Michael’s Restaurant and Bar
owner Michael Petrakis attributes the suspension of the restaurant’s free Thanksgiving feasts to “a difficult economy and the demolition of much of a surrounding shopping center.”
With the Rocky River shopping center’s revitalization (a new Whole Foods store has been a key development), the restaurant will once again host a free Thanksgiving feast to regular customers, the unemployed, senior citizens and the needy.
“A few years back a downturn in the economy hit my business hard, as many customers were forced to stop dining out,” says Michael Petrakis, a Greek immigrant who began offering free meals on Thanksgiving Day as a way to acknowledge his good fortune in the States, in a press release. “Then, half this shopping center was demolished, and most of the other remaining tenants moved out. My restaurant struggled — people just did not shop or do business back here anymore.”
Whole Foods will even help to supply the turkeys needed for the hundreds of free meals he plans to serve on Thanksgiving Day.
“I’m grateful to Whole Foods for helping me resume this Cleveland Thanksgiving Day tradition,” he says. “Everyone will receive ‘five-star service.’ Here, you don’t know if the breadwinner of the family at one table has just lost his job, or whether the couple at the next table has lost their home. We treat everyone as if they’re our best customer.”
The free meals will be served on Thanksgiving Day from noon to 5 p.m.