continuity of our Profession”),

BEFORE YOU CORRECT ME: I used to work in there, I know the CVGA is a no-food-or-drink environment. You can’t solve a coffee spill by taking it back out and blowing in it.

BEFORE THE CVGA CORRECTS ME: It’s bad to blow in cartridges, the moisture in your breath can corrode the contacts and circuits in the cartridges, unless you’re one of the mummies from KMA, in which case the stray sand and thousand-year-old-curses from your supernatural exhalation will mess up the game. The CVGA keeps game and console cleaning tools on hand.

Greater Main Street Bad News Round Up

Cafe Felix has closed.

Marnee Thai has closed.

Marnee Thai restaurant will be closing permanently on 5/15, 2019. It has been amazing run since we opened in 2007, and…

Posted by Marnee Thai Restaurant on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

And Alpha Koney Island is scrambling because Old Navy is coming. If you live or work on the south side you probably get your coney fix here, it’s been in Oak Valley pretty much since it opened.

The larger, vacant space at left above (formerly Party City until PC moved to a larger space within the centre) is now a possible new Old Navy location, but Old Navy wants the space to be approximately one Coney Island larger. Alpha’s plan, according to the linked article, is to move to a space nearby, closer to the Sprint Store, renovating at their own expense. I hope it works out for them, I’ve eaten some fine coney meals here. If it doesn’t work out, Mark’s Midtown is one exit over, in that little shopping center off State south of 94 where SUPER LIQUOR EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE is.

Hunter House Hamburgers recently closed quickly and quietly on Maynard Street. HHH was a mainstay of my lunch diet when I worked nearby, but I fell out of the habit when I moved across campus. Though they lasted much longer than anything in that space that wasn’t White Market, I’m still sad to see them go, especially considering the uncertain status of Hunter House’s original location in Birmingham. Get this: someone wants to knock it down and build a five story mixed-use building on the site! Who would want to do such a thing?

China Gate as seen from the opposite corner. (C)A2RS

On a related note, South University institution China Gate is closing, and I would wager its neighbors MTVTN, Ayaka, and Jimmy John’s will follow suit in the ensuing months. South U has been not-quite-whole since the old Campus Pinball building burned down a few years back, then half of Middle Earth met the wrecking ball. Since most of South U is now high-rises or soon-to-be high-rises, I expect this will soon follow suit. Someone on this FB thread is saying it will be affordable housing, but I would wager they mean affordable-by-UM-student standards.

A little further up South University at Washtenaw, the former Mighty Good Coffee (previously Glassbox Coffee) is showing signs of life again. Will this third coffee shop be the charm? That’d be nice. It’s Vertex Coffee Roasters, who are coming from Milan to get interesting with coffee. The Vertex partners previously plied wares in Ann Arbor as Milan Coffee Works (doing pop-up events at Bløm Meadery and running a traditional coffee and pastries shop on Packard for a spell in the space currently occupied by Poçai). But these days they’re flash-freezing coffee, serving it on tap, filling growlers… FINALLY, a healthy alternative to beer for those of us who like interesting flavors but have to care for their high blood pressure.

(reads caffeine content on label) Welp.