Michael’s is a steakhouse of legend in Rochester. It will close at the end of this year to make room for a retail development. Michael Pappas, the family member in charge of the restaurant, said a new Michael’s will open in 2016.
The Pappas family also operates the Hubbell House, a restaurant that dates to 1854 in a building that is a National Historic Site.
Veteran sportswriters and basketball coaches remember these restaurateurs for another reason: the hospitality room that was provided at the Leamington Hotel in Minneapolis during the state basketball tournament.
This was in the one-class tournament, pre-Title IX days, when the boys’ tournament was a huge event on the Minnesota sports calendar. The tournament stayed highly popular into the early ’70s, when two classes first started, but it soon would fade, as would the Pappas hospitality room.
Charlie Pappas from Michael’s and Paul from the Hubbell House had foot the bill for thirsty coaches and sports media types who knew of their Leamington suite.
One night, Milan Knezovich, a great Hibbing player and by then a fun-loving coach, wound up deep in conversation with Hal Scott, sports anchor at WCCO-TV. As evening turned to morning, Hal invited Milan home for breakfast.
From what I’ve understood, this was many miles from downtown, in a leafy area west of the city. Hal started in on breakfast, and Milan took a seat in the next room, enjoying one more beverage.
Eventually, Milan looked in on the cooking and saw the reason for Hal’s slow progress: He had forgotten to turn on the stove. “I’ll cook, Hal,’’ Milan said. “You rest.’’
Mrs. Scott heard the rustle and came down a stairwell to see a 6-foot-6 stranger cooking eggs and bacon, and called out for Hal, who had nodded off and didn’t hear the beckoning.
This agitated Mrs. Scott, to the point that Milan felt it was in his best interest to head outside and down the street, to make his way back downtown, from he didn’t have any idea where.
As a former drinking man, I love that story.
Plus Three from Patrick
Why the long-lost Luigi’s Bar in St. Paul was No. 1:
• They would cash your check, then run a tab until the next payday.
• You would call from the Pioneer Press sports desk at 12:50 and order (extensively) for last call.
• Late-night clientele: Nurses, lawyers, off-duty cops and newspaper people.