Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Spencer is a new seasonal restaurant and cheese bar by Abby Olitzky and Steve Hall, opening in Ann Arbor this October!
252 backers pledged $32,923 to help bring this project to life.

About

SPENCER project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$32,923

252

video by Rafe Scobey-Thal

in front of our new space, june 2015
in front of our new space, june 2015

Spencer is a restaurant dedicated to quality and craft.

Our idea is fairly simple, yet unique to Ann Arbor. We envision a friendly neighborhood restaurant that balances the feel of a casual wine bar with  craveable fare of local ingredients. Open from late morning to late evening, we will serve coffee and pastries, take-out lunches, seasonal small plates, cheese and charcuterie boards, and distinctive beer and wine.

some favorite cheeses with candied nuts and homemade preserves
some favorite cheeses with candied nuts and homemade preserves

We see Spencer as part of the community. We see regulars coming in for a mid-morning scone and light lunch, we see tourists drawn in by the aromas and staying for a drink, we see residents coming down from the apartments nearby for a warm, weeknight meal. We see a place with a sense of familiarity, of shared experience, of being in one's own home. We see wooden communal tables, elegant furnishings, counters brimming with pastries and parchment-wrapped sandwiches, sparkling taps of beer. We see sunny sidewalk tables, eager staff with laden trays, raised glasses and wide smiles.

Nestled downtown in the hustle and heart of downtown, where historic buildings take new purpose, where both locals and newcomers feel at ease - this is where we see ourselves. Our concept stems from the idea of a working larder - a kitchen-in-motion where customers can observe our techniques, learn about our inspirations, and enjoy creative and honest food made with the highest of standards.

homemade cornmeal pasta with pea shoot pesto
homemade cornmeal pasta with pea shoot pesto

Now nearing the end of our long process, we are reaching out to everyone we know to help us in our final push. This Kickstarter represents the final phase of our fundraising, the last 10% we need to complete our build out, buy our remaining equipment and ingredients, and get our doors open for business. No contribution is too small. No support goes unappreciated. We wouldn't be anywhere without everyone's support thus far, and we can't wait to serve you all soon.

planning, and more planning..
planning, and more planning..

Since 2011, we have been working in Ann Arbor to build our reputation under the name Central Provisions. However, we recently changed given the success of a similarly-named restaurant in Portland, ME. We chose our new name after researching an old Ann Arbor grocer named Lamb & Spencer, though shortened it to simply Spencer, which actually means ‘one who dispenses provisions.’ We like the name for its simplicity and range, while still seeming like a natural continuation from our previous work.

sample from our summer picnic basket series, 2014
sample from our summer picnic basket series, 2014

As Central Provisions, we have built a large and dedicated following. Our weekly pop-up at 327 Braun Court was a surprise smash debut, with packed tables and a rave review in the Ann Arbor News. Our cheese and food classes at Literati Bookstore have become some of their most popular events. Our seasonal dinners with local partners such as Green Things Farm and Zingerman’s Deli have been runaway successes – each event quickly selling out with a waitlist. Below are photos of our most recent Farm Dinner at Green Things, by the talented Cat Buswell.

tomatoes and eggplant, just picked
tomatoes and eggplant, just picked
Abby plating tomato salads
Abby plating tomato salads
cucumber herb salad with benne seeds
cucumber herb salad with benne seeds
Jill and Abby gathering fresh herbs
Jill and Abby gathering fresh herbs
peach cobbler over the grill
peach cobbler over the grill
hand drawn menu by our friend Claudia Kimble
hand drawn menu by our friend Claudia Kimble

Risks and challenges

The challenges of opening a small restaurant are many. Build out, design, fundraising, staffing, permitting, even just picking out a dishwasher - the list goes on and on. We are already past many of these hurdles, though a few still remain.

Our two biggest challenges now are acquiring our liquor license, and completing our fundraising.

Our liquor application has already passed the Ann Arbor City Council and is now in the hands of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. At this point, it's mostly a waiting game. Instead of treading water, we will be opening for lunch hours during this time, focusing on developing our recipes, training our staff, and working out any kinks in the system before we hit full steam.

Meanwhile, we're still working to cross the finish line on our fundraising goals. We've made smart choices about our business plan, built strong relationships with investors, and have put all of our savings into this business. But there is still equipment to buy and bills to pay. By donating to our Kickstarter campaign, or by recommending it to friends, you help us get closer to our goal, closer to serving you delicious food and cheese soon.

