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ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN OQUIST
Strange bar in a
How Ann Arbor's trademark
bar fares as a franchise
Ashley's Restaurant and Pub
on State Street - self-touted as
"Michigan's premier multi-tap" -
has always maintained a veneer of
exclusivity, and at least on this cam-
pus, it's hard to argue. Even with
other homegrown breweries like
Grizzly Peak and Arbor Brewing
Company, even with prices that can
send a tab above $200 that would
be in double digits anywhere else,
Ashley's has come to encompass the
This is not least of all because,
since it opened in 1983, there liter-
ally has been nothing else like it
in the area. As a standalone venue
with 80 beers on tap and more than
100 bottles, the bar has attracted
national attention. It was a name,
not a brand.
Late last year, that changed. Two
new Ashley's locations opened in
suburbs of Detroit, one in Westland
and another in Woodhaven, blue-
collar cities one wouldn't exactly
associate with the bar's character.
The new restaurants, with menus
that still offer more than 100 beers
(though, only 20 are on tap at the
new locations), are bizarre spaces
for anyone who has ever been to the
original bar. Think a cross between
the dank, cramped Ann Arbor Ash-
ley's and major sports-bar chains
like T.G.I. Fridays.
Jeff More, president of Ashley's
Restaurants, said he already owned
both locations but that the corpo-
rate restaurant that formerly filled
the spaces, the Uno Chicago Grill,
wanted to adopt a new "upscale"
identity that didn't fit the areas.
And so reproductions of Ashley's, a
vaunted specialty bar with expen-
sive bottles and a steady hipster
crowd, seemed to be the solution.
"It's a lot about comfort level
for what we knew, and the menu
is accessible," More said. "There
are actually a lot of people in those
areas who like goodbeer. A lot more
than I thought."
Walking into the Westland loca-
tion, a building standing tellingly
alone in a far corner of the parking
lot of a mall, the smooth surfaces
and modern fixtures immedi-
ately smother the sense of ddja vu.
stationary Mrs. Fields, Insomnia
Cookies is equipped with a mobile
bakery based out of the delivery
truck so customers can enjoy the
treats without the risk of walking
off their buzz.
At 90 cents a cookie, the compa-
ny's menu offers all the essential
flavors: sugar cookie, chocolate
chunk, peanut butter chip, white
macadamia nut, oatmeal raisin,
M&M and double chocolate chunk.
The most sinful of the cookie selec-
tion is undoubtedly the menage a
trios cookie - a three-way collabo-
ration between chocolate chunk,
M&M and double chocolate chunk.
The rich chocolate chip brownies
also hold their own.
Once overtaken by the crav-
ing, make the order by phone or
through the website and you could
be having a "menage a trios" within
Despite no official advertising
campaign as of yet, word has got-
ten around fast about the new food
"You have to try Insomnia Cook-
ies!" LSA sophomore Abby Mar-
tlew exclaimed last week to three
friends she ran into inthe Michigan
Union. Martlew had discovered the
company a few weeks earlier.
Harold Solomon, Insomnia
Cookies' director of mobile bakery
The bar and the restaurant are
separated into entirely different
spheres. The menu looks familiar -
there's the bay chowder, the burg-
ers and then you come across the
mini-burger sliders and something
called the "Ann Arbor Iced Tea."
Not to mention that the menus
come in tall, freshly printed books,
without the beer stains and clipart
Westland, a punching bag for
other metro-Detroit suburbs and
the city where I happened to grow
up, is not a magnet for new busi-
ness, especially not ones that target
ayoung, adventurous audience. The
new sports-bar outfit may help it
adapt to the area, but the menu still_
trumps its uncommon beer selec-
tion as its signature. The Thursday
evening I went, there was just one
couple in the restaurant, though
the bar held some steady business.
"This is a Bud Light area," said
Kelli Elstone, a supervisor at the
new location, as she looked at the
two drinks my two guests (who
were also my parents) had ordered.
"It's really just about being open-
(The menu less than subtly
describes Bud Light as having "a
watery feel," a description decried
by Mom and Dad.)
Asked if Ashley's in Westland
had found the audience it sought
when it opened, Elstone said it was
"unfair" to judge the performance
of any new restaurant that opened
duringthe holidays, but added, "We
haven't established an identity yet.
Once people realize what we have,
we think they will come out."
That's not exactly an easy pic-
ture to conjure given what I know
of the area, but if briefly that night,
it was easy to get the sense that
the small crowd who held out at
the bar had the casual ease of new
Insomnia Cookies adds
sugar to drunk food menu
An order pops up on the com-
puter in the front of the truck or is
printed out on a small fax printer on
the dashboard, Solomon pulls the
desired cookies out of a refrigera-
tor inside the truck and pops them
in an oven right next to the cool-
ers. Eight minutes later the order is
ready for delivery.
The company's operation, at
least in Ann Arbor, is experimen-
tal. Insomnia Cookies has thirteen
locations but only one mobile bak-
ery. So far the trial has been a suc-
cess and Solomon hopes to expand
the lone truck into a fleet.
But there are a few kinks to
work out, mainly because Insomnia
Cookies' owners underestimated
the positive response they'd see.
"We've had the typical startup
problems," Solomon explained.
