by Sally Mitani
Middle Kingdom closed in November but may be up and running soon under different ownership. Both the property and the business were owned by Johnny Tam and his wife, Wing Shan, who opened the Chinese restaurant in 1981.
Bill Schlecte is the attorney for the new owner, a group of investors called Ann Arbor Main Street Real Estate, and he says the new owners bought the Middle Kingdom name as well as the property and plan to reopen it as soon as possible. The only name he could give was Asuwan Erturk, who is the manager named on the incorporation documents, and who "may or may not" be an investor. Erturk's name also appears as manager on the property next door, which also just changed hands, 330 S. Main (most recently Carillon Chocolates). Schlecte couldn't say what plans were in the works for that property.
Middle Kingdom, especially in its early days, was a revelation to many an Ann Arborite who had grown up on chow mein and egg foo yung. Eve Silberman, staff writer for the Observer, remembers that, in addition to having good cooks, someone there had superior voice recognition skills: "When I lived near there more than fifteen years ago, I would call in orders a lot. The Asian man who answered the phone learned to recognize my voice so well that as soon as he heard it he would say 'chicken and broccoli?'"
[Originally published in January, 2013.]
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