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Posted on Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Downtown Ann Arbor's Real Seafood Company to close for remodel starting May 21

By Lizzy Alfs


The Real Seafood Company restaurant on Ann Arbor's South Main Street will be closed starting May 21 for renovations.

Daniel Brenner |

Real Seafood Company is getting a facelift after 37 years in downtown Ann Arbor.

The 7,200-square-foot restaurant, at 341 S. Main St., will be closed starting May 21 for a complete remodel of the kitchen and bar. A reopening date is yet to be determined.

“It was simply time for an update to a more contemporary space that uses high-top community tables and banquet seating in the bar area,” a news statement says.

Dennis Serras, a partner in Mainstreet Ventures, opened Real Seafood in 1975. The company now operates 16 restaurants in various states, including Ann Arbor’s Gratzi, Carson’s, Palio, The Chop House and La Dolce Vita.


The remodel will result in some exterior changes at the restaurant.

Daniel Brenner |

Serras told in February that it’s necessary to make menu changes and infrastructure improvements to continue attracting customers.

“If you want a place to last 37 years, you better stay up with it,” he said. “We don’t just take out (of our restaurants), we put back into them to maintain that success.”

Serras said the company is taking a phased renovation approach at Real Seafood, which hasn’t received a major remodel in about a decade. The renovation started last year when the restaurant’s bathrooms were completely replaced.

Other work includes redesigning the kitchen and installing new equipment, replacing the bar area, redesigning the floor plan for guest seating and remodeling the front of the building. Serras said the cost of renovations would total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Julie White, director of marketing for Mainstreet Ventures, said owners hope the restaurant will only be closed for a few days.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Sat, May 18, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

Hopefully they will publish the country of origin of the fish on the menu along with whether or not it's farmed. Much needed upgrade on the menu.

Dirty Mouth

Sat, May 18, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

I will miss the Lake Superior White Fish!

Pamela Bethune

Sat, May 18, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

I have been going to this restaurant for many years and look forward to seeing the changes.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

Are they finally going to make room to get an espresso maker at the bar so waitstaff doesn't have to run across the street to Gratzi's anymore?


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 3:55 a.m.

If I could, I'd like to request all work completed by the's my favorite place to celebrate my birthday. There's nothing like going downtown to Real Seafood Co. for dinner. It's a wonderful place and contains many birthday memories. Please, open by the 25th!


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

Time to also update the menu. It would be nice if the word "fresh" actually had some meaning, if fish were subtly cooked and not slobbered with butter or whatever, etc. but then, if people like it the way, then perhaps keep the corporate, chain restaurant feel. It would not take much to make the a really good place .... For now, I prefer to drive to Macs.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

Agree. Too many sauces. Just prepare fresh, wild caught, broiled fish without bathing it in butter.

Lizzy Alfs

Sat, May 18, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Not sure what the changes will be, but Serras did say the remodel will include some menu updates.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Mac's is pretty good. We're just too far from the coast to get "real" (fresh) seafood except whitefish. The Gandy Dancer does a pretty good job of broiled Michigan whitefish. More emphasis on on simple & fresh and less on fancy prep pls.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

Mediocre menu could use a revamp as well.

Ron Oblander

Sat, May 18, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

I stopped patronizing any Mainstreet Venture establishment after having the staff in Palio decide my 20% tip was not enough. They then changed the credit card bill and increased it. I guess they just figured I wouldn't notice. I fortunately had the receipt I signed. I called them and they had no explanation about why my credit card entry had been changed. I should have reported them to MasterCard - but just decided they didn't deserve my business again. I won't deal with someone I can't trust.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

I had that happen one time at Johnny Rocket's in downtown Detroit before a Tigers game. I called and had it fixed, and I was assured the employee who did it was promptly fired. I think it might be a little harsh to blame the whole management company over what was probably just a somewhat greedy and misguided employee. Just my two cents.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 10:03 a.m.

I had that happen many years ago at a restaurant in Ypsilanti. I called and they fixed it. Don't blame you.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

Love this place! The staff is always amazing and friendly. Food is awesome and this is our go to place for b-days. Can't wait to see what it looks like after the remodel.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

What odd timing.

