ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Michael’s Restaurant in Rocky River is closing after 42 years in business.
“For 42 years I’ve been in the same location,” owner Michael Petrakis said. “It’s crazy.”
The restaurant, which Petrakis leased at 19797 Detroit Road in Rocky River, will close at 9 p.m. Sunday, June 2. Gift-card redemption is encouraged.
After 42 years, Petrakis wants just two things: To say thanks to his loyal customers, and to spend time with his family.
To recognize his customers, the restaurant will offer several original breakfast, lunch and dinner items at 1977 prices. The regular menu also will be available.
“I have worked in the restaurant business for 50 years – 42 of those 50 years in Rocky River,” he said. “My kids are grown up; I have a beautiful granddaughter. I want to spend some time with my granddaughter.
There’s not a good time to leave, but there has to be some time. I will miss my customers. It’s not easy to leave, to change your lifestyle from 42 years, but it has to come to an end.”
Those years have covered economic ups and downs and a changing business landscape. Through that time Petrakis has built a loyal customer base based on his pride and commitment to the community.
“I come from Greece so I’m most proud that the Cleveland community accepted me here,” he said. “To come from Greece with nothing and establish myself in America is not easy. The Thanksgiving dinners was my way to say thank you.”
For most of the years the restaurant was open, Michael’s would serve an average of 1,200 free dinners at Thanksgiving. It was his way of giving back to the community where he was ingrained for so long.
“I remember 42 years ago I was one of only a couple stores in the shopping center,” he said. “Over the years a lot of businesses opened and closed. I fought to stay there. Whole Foods coming in is the best thing to happen. The street had its ups and downs.”
Diners at Michael’s could choose from an exceptionally huge menu that ranged from Greek platters, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and keftethes (meatballs) but also “comfort specials” like meatloaf and fish and pierogies. Then there was the fish specials popular throughout the year “but during lent it went crazy, flying out the door.”
“I’m getting old,” said Petrakis, 68. “I want a little time. The restaurant business is tough. I worked 8 a.m. to 10 at night seven days. That’s not easy.
“I want to relax a little bit.”