ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — It is the end of an era for St. Paul’s Muffuletta Cafe.
The restaurant opened in 1977 in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood, helping to make the area a popular spot for local shops.
After 40 years in business, the founders of the restaurant have gone on to open others like Chino Latino, Burger Jones and Manny’s Steakhouse.
One of the founders, Phil Roberts, said he is closing the doors of Muffuletta on Nov. 11 after some years of dwindling crowds.
“The last several years we kept it open for emotional reasons,” Roberts said.
Loyal customers flocked to the restaurant on Wednesday as word spread of its impending closure.
“The food it always good and the service is impeccable,” Terri Bamaszewski said. “We’ve probably been coming here at least 30 years.”
Roberts explained the mission of the restaurant was to bring flavors from around the world to Minnesota.
“We had stuff like the muffuletta sandwich that the Twin Cities just wasn’t familiar with,” Roberts said.
Roberts marvels at how far the restaurant scene in Minnesota has come since 1977.
“Now, it is worldwide,” he said.
But every local life this restaurant has touched is what brings Roberts the greatest sense of accomplishment.
“So many people have come through here,” he said. “The neighborhood kids have washed dishes and waited tables to pay for college educations.”
Muffuletta is a restaurant that reached its full potential, according to Roberts, fueling a community with much more than food.
“It is not just about chicken breast and spaghetti,” he said.
The future of the restaurant space will be up to the building owner.
Roberts said he is confident he can find work for the current Muffuletta employees at some of his other restaurants.