By K.C. Wassman, Daily News Editor
Published December 5, 2013
Though Ann Arbor is known for being on the vanguard of restaurant culture, the incoming restaurant on East William Street — Menna’s Joint — will be the sixth campus location for the East Lansing-based burrito chain.
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Menna’s will fill the space recently vacated by Toppers Pizza, the now-closed pizza franchise at East William and Maynard Streets. The joint is known for “the Dub,” a grilled wrap sandwich filled with ingredients ranging from potatoes to chicken tenders. Other locations beside Michigan State University include Western Michigan University and Central Michigan University.
Hank Andries, the current owner of the chain, said they hope to open the Ann Arbor branch in March after renovating the East William space. Andries said most of the changes in the restaurant will be cosmetic, but added that the kitchen will have to be changed to fit their needs.
Andries said the company has been looking for a space in Ann Arbor for several years, but has had trouble finding available storefronts.
“There’s a lot of demand and not a lot of real estate, so it’s difficult to find the right location that fits and makes sense,” Andries said. “So this opportunity came up and it seemed to be the perfect fit.”
Brendan Cavender, a broker with Colliers International, said his company has been working with Menna’s for about five years and is glad they finally found a space that is suitable for the restaurant.
Colliers also helped bring other restaurants like Firehouse Subs and NeoPapalis to East William Street.
“East William is so close to campus. It’s right next to the Diag — it was a natural boom that the retail starts creeping down there,” Cavender said. “And with the addition to Zaragon (West), it’s really helped the foot traffic down there.”
While Menna’s is an East Lansing-based restaurant, it is not the first chain to have locations near both the University and MSU. Rick’s American Café, Pizza House and No Thai are popular on both campuses.
“You look at Menna’s wherever else they are. They’re on every college campus except here,” Cavender said. “When I announced that we did this deal, people are just thrilled about it. We’re excited to see how well they do. I think they’ll just crank.”
Michigan State University junior Michael Higer said Menna’s has a large present on his school’s campus.
“It’s been one of the most popular restaurants on campus,” Higer said. “Imagine your typical burrito place, but with anything you want in it.”