Sep 12, 2022 - Business

Manny isn't going anywhere: Steakhouse sees big rebound post-pandemic

Manny's Steakhouse
Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

Rumors that Manny's Steakhouse would close or leave downtown Minneapolis have been swirling for two years. They've reached the ear of Phil Roberts, the co-owner of parent company Parasole Restaurant Holdings.

  • "I get a call every two weeks — 'I heard Manny's is going to move to Edina. I heard Manny's is going to move to the West End,'" Roberts told Axios. "It's bulls--t. Manny's is not going to move. Why would we move?"

Driving the news: Fresh off a sold out weekend in which Packers players and fans jammed the restaurant, Manny's is not only staying open, but starting today, it's bringing back breakfast and lunch service for the first time in two years.

Between the lines: Roberts sounded off about crime issues downtown, but he said Manny's, at the base of the iconic Foshay Tower, is in a quiet pocket and hasn't had the same problems.

State of play: Like many restaurant groups, Edina-based Parasole was hit hard over the past two years and closed Chino Latino in Uptown and both Burger Jones locations.

  • But sales at the remaining Parasole restaurants — including three Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouses, two Salut Bar Americains and two Good Earths — are on pace to surpass 2019 revenue numbers, despite vaccine mandates in Minneapolis and St. Paul that slowed business at the start of the year, Roberts said.

What's happening: A rebound in the local — and national — dining scene is being driven by what Roberts called "revenge spending" by people who sat home in 2020 and 2021, and because of less competition as other eateries didn't survive the pandemic.

  • With rising food and labor costs, Parasole chose to raise prices instead of shrinking its portions, serving lower quality food or slashing service.
  • "Somebody might go to Manny's or Pittsburgh Blue and say, Jesus, I paid $80 for a f---ing steak," Roberts said. "That's long forgotten because a week later they will say it was a fun night at Manny's and the steak was perfect. We've chosen to preserve the experience and raise the price."

What's ahead: At 83, Roberts and his fellow octogenarian Parasole owners were about to sell their restaurant group to a private equity group in early 2020, but the buyers backed out when COVID hit.

  • Roberts said Parasole will still entertain offers, but will only sell to a group that wants to keep the management of Parasole intact.
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