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June 08, 2009

Downtown Roch. tidbit # 2 - It's red

After months of clawing to confirm a tale about the future of a Rochester downtown eatery, the shell is finally cracked.

It is true.


Red Lobster plans to move from its longtime home in the Rosa Parks Plaza at South Broadway and Second Street to the former home of Romano’s Macaroni Grill on the west side of Apache Mall.

“Yes. It is true. We’ll be going out there,” says Tom Mickelson, the general manager of Rochester’s Red Lobster.

No other details are hammered out yet. It is not decided if the building that the Mac Grill left in March 2008 will be remodeled or torn down and replaced.

Mickelson estimates it might not be until spring 2010 or even later when he and his crew begin serving lobster in the shadow of the mall.

“We’ve still got two years on our lease,” he says. Mayo Clinic is the landlord, and there is no word on how that space might be used once the Lobster is out of the shell.

The pic is from Chad Johnson's Flickr album. Very cool Rochester shots.


1 less reason for people to go downtown. Rah rah Rochester!

Better parking that is for sure, that is the reason i dont go downtown much.

It would be nice if they kept the exterior mostly the same. Macaroni Grill did a very nice job on that building, and most Red Lobster's I've seen look like glorified Long John Silvers.

I've suspected for a long time that Mayo wouldn't let them stay there past their lease. I wonder how much their business will decline without the Mayo and convention crowds? It's nearly impossible to get a seat in the evening when the bible-thumpers are in town.

BTW, I know Chad. Very talented guy.

I agree with Mike. The parking is one of the reasons we don't go down there. And I also agree with Alan and hope that they don't change the exterior too much. It is really nice with the rock and such.

Hey Jeff - if you were following me on Twitter, you would've known that back on May 5th :)

I don't know why people complain about parking downtown. I guess if you aren't willing to walk a block or two and absolutely have to park right by the front door, then ya, there are parking problems. There are ramps everywhere downtown and pretty well situated too.

there are two parking ramps down the street - arent' they free parking after 5 p.m.?

Thnaks for the kind words & the link to my Flickr album Jeff, I appreciate it!

Chad Johnson

Thank you as well Alan.

I definitely agree with castleman and dotk regarding the parking situation downtown. It is not a problem at all, unless you absolutely demand front door parking. Have you tried finding parking at any other city the size of Rochester or larger? We have enough ramps downtown--the only time I have noticed them full is when there is an event downtown, and the first hour is free, and free after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

Have you tried parking in Apache Mall during the Christmas season? You can't even get in there. Downtown is a dream in comparison.

Noooo!! Every time my family is downtown for the day (at least quarterly) we hit Red Lobster - never mind the occasional work lunch. I guess Newt's or Victoria's will be getting an increase in our business. We rarely shop at Apache, so Red Lobster, though we like them, will see us less when this move happens.

Ramps not free at all times on weekend. I parked over night a friday night. 6pm friday and picked it up saturday at 9am...i was charged either 6 or 8 bucks. what a bunch of crap. so much for being a responsible driver. i think they charge 2am-6am??? so just a heads up there.

City ramps are free as long as you go in after 5:00. My guess is you were in someone elses ramp. I found out the hard way that the ramp behind Victorias is not a "city" ramp and got stung for a fee. A REAl PITA if you dont have a room there or a credit card cause you aint getting out.

I was in the ramp that has skyways to the Radisson, the library, and civic center. and i entered at 6PM, so no not free. I believe that is a city ramp. i should have moved it to the street, but 8 bucks is better than a DWI.

I just got back from a vacation in Washington and on our last day (Sunday) I took my family to Pike's Market on the waterfront. We drove around looking for parking for a half hour and got a "good deal" on parking--$21 for 3 hours. Will never complain about parking in Rochester again! =)

Guess I'll join the crowd of complainers who're thrilled that parking will be better at the new location. I wouldn't say the parking is bad - especially if you're going to be downtown anyway - but it's certainly not as convenient as the new location will be. I, personally, am glad to see the move.

Parking at Christmas time will suck, though at the mall. The problem that I have with the parking doesn't so much have to do with me than people who aren't able to walk long distances or have to be pushed in a wheelchair, or a stroller, etc.

Definitely will miss us as we are kind of the "regulars" during office lunch hour. Victoria does not have as much seafood choice. Never mind Newts, we don't want the burgers.

What makes Red Lobster think it can make a go out there?

What Red Lobster will gain is the traffic from around town ie., Stewartville, Byron, etc. The folks who come to "town" to shop and don't go downtown. They probably don't have much of a choice since the Clinic probably wants the space to expand into. We go down there about 4 or 5 times a year only. But then we're not regular evening diners anywhere in Rochester.

Victoria's isn't the only restaurant downtown that serves lunch.

Chesters is fantastic. Pescara is fantastic.
Sushi Itto is fantastic.
Michaels-double meh.
City Market-great sandwiches

Mark,what makes you think that they cannot make a go of it out there?This is a very highly prolific area and they will do very well out at Apache.The Macaroni Grill closing had nothing to do with a lack of business.They always seemed to be busy.Also,seems to me that some people are overreacting about this move too.One person said that they do not shop at Apache so they will not go to Red Lobster as much.I don't shop at Apache much but I definetly plan on eating here once they move to their new location.Nobody says you have to shop at the mall to eat here.If people really like a restaurant they will continue to attend that restaurant when it moves within the city of Rochester,unless they work downtown and go here on their lunch breaks.Otherwise,they must not really like that restaurant as much as they say they do.They are moving like 3 miles only,not halfway across the state.

I have never heard so many people in this town complain about parking and walking. good thing you don't live in a big would absolutely die!

Right on tim08 - seriously people, we don't live in the backwoods - we're a city!

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