Amer's in the Union to close

Marlene Lacasse / Daily
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By Alicia Adamczyk, Daily News Editor
Published April 30, 2013

After a failed campaign and much speculation, the Amer’s Mediterranean Deli in the Michigan Union will close its doors Saturday, May 4th.

In February, an anonymous Facebook campaign was launched to “Save Amer’s” after the University Unions announced it was opening a new marketplace café when the deli’s lease expired. The “Save Amer’s in the Michigan Union” page currently has 1,166 likes on Facebook.

However, plans for a new business within the space that Amer’s has occupied have not yet been announced.

On Tuesday, Amer’s posted a sign in the restaurant that read, “Our last day open after 19 years. UM is kicking us out.” Amer’s has operated in the Union for 20 years and employs 15 students.

Amer Bathish, owner of Amer’s and a University alum, said he was told in an e-mail this week that his lease ended on May 5th and that he was to move out all of his fixtures and equipment within 15 days.

“That’s all they said to me and they said it in an e-mail,” Bathish said. “It couldn’t have come any colder…I love U of M and without U of M I am nothing but at the same time U of M just said, ‘Okay, we’re kicking you out.’”

Bathish said his efforts to discuss the extension of his lease were ignored by the University despite being an outstanding tenant who did everything that was asked of him by the landlord.

“And when I’ve asked them, I’ve asked them, can I talk to you, can we discuss this, what’s going on, all they’ve said to us is, ‘We can’t talk about your space,’” Bathish said.

Laura Seagram, a marketing communications specialist for University Unions, wrote in an e-mail interview that while the Michigan Union’s ground floor food court, the Michigan Union Grill, is renovated this summer — including the addition of Ahmo’s Gyros and Deli and expansion of Subway and Wendy’s — the space outside of Amer’s will be opened as Summer Selections, six separate food stands that will operate until the MUG area reopens. Summer Selections will open May 6.

“We're really excited about the variety of food options that will be available for the summer,” Seagram wrote.

The six stands include: Coffee Café; Sandwiches, Salads and Sides; Ice Cream Station; and options from Panda Express. Additionally, the food service area will feature two rotating, local operators per day, including Palm Palace, Jamaican Jerk Pit, Ahmo’s Gyros and Deli, and Earthen Jar. University Union chefs will also prepare themed dishes throughout the summer.

The Coffee Café will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The other stations will be open between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Seagram wrote that they have yet to decide what will replace Summer Selections in the fall.

The other businesses in the Union, including Barnes & Noble, TCF and PNC ATMs, Computer Showcase, UM Credit Union and Michigan Ticket Office will all remain open during the construction of the dining facilities.

Will Greenberg contributed reporting

Correction appended: A previous version of this article misstated that Summer Selections was to replace Amer’s. Summer Selections will operate outside of Amer’s and a decision on what business to operate in the space that Amer’s occupied has yet to be decided.