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After 40 years, St. Paul eatery that launched successful restaurant group is closing

Its owners say they kept it open longer than they should have.

Muffuletta is closing after 40 influential years in St. Paul. 

The restaurant – started by Phil Roberts and Pete Mihajlov in 1977 – opened at a time before all the foodie options sprung up in Minnesota, the Pioneer Press reports.

Roberts told the paper Muffuletta was a game-changer for the dining scene, offering things like quiche lorraine and fettuccine alfredo. And it had "probably the first outdoor dining patio in the Twin Cities," he added. 

Eater Twin Cities says the restaurant "set the standard" for chef-driven cuisine, and also trained some chefs who went on to change the local dining scene.

Plus, it led Roberts and Mihajlov to create Parasole Restaurant Holdings, a group of Twin Cities restaurants that includes Manny's Steakhouse, Chino Latino, Salut Bar Americain, and Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse. 

But it's time for Muffuletta to close, mainly because it hasn't been making any money. 

Roberts told the Star Tribune they kept the restaurant open longer than they should have "purely for emotional reasons, because we've bonded with the neighborhood." 

Muffuletta's lease is up in December, and they've decided not to renew it, the paper says.

It'll close on Nov. 11, a news release says

This is the second Parasole restaurant to close this year. Back in March, Mozza Mia in Edina closed.

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