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March 04, 2008

Mac Grill last day = March 26

Here's more details on the Mac Grill closing. By the way, Brett Farve's retirement bumped this story off the front page. No one has e-mailed me about Farve today, but several have e-mailed or called about Mac Grill. Sigh.

Enough about my ego, here's the story:

Want that order to go?

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is in its last days of serving up dishes like chicken scaloppineCQ in Rochester. It is slated to close later this month.

The 68 employees were told Saturday that the four-year-old restaurant is closing. It will close on March 26.
Dallas-based Brinker International, which also owns the Chili’s restaurant chain, owns the Macaroni Grill on the west side of Apache Mall.

“Based on a number of evaluative criteria, the difficult decision was made to close this location,” Maureen Locus, spokeswoman for Brinker, wrote in an e-mailed response to questions from the Post-Bulletin.

Brinker is in the process of selling off the Macaroni Grill brand, possibly this year or next. Company officials have cited declining revenues and a difficult casual dining market as reasons for the sale.

The company didn’t comment on how the closing of the popular Rochester restaurant might be connected to Brinker’s planned sale of the brand and chain. There are four other Macaroni Grills in the Twin Cities.

Some Macaroni Grills, like Rochester, corporate owned and others are owned by franchisees.

The Rochester restaurant opened in 2004 in a 7,300-square-foot building on the former site of Montgomery Ward’s automotive service area on the mall property. The mall built the Italian-styled space and leased it to the restaurant; Macaroni Grill’s departure opens a high-visibility spot for another restaurant or retailer.

The management of the Apache Mall did not return a call asking for comment Monday afternoon.

Brinker is offering the Rochester staff a severance package, said Assistant Manager Melanie Kelso.


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This makes me sad. I have never had an issue there and am very disappointed to hear this.

They should put a Cheesecake Factory there!

They own Chili's and decided to put a Macaroni Grill there instead? It's no wonder it went belly up, they can't make the right decisions! Put a Chili's there. Please.

MMMMMMMM.... Cheesecake MMMMMMMM....

Perhaps we can get a Ruby Tuesday's to come into that location.

what is it with this town and the obsession with Chilis?
I will be holding a candlelight vigil, mourning the loss of the Macaroni Grill. Anyone care to join me?

Trust me Rochester, You dont want a Chili's...

i want chilis!! I WANT CHILIS! I could also use another hole in my head! NOT!

So what is the reason for this? I find it hard to believe that this restaurant isn't making money. You practically can't get into a restaurant of this class in Rochester on a week night. I haven't eaten at the Macaroni Grill for a month or so but last weekend we had to wait 2 hours for a table at Outback. That's insane. Is it possible the building rent or some kind of fees are making it impossible to make money in that location? Or is it just a matter of the parent corp. trying to ditch locations?

I don't know what everyone's obsession with Chili's is... Macaroni Grill is twice the restaurant than any Chili's I have ever been to.

We ate at Macaroni Grill on Sunday night and if you are planning on going there don't wait long. It was pretty obvious that an exodus of employees has begun. They had a lot of empty tables but couldn't seat everyone waiting.

It's on my list of nice places to go out to eat and I LOVE the bread they serve before the meal. I would rather go there than Victoria's, Michaels or Broadstreet.

I will try to make it there one more time before it closes, but this makes me very sad to hear.

I never thought that I would see the day when such a high flying franchise would shut down. I'll never forget when I first went to a macaroni grill. It was in Durham, NC in the mid 90's. It just seems strange that this particular location would have problems staying profitable.

Actually, nothing that the corporate owner has said points the finger at the profitability of any particular store that is being closed. Chains often pull out of areas completely when they are restructuring.

Another bland Rochester restuarant closing and what is the problem? The last thing this town needs is yet another chain restuarant like Chilis or Ruby Tuesdays.

The food is not bad there, but I would rather enjoy a meal at City Cafe, Broad Street or if you have not, try Chester's on the ground floor of the University Square (The Gallery in down-town), unlike most things in downtown its open late, and on weekend, trendy, good food, nice bar, etc. Take it from someone that grew up with Chili's in California, better they stay out, their food is lackluster at best even in the SF Bay area, I would rather see an On The Boarder come in then Chili's if you want a chain restaurant . Still seems to be corporate motivation rather than profits closing this location.

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