"We tried to preserve everything we could," says John Roumanis. "We are trying to make the restaurant simple but beautiful."
On the less-trafficked Fourth Avenue side of the same city block, Khaled Mohamed is working on a pair of businesses, the Blue Lotus Carryout and the Blue Lotus Hookah Lounge, that will share the long-vacant storefront next to Eastern Accents. Widely popular in the Arab American community, hookah lounges were no longer able to serve food after Michigan's smoking ban took effect. The adjacent carryout is intended to bridge that gap.
"There is a big Middle Eastern community in Ann Arbor," says Mohamed, who also owns Troy's New York City Pizza. "But nobody has this kind of business here, with food and smoke." Entertainment plans for the late-night lounge include open mic nights, comedy shows, and DJ music.