Ypsilanti Citizen Community Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

Rumors of Cafe Luwak closing put to rest

Cafe Luwak will remain open for at least another year while owner Jim Karnopp looks for a business partner to run the restaurant. Photo by Christine Laughren

Cafe Luwak will remain open for at least another year while owner Jim Karnopp looks for a business partner to run the restaurant.
Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Owner on lookout for business partner to share work load

By Tom Perkins
Dec. 9, 2009    ·    12:40 p.m.


The good news is Café Luwak owner Jim Karnopp officially put to rest the rumor that he is shuttering Depot Town’s best stop for a latte and a sandwich.

The bad news is Karnopp is exhausted from five years of working 80 to 100 hours, and no longer desires only having off two days per year, as has been the case in 2009.

In between early morning and evening stops at Luwak, Karnopp puts on the computer consultant hat at an agency in Detroit, and he said he is now seeking a partner to buy into the operation to alleviate some the stress.

“I’ve been doing this for five years and I think this place has got a lot of potential, but I’m getting burnt out,” he says. “I definitely do not want to close the place. Ideally, we’re hoping to find a partner in the next year.”

Karnopp sees the perfect partner as someone who has front-of-the house experience in the restaurant business and is passionate about food.

He says he loves and knows his coffee, is good with the business end and describes himself as quality oriented, but needs someone with skills complimentary to his – in short, someone who is at home in the kitchen and with customers.

“Having someone who is good at technical stuff like I am would be redundant,” he said. “Now that we put all this money into the kitchen, here we are with a whole lot of possibilities with the infrastructure in here.”

Karnopp has also had turnover issues with his day-staff, since the original team that helped build the restaurant’s business graduated from college and moved on.

He isn’t there to supervise during those hours, and says it would be helpful to have someone who has the experience to develop a quality staff and keep customers coming in for their caffeine fix and a bite.

“We need more energy at the front of the house,” he said. “Two years ago we had the best sandwich shop in southeast Michigan and now we’re not doing so well.”

Karnopp says another complication is the problem caused by the Thompson Block fire, and the closing of Cross Street that came of it. The structure has since been supported by exterior frames, which extend out to the adjacent lanes on both River and Cross streets. The city has closed portions of both streets, closing west-bound traffic on Cross Street and north-bound traffic on River Street.

The day the building burned was the day Café Luwak launched a breakfast menu in which Karnopp invested heavily. Business has been down in the morning since then, and Café Luwak has yet to cook more than five breakfasts in one day.

Karnopp says the problem is the morning traffic no longer goes through Depot Town because of the detour.

“We worked so much to get this breakfast going,” he says. “It (the Thompson Block) is just killing us.”

While Café Luwak remains open for now, there is a time limit, albeit a long one. The building’s landlord has agreed to a one-year instead of five-year lease, and Karnopp is hopeful a partner can be found between now and then.

In the meantime, Karnopp said he is confident street will be opened. the breakfast menu will live up to its potential and the addition of a train stop will only add to the café’s popularity.

“We’ve got a whole lot of loyal customers and I would really miss them,” he said. “I like being a part of this community and if I didn’t have this place I wouldn’t have quite the anchor that makes me a part of things.”
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Editor's note: Parts of this story were changed on Dec. 10 due to intended edits that did not get made to the story. Information and background were added to the portion of the story concerning the Thompson Block.



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