Full Story: Truth About Iconic Rochester Restaurant Demolition
The TV News Headline said Michael's Restaurant Demolition to Begin Today (meaning Tuesday, July 5th). That's pretty big news because Michaels was truly a landmark restaurant in Rochester. All kinds of famous people ate there and had their photos on the walls.
I grabbed my camera and went down there to take a look and nothing was happening. So I got in touch with Titan Development here in Rochester, Minnesota, and found out the demolition plan has been delayed.
I'm Sure You're Asking Yourself, If Not Now, When?
Brian Moser, Director of Construction and Development for Titan Development and Investments, got back to me with details of the planned demolition.
Is the demolition set to start today (July 5th)? If not, when?
BM - The barricading and demolition will begin within the next two weeks. (Information from the City of Rochester says the date's been set for July 18).
I understand there's hazardous material in the building, how will that be handled?
BM - All Hazardous material was identified asbestos in an environmental report and has been removed and abated already.
How long do you expect it to take?
BM - Expect a 3-4 week total duration for the demolition and removal. (Roughly 'til August 26th).
Any info on the future of the property?
BM - At this time we are in the pre-development process and planning. We are excited to work with the City of Rochester and DMC on bringing a future development to this property.
Will This Shut Down Traffic on Broadway?
- One southbound Broadway Avenue lane will be closed from Center to 1st Street SW on July 18th.
- The sidewalks near the demo on Broadway will be closed.
Is the Parking Ramp Involved in the Demo?
No, the parking ramp is not to be torn down.
Who Owns the Property
The property is owned by BGD5 Development, which is headed by Andy Chafoulias. He has indicated plans are in the works for a project at the site and public funds may be sought. His father Gus Chafoulias bought the site in 2014 and closed the restaurant. At the time, he teamed up with a Chicago firm and in 2018 announced plans for a 255-unit apartment building, a 155-room hotel and more than 60,000 square feet of retail space at the site. He died in 2020 and those plans were later shelved. (Source - KROC NEWS)
Everyone Thought Michaels Restaurant Would Fail
On October 25, 1951, the sons of Michael and Mary Papas opened Michaels (named after their dad) at 15 South Broadway. According to a 2013 story in the Rochester Post Bulletin, it was expected to fail...hard.
Five restaurants had failed in this location, and many predicted a similar fate for the sixth. Opening night, a martini could be had for 60 cents; prime filet mignon dinner; $3.60, lobster dinner, $2.50; topped with pie or a sundae for 25¢. The supper club was a huge success. The jinx was broken.
Would love to try that 60-cent martini right now.
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Where Can You Eat in Downtown Rochester, Minnesota?
Michaels closed some time ago, and there are plenty of dining options.