Parthenon Restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor to close March 31 following sale
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
That’s the day the brothers plan to retire and close the 37-year-old Greek restaurant on the corner of East Liberty Street and South Main Street.
But the restaurant -- which is located on one of the most visible corners of downtown -- won’t sit empty for long.
The owners of several local bars purchased the business in January and plan to open a new Cafe Habana concept in the 8,000-square-foot, bi-level space this summer. Cafe Habana closed its former location on East Washington Street on Jan. 8 in preparation for the move.
Up next for the Gavas brothers: retirement.
“It’s been 37 years,” Steve said. “I think that’s enough and now I have to enjoy life.”
John and Steve, along with their other brother and two cousins, moved to Ann Arbor from Chicago to open the Parthenon in 1975.
“We came to Ann Arbor and fell in love with it,” Steve recalled. “This was a good place to open a Greek restaurant.”
He added: “Nobody ever knew about gyros here. We were the first ones to make a gyro and people loved it. It was a big success.”
Steve thanked his “very loyal customers” and all the people who patronized the business throughout the years. He nodded to the many generations of customers that passed through the restaurant and the thousands of people he’s met.
“We really enjoyed working and seeing people,” he said. “We’ve been here for most of our lives, and we enjoyed it while we were doing it and seeing the same faces come over and over again.”
After the Parthenon closes on March 31, there will be an auction at the restaurant for the remaining inventory and furniture on April 4.
And as the space transitions into Cafe Habana in the coming months, Steve said he believes the owners will find success at the prominent downtown intersection.
“I think they’ll be successful,” he said. “I think they are going to make a nice place here. This is a good corner.”
Cafe Habana owners Greg Lobdell and Jon Carlson, along with operating partner Dan Glazer and other investors, recently expanded Blue Tractor into the neighboring Cafe Habana space on East Washington Street.
The new Cafe Habana on Main Street is going to be entirely different, although Lobdell and Carlson have yet to reveal the details about the new concept. They said the restaurant will reopen this summer following extensive renovations.
The Parthenon space -- which was marketed as a bi-level restaurant and club -- has 4,000 square feet on the first floor, with a 4,000-square-foot unfinished basement.
In the meantime, the Cafe Habana Cellar Lounge remains open on East Washington Street beneath Blue Tractor, and that concept will change when Cafe Habana reopens.