James Staley

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 10 p.m.

This is so sad, I have gone to the Real Seafood company for about 25 years on my Birthday, and I was going to be there on the 23 rd of May for my special day with my special friends and NOW, I will have to find another place to go for my Birthday meal. When the best is closed there is NO where else to go, it will be a sad day for me. I have to work on my birthday and now, I can ot go to the best restaurant in all of Ann Arbor. Jim Staley

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 11:24 p.m.

Oh Jim what a bummer! 25 years is a long time for the same birthday tradition! MSV has such a big bday discount, you could try one of their other restaurants..happy birthday though and enjoy it wherever you go.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

Try Palio's this year, I did and had a great meal!


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Fish sticks or RSC? Fish sticks or RSC? Well, I can get fish sticks for dinner by just opening my freezer door but I won't get a real seafood dinner if I wait until May 21st. So that settles it! :-) PS: I still wish someone would open a seafood restaurant downtown patterned after the long-gone Cracked Crab. You could count on finding yourself at the end of a half-block long line just about any weekend night. It was insanely popular - I never could figure out why the Cracked Crab (or something like it) didn't hang on forever.

Boo Radley

Sun, May 19, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

I agree, Tru. ... my two favorite Ann Arbor restaurants were Cracked Crab and Whiffletree. Both gone :(

Tim Hornton

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 9:34 p.m.

That's awesome! I wish the cheap nasty fast food places I only eat at would fix up their insides.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

Had a phenomnomnomnominal meal their recently. It was the first time I'd been there in a few years and the decor seemed the same so yes it's time for un update. Get rid of that wrought iron between the dinning room and walk way and brighten up the bar. I'd also recommend updating the bar menu, adding a much much more creative and extensive cocktail menu.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

I never went back. Lousy service....mediocre food.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

Good...they need it.

Tom Joad

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

Meager portions of fish but pricey bill of fare.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

Given that contractors have been hired, plans drawn up, etc. they should have a good idea of how long it will take...

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

I agree. Especially if its only hopefully "a few days" as Lizzy was told.

David Muzzatti

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

I don't pretend to know their business but their winter foot traffic must be better than their spring & summer because I don't know why you would close for a remodel in late May.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 10:55 a.m.

Probably because they DO know their business.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

Probably time for an update. I would suggest converting an old phone booth into a "Febrezer" and stationing it near the door so that after dinner shopping can be carried out sans the odor of a fresh fish market. Joking aside, this lifelong fan is looking forward to a new look inside.

Urban Sombrero

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

I'm glad to see this! I was planning on taking my daughter there for her birthday. I hope they're reopened by then.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 6 p.m.

The RSC has always had excellent fare. I've never been a fan of their bar area though. Good choice to update that. I hope that the renovation goes smoothly and is ready for operation in quick order.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

"...owners hope the restaurant will only be closed for a few days." I hope so. I have a birthday in early June and I need my creme brulee!

Brighton mom

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

I gotta have the chocolate mousse!!


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Add it to your culinary bucket list, Lizzy. You won't regret it!

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Happy early birthday! You definitely need creme brulee to celebrate..I've never had it at Real Seafood

Anthony Clark

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Does this mean their prices will rise from merely stratospheric to completely out of this world? The food is great, but I sure can't afford to eat there more than once or twice a year.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

Main Street prices are a little higher, but still not that outrageous. I think they are right on target considering the cost of rent in that area.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Or for your birthday when you get a free dessert and a percentage off of the bill!


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

Try lunch...just as good, and much less expensive!

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

A restaurant closes for "remodeling" with a yet to be determined reopening date?

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

Yes, sorry for the confusion. The total renovation, which is months long, will cost hundreds of thousands.

Robert Honeyman

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

read the article. it clearly states, "...the company is taking a phased renovation approach at Real Seafood..."


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 10:21 p.m.

hundreds of thousands in a few days ? Maybe they are using the city of Ann Arbors business plan

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

how does " hundreds of thousands of dollars" worth of work get done in a few days?

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

Yes. The owners don't know how long the remodel will take, but are hoping it's only a few days.