Adding to its two locations in Ann Arbor and one in East Lansing, popular campus burrito restaurant BTB plans to open another location on South University Avenue late next week.
BTB, formerly known as Big Ten Burrito, has been a hit with students since it first opened on State Street several years ago. It had to change its name last year after the Big Ten Conference took issue.
The BTB Cantina, which will include a bar and a larger seating area, will be located directly above Good Time Charley’s bar and restaurant at the corner of South University Avenue and Church Street. BTB owners Adam Lowenstein and his business partner Justin Herrick bought Good Time Charley’s last year, closing the upstairs portion of the restaurant to make way for the BTB Cantina.
Lowenstein said he planned to open the BTB Cantina in August but construction and planning took longer than expected.
“We just underestimated the time and energy that it was going to take to run Charley’s,” he said. “Obviously, there were unforeseen issues. Everything takes so long and there’s just a bureaucracy with everything.”
BTB Cantina’s bar will be Mexican-themed, featuring a selection of Mexican beers and 30 different types of tequila. The tequilas will range from standards like Jose Cuervo to more premium brands, including one $1,500 bottle of tequila, Lowenstein said. Tequila-devotees with deep pockets can purchase shots from that bottle for $250 each.
Lowenstein said the menu will include all the items at the other BTB locations, but that he plans to expand it to better reflect a traditional Mexican restaurant.
The BTB Cantina, housed in a much larger space than other BTB locations, will feature foosball, shuffleboard and other bar games. Like the BTB restaurant on State Street, it will house a long table for seating. The new location will also sport expanded seating with “comfortable couches.”
Law School student Matt Cronin said students will appreciate the fusion of alcohol and burritos at one campus bar.
“It will be great because my friends will drink margaritas and I’ll eat burritos. Can it get any better? The answer is no,” he said.
LSA freshman Andy Cipa said he was excited about other aspects of the new restaurant.
“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “It’s more like a normal Mexican restaurant. It’s centrally located, is a good spot and pretty easy to get to.”
But recently, the original BTB made other changes that students are less excited about. On New Year’s Day, the restaurant raised its prices between $.25 and $.50, depending on the item. Lowenstein said BTB had to raise its prices due to the rising costs of food.
“We haven’t raised our prices in four years, and the inflation has gone up a lot since we opened,” he said.
LSA sophomore Kalyan Ramakrishnan said the higher prices are a fair tradeoff for another BTB location.
“I’d pay 50 cents more to walk less,” he said.
– Marta Debski contributed to this report.