Phone ordering hasn't always
worked out perfectly, with a few
orders getting lost during times
when a lot of calls are coming in.
One night, the oven broke down.
Still, if business continues to go
as it is, the fledgling bakery will
have plenty of time to smooth out
the operation's rough spots.
On an average night, Insomnia
Cookies receives between twenty
to fifty delivery orders.
Among a group of students who
sampled Insomnia Cookies's menu,
double chocolate chunk was the
general favorite, but the oatmeal
raison and sugar cookies also got
LSA sophomore Emily Porritt
said that the sugar cookies weren't
sugary enough and needed sugar
Butin a gesture
toward what ulti-
most, Solomon is
the cookies be
served fresh - he
gives the day-old
at the police sta-
Of course, any-
one who's seen
stale pizza slices
that look like
during the late-night rush at New
York Pizza Depot could tell Solo-
mon that freshness isn't a huge pri-
ority for his clientele.
Three things you can talk about this week:
1. Indecent exposure in the residence halls
2. Falling U.S. spy satellites
3. The Rafah boder
And three things
1. How you almost
graduated at EMU
2. The price of Super
3. Miss Michigan
BY T HE NUMBERS
Americans who visited a strip club in 1991
Visits to strip clubs in 1991
More visits to strip clubs than major league baseball games in 1991
Source: National Health and Social Life Survey
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
I've been dreaming
all day about having
you all to myself for
sleeping and making
-- KWAME KILPATRICK, mayor of
Detroit, in a text message to his chief
of staff, Christine Beatty. They both
denied any relationship whetnasked
shout it under oath last summer.
VIDEO COF s
THE WEEK r.
A Guitar Hero
Ben isP9 years old.
He has many blessings: a winning
smile, encouraging parents, a nice
widescreen TV and to of the fastest
fingers on the planet.
Despite his age, Ben happens to be THEME
one of the best Guitar Hero 3 players
in the world. Downl
Yes, it's a video game. Rocking out
on a guitar-shaped hunk of plastic is ture As
nothing like playing a real guitar. for ille
But Ben plays the hardest song g
in the game ("Through the Fire and about
Flames" by the British "power metal"
band DragonForce) at the highest admittt
difficulty setting and hits 95 percent cent. Si
of the notes.
When he finishes the song, Ben begin a
looksback atthe camera, grins widely your ill
and forks his fingers in aetal salute. your
Hesoon discovers that his Xbox 360 look mi
has awarded him game points in Throwin
honor of his accomplishment.
"I got an achievement!" Ben yells,
pumping his arms in the air.
Maybe it's only video games -
maybe he'd be better off playing soc-
cer in the backyard. Bush
But Ben knows the value of
achievement. If only we all did. Presid(
"If I had the chance, I would'have
spit in his face"
- TOMMASO BARBATO, an Italian senator, on one of his col-
leagues, who changed his mind and decided to support former
Prime Minister Romano Prodi in a no-confidence vote. Prodi lost
the sole and resigned his post last meek.
"The power of spirits inside
his body is keeping him alive.
Suharto's life is supported by a
- DARSONO, an Indonesian spiritualist with alleged
magical powers, on former Indonesian President
Suharto's survival after his kidneys, heart and lungs
failed two weeks ago. Suharto died on Sunday.
Cookies, one of the most whole- operations who mans the truck,
some snack foods, have lost their was a little surprised by the already
innocence. considerable enthusiasm.
The sugary disks have joined "We're being very well received
the ranks of campus's late-night by the students even though there
drunken munchies thanks to the was no marketing campaign yet,"
opening of an Ann Arbor franchise Solomon said. "I had no idea the
Cookies, a com-
solely to deliver- -
cookies in stu-
hoods at night.
by students at
the University of
2003, now oper-
ates on 13 cam- T
Michigan State -
Long after Mrs. Fields has response would be this huge."
turned off the lights, the ovens of Solomon, a tall man with a hearty
Insomnia Cookies are still yielding laugh and wide smile, works in the
gooey morsels - from 8 p.m. to 2:30 truck seven days a week, fielding
a.m. And unlike the notoriously orders all night.
oading blitz -t- In 2005, the Motion Pic-
sociation of America blamed college kids
al downloading that cost the industry
$18 billion a year. Well, last week the group
ed that it overestimated by nearly 300 per-
nce you've already been faulted, why not
downloading frenzy. And don't feel guilty:
egal downloading will make the MPAA
g this party? Let us know. TheStotementumich.edu
STUDY OF THE WEEK
I administration makes 935 false claims on Iraq
ent Bush and his top advisers made 935 erroneous claims about
ity threat that Iraq posed in the two years after the Sept. 11,
orist attacks, according to a study released by the Center for
tegrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
udy was conducted using a database of official government
ts, speeches and quotes from media organizations.
iade 232 false statements about Iraq and the existence of weap-
.ss destruction, the study found. He also made 28 false claims
ged connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq.
ding to the study, former Secretary of State Colin Powell ranked
r most number of erroneous statements. He made 244 false
out WMDs and 10 about links between Al Qaeda and Iraq.
study also chided some media groups for failing to determine
or not the Bush administration's claims were true.
- BRIAN TENGEL
- GABE NELSON
See this and other
YouTube videos ofthe week at
ons of ma