Friday, January 27, 2017

Ypsilanti's Cafe Ollie Closing for Renovations

The bad news: Cafe Ollie, the hip and homey little bistro on Ypsilanti's Cross Street, is closing this Sunday. The good news: Owners Mark Teachout and Danielle Scherwin Teachout will re-open their Depot Town business as a full service bar and restaurant re-christened Ollie Food and Spirits.

The even better news: This Sunday they are hosting a "Goodbye-Hello Party" with all the food and drink you can consume for $20. After Sunday, the cafe will be closed as it undergoes renovation. And don't worry: the ice cream, coffee, tea, and baked goods aren't going anywhere. They'll move next door to a side business dubbed the Cream and Crumb.

I pinged Danielle with a few questions about Ollie's transformation.

How did you arrive at the decision to convert Cafe Ollie to a beer and cocktail bar? 

We've had a bit of a catch-all concept (beer, wine, ice cream, breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.) for six years now, and we feel that hasn't allowed us to focus as much as we'd like. Separating the "cafe" portion from food, beer, wine, and spirits will be easier for customers to digest. Also, from a perspective of location we feel that a cozy lounge with non-pretentious fine food and cocktails is missing from Ypsi. A place where you can get great food and drinks with a relaxed vibe. A place where it's quiet enough to hear your date.

How many taps are you planning on having? What sort of draft system will you install?

We'll have eight taps, all direct draw.

Are you going to maintain a Michigan focus or have beers from elsewhere?

Michigan-focused, but not exclusively. We'll have a nice smattering of some malty, some hoppy, some fruity, Belgian, experimental, and cider, changing seasonally and strictly paired with the food menu. Also a nice bottle selection of "dad beers," i.e., easy drinking lagers, pilsners, etc.

Do you plan on hosting any regular or irregular beer events, such as beer dinners?

Yes, quarterly as we launch our seasonal food menus. Wine, too.

What will be the focus in your cocktail list?

We'll keep it tightly curated and manageable, focused on Michigan and local distillers. Creative twists on classics, and some boozy shakes for sure.

How about the food menu?

Ollie will have a seasonal menu with interesting interpretations of Midwestern comfort classics – affordable and approachable fine dining without all the buzzwords and trendy silliness.

Do you have a timeframe for when Ollie will re-open to the public? 

There are lots of variables to consider. such as health department inspections, but I would guess in the first week of March. Hopefully sooner. We will be doing a big media blitz.

What are the details about Sunday's event, especially as relates to beer?

We are cleaning house. Everything must go. We have a barrel each of Bell's Special Double Cream Stout and Christmas Ale to finish. Also a three-door cooler filled with mainly Michigan sixers, bombers of cider, mead, a couple cases of wine, and a little bit of barrel-aged malty stuff that I've been cellaring. The party starts at 7 and goes until we burst or pass out. $20 gets all you can consume of a buffet style of food and drinks. We are gonna have a few DJs spinning some records, too.

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