As a member of our community and potential supporter, we of course would love to hear your feedback and solutions to these (and other) challenges that face our small business.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A NOTE OF THANKS
    - a personalized thank you note on a custom Spencer postcard printed by VG Kids

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    NICE SLICE
    - one slice of quiche, galette, or cake
    - personalized thank you note

    (items redeemable for 6 months at Spencer 113 E. Liberty Ann Arbor)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    35 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    BROWN BAG
    - lunch for one (sandwich+drink+sweet)
    - one small bag of salted caramels (for later)
    - personalized thank you note

    (items redeemable for 6 months at Spencer 113 E. Liberty Ann Arbor)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    38 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    TOTE-ALLY AWESOME
    - a screen-printed Spencer tote bag by VG Kids
    - one small bag of salted caramels
    - personalized thank you note
    - great for OUT OF STATE friends, includes shipping to anywhere in the United States

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    59 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE LUNCH CLUB
    - one lunch per week for a whole month, each that include a sandwich + drink + sweet

    (items redeemable for 6 months at Spencer 113 E. Liberty Ann Arbor)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    26 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    STAY CLASSY
    - TWO tickets to any upcoming class or event
    - personalized thank you note

    (items redeemable for 6 months at Spencer 113 E. Liberty Ann Arbor)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 11 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    SPIRIT FOOD
    Ever wonder what food you would be? Let us help! For this reward, Abby and Steve will come up with a dish, drink or pairing inspired by YOU! Taking all of your best qualities and quirks, we will feature and promote an item that is created for and named after you, kept on our rotating menu for at least a week, and (obviously) serve you a free one. Plus a screen-printed Spencer tote bag.

    (items redeemable for 6 months at Spencer 113 E. Liberty Ann Arbor)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    16 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    WRAP IT UP
    Join us at our private Kickstarter Wrap Party and be among the FIRST TO SEE OUR NEW RESTAURANT! For this reward, you get TWO tickets to the event Tuesday, October 20th where we’ll be serving our favorite dishes, cheeses, and pairings. Plus you get two screen-printed Spencer tote bags.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 15 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    WISH YOU WERE HERE
    We know not everyone is lucky enough to live in Ann Arbor (sorry!). But for all of our friends around the country, this reward is the next best thing: a screen-printed Spencer tote bag overflowing with our favorite ingredients that correspond with exclusive Spencer recipes from our own kitchen written just for this reward. Not available to locals, not to be repeated. Includes shipping anywhere in the United States. (Out of state only, please.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    12 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    WE MEAN BUSINESS
    Do you own a business in Ann Arbor? Get your LOGO and company INFO on our Instagram, Facebook, email announcements, and opening events! Help us share the local business love and we’ll also hand-deliver a basket of goodies right to your office! (Just put it on your exSPENCE report..)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    GET SPENCIFIED
    Yeah, this reward’s got it all.
    - two tickets to our private Kickstarter Wrap Party, Tuesday, October 20th
    - two tickets to any upcoming class or event
    - one screen printed Spencer tote bag
    - the lunch club (1 lunch a week for a month)
    - one small bag of salted caramels
    - personalized thank you note

    (items redeemable for 6 months at Spencer 113 E. Liberty Ann Arbor)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    OUR HOUSE IS A VERY VERY VERY FINE HOUSE
    Join us, Abby and Steve, for a private home cooked meal in our own dining room for you and one friend. We'll share some recipes in progress, some special home treats, favorite records, and mildly stimulating conversation. Plus we'll throw in two Spencer tote bags that we can fill up with leftovers! (Dates and details TBD, evenings/Tuesdays preferable.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    HOUSE PARTY
    For this reward, Spencer comes to you. Cheesemonger Steve Hall will design and present a cheese event for you and three friends in your very own home, complete with cheese histories and lessons, beverage pairings, excessive dorkery, and possibly dancing…

    Scheduling flexible. Please, local residents only.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    COOKING WITH ABBY
    Ever want to make food like Spencer at home? Have a favorite dish you want to master? For this reward, chef Abby Olitzky will work with you to design a customized cooking class for you and three friends. Let Abby share her specialties and secrets, favorite ingredients and exclusive recipes, and get to work in the new Spencer kitchen! Of course, the class ends with a private meal, recipes to take home, plus four screen-printed Spencer tote bags. (Dates and details TBD, evenings/Tuesdays preferable.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT
    That’s right. The whole place. All of it. For one evening, you and 35 of your friends get to come and eat and drink til your heart’s content. Small plates, cheese, charcuterie, the works. We’ll close up shop and plan a special menu just for you – our biggest supporter, our new best friend.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (28 days)