Ann Arbor's Original Cottage Inn Closes
A long-standing and beloved landmark has come to an end in downtown Ann Arbor. After more than 75 years of serving the best in Mediterranean cuisine, the Original Cottage Inn at 512 East William Street is taking on a new identity.
Jimmy Michos, managing partner of the Original Cottage Inn, has announced the sale of the restaurant to Coratti’s Pizzeria Bar and Bocce. The move marks the end of an era for a family deeply intertwined with the city's culinary history. Alongside his brothers, Theo and George, Jimmy has navigated the complexities of honoring family legacy while embracing personal and familial growth.
Jimmy has worked at his family’s restaurant for 35 years and explains, "Right now is just a good time for me to spend time with my family and pursue my other interests. I've started a real estate business and want to spend time growing it."
In choosing a successor, the Michos family prioritized continuity in quality and ethos. The new owners, Coratti’s Pizzeria Bar and Bocce, promise to maintain the spirit of Cottage Inn. "It's going to be a big change for me,” Jimmy admits. “But at the same time, it's the right time. I found the right fit with Coratti’s Pizzeria Bar and Bocce. These people have restaurants similar to ours. They're hard-working. They’re hands-on. Their food is similar. They’ve got great ideas. They make Detroit-style pizza and their own pasta. It all falls into how I always wanted this place to be. And the main thing is, they will take care of my employees."
The Original Cottage Inn Gourmet Pizza in Ann Arbor has not only stood as a historic culinary landmark but also as a vivid narrative of family, innovation, and community service since its inception in 1948. The story unfolds with the restaurant's iconic status as one of the first pizzerias in Ann Arbor, under the stewardship of Nick Michos and his wife Eleni, Greek immigrants who shaped their American dream into a thriving business.
In 2018, for the store’s 70th anniversary, Eleni recounted the early days and how Nick came to this country to get some ideas to take back home to his small village of Konaditsa, Greece. He never intended to settle down here. But as fate would have it, he bought a small shop, Cottage Inn, and spent Christmastime remodeling the place.
Eleni describes the overwhelming success: "When he got the door open, there started being a line. People were waiting in line to get in." The narrative she shares depicts a fledgling establishment that quickly became a beloved eatery under Nick's devotion. "Little did I know that my husband had a love before me, and that was the love of the Cottage Inn," she adds.
Amidst reflections on the restaurant's storied past and its indelible mark on Ann Arbor's social and culinary landscape, Jimmy Michos and his family navigate the bittersweet nature of this transition with a sense of fulfillment. The Original Cottage Inn has been more than just a restaurant. It has been a gathering place and a source of countless memories for those it has served.
“We are grateful and blessed to have served incredible people, forming close friendships over the years,” says Jimmy. “Hosting weddings, baptisms, rehearsal dinners, company parties, bridal showers, baby showers, events for the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan Football, and more has been an honor. Being home to the University of Michigan Glee Club and Marching Band for many years, we are privileged to have served all of you throughout our journey.”
Jimmy emphasizes the restaurant’s legacy of giving back. He shares poignant memories of his father and the significance of feeding the homeless during Thanksgiving. “Among our many cherished memories, providing free Thanksgiving Day meals annually for the past 40 years for our community holds a special place in our hearts,” he says. “Bringing smiles to people’s faces and contributing to the community has been incredibly meaningful for all of us.”
In recent years, Jimmy introduced a comedy club in the Cottage Inn Cellar Lounge. The move was a hit. All the shows were sold out. Walking through the lounge, he points to photos of many of the comics on the wall, many national headliners, and reminisces about how rewarding the endeavor has been.
As the Michos family draws the curtain on Ann Arbor’s Original Cottage Inn, they look forward to seeing the continuation of their father’s beloved Mediterranean fare under the new ownership of Coratti’s Pizzeria Bar and Bocce.
The Michos family sends this heartfelt farewell out to their patrons over the years:
“We want to express our sincere gratitude for our exceptional managers, chefs, and both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house staff employees. Our team's loyalty and hard work have been remarkable, and we’re truly thankful for that. We wish for the continued success of all our employees and express deep gratitude for your dedicated efforts.
“Our guests have meant the world to us. Thank you, once again, for your unwavering support. It’s been a pleasure serving you, and we can’t thank you enough for the beautiful times we’ve shared.
“With all our love.
“~The Michos Family”
The Original Cottage Inn has closed and is undergoing renovations. It will reopen as Coratti’s Pizzeria Bar and Bocce before graduation weekend. Coratti’s already has restaurants in Howell and Milford and will soon open in East Lansing and in Ann Arbor. The sale does not affect the other Cottage Inn Gourmet Pizza locations.
Photos courtesy of Jimmy Michos