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  • By Lisa Brody

New Asian restaurant Zao Jun approved

Zao Jun, a new pan-Asian restaurant for the former Bagger Dave's spot in Bloomfield Township, received site plan, special land use and liquor license approval at the township's board of trustees meeting on Monday, December 10.

Patti Voelker, township planning, building and ordinance director, informed trustees that Zao Jun was looking to occupy a space within the Bloomfield Plaza Shopping Center on Telegraph at Maple roads, at 6608 Telegraph Road, where Bagger Dave's had been. She said the owners intend to make internal renovations, but no external changes other than signage and to have additional access from the rear of the building.

“The floor plans will be the same, with 182 seats in the same configuration as Bagger Dave's, with a different décor,” Voelker said. She said there will be an Asian-inspired motif.

She said because they were under consideration for a transfer of a Class C liquor license, they looked at parking and access, and there was adequate parking and circulation in the shopping center.

The township's planning commission had recommended unanimous approval at their November 6 meeting, she said, as long as they turn off their rear signage at the close of business.

Kenny Koza, president of Wabeek Hospitality and owner of Zao Jun, as well as the new Birmingham bistro Adachi, said that Zao Jun was named for the Asian “Kitchen God.”

“We have a Nobu alum, Michael Schlow, who is a James Beard chef winner, I'm a hotel developer and restaurateur,” Koza said. “This will be my ninth restaurant and I have 13 hotels. We're very experienced in this business.

“We've been after this 15 and Telegraph area for over a decade,” he said, reciting some of the “just got-aways.” When this site came about, “We jumped at the opportunity. You won't recognized it as Bagger Dave's. The sushi bar will have the biggest impact, but we're giving everything a fresh face lift.”

Koza said he felt there was a void in the Asian marketplace in the area, “and we feel our business competition with be Mon Jin Lau,” a gourmet Asian/Chinese restaurant at Maple and Stephenson in Troy, but that he wants this restaurant “to be a family-friendly establishment.”

Clerk Jan Roncelli asked him what the status was of opening, and Koza said eight to 10 weeks from when they get a permit, and they are close.

“You have great partners, great chefs, it'll be a great addition to the community,” trustee Neal Barnett said.

Trustees voted 6-0 to approve the site plan, special land use and liquor license transfer, with treasurer Brian Kepes not in attendance.

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