Art & Soul: The Culinary Arts - Impact Of Pandemic Has Been 'Devastating' To Ann Arbor Restaurants

Jun 4, 2020

Micah Bartelme, CEO of Barstar Group
Credit Micah Bartelme

As Ann Arbor bars and restaurants prepare to reopen after being closed by the pandemic since mid-March, things will definitely be different.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Micah Bartelme, principal and CEO of BarStar Group, which owns and operates several Ann Arbor area bars and restaurants, including Nightcap, LoFi, and Babs Underground in the downtown area.  Also a board member of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, he talks about the far-reaching effects the global health crisis has had on the Ann Arbor restaurant scene.

The Ann Arbor bar and restaurant owner says having to shut down due to the pandemic will change the area restaurant scene as many begin to reopen as allowed by the Governor beginning June 8th.  He says a lot of restaurant owners have been "hit hard" and don't have the resources to wait it out or bounce back.  He talks about legislation proposed to allow entertainment districts in the city where drinks could be enjoyed outside in a certain area and another idea to allow the sale of individual alcoholic beverages to drink at home.

Bartelme praised the recent approval by the Ann Arbor City Council to close some streets to give restaurants more room to expand outdoor dining space between June 12th and August 23rd.  He says he thinks "it will bring a lot of life and vibrancy to downtown Ann Arbor and will help businesses recoup lost revenue from the pandemic."


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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at