Going once, going twice: legendary Rochester restaurant auctions off mementos


No, you'll never eat another steak from Michael's restaurant in downtown Rochester again, but you can own a piece of the legendary dining destination thanks to an upcoming auction.

After decades in operation, Michael's closed on New Year's Eve to a full house of loyal diners. Now, the owners are selling off some 1,700 items from their years in business, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.

The paper reports a "preview" will be held in the former restaurant Tuesday night from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., giving customers a chance to ogle (and consider buying) a wide array of memorabilia including antique furniture, oil paintings and "historic autographs."

The famous restaurant was known for its long list of celebrity visitors, who were enshrined in a vast collection of autographed photos adorning Michael's walls (three of which were stolen last year, KTTC reports). The family that owned Michael's had decades to build up that collection; they opened their doors to hungry diners in 1951.

In its latter days, the restaurant gained renown among a new generation of visitors, many of whom ran to Yelp to describe the place as "frozen in time," a "relic," and "right out of Mad Men."

Despite its enduring charm, Michael's owners announced last year they would be closing, as they had made a deal with a developer to rebuild the property as a retail site, according to the Post Bulletin.

They're auctioning an overwhelming variety of Michael's mementos, perfect for those trying to satisfy their nostalgia, or aspiring restaurateurs – a quick scan of the auction catalog shows that kitchen equipment (like "assorted cleavers" and a "stainless steel potato masher," to name just two) makes up most of the collection.

The auctioneer's website indicates that bidding begins this Thursday.

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