Thirty years ago, Michael’s Restaurant & Pizzeria opened its doors, inviting customers to enjoy homemade Italian favorites, such as pizza, pasta, subs and calzones. Now, the restaurant has added a neighboring winery under the family’s name and looks toward the future for new growth for the business.
“Thirty years ago, I knew I wanted to start my own business when I was working as a car salesman,” said Michael Yori, owner. “My wife Lynn and I both worked other jobs and we knew we wanted to work for ourselves.”
The Yoris opened Michael’s on Nov. 16, 1987, in the former Marie’s Magic Oven location at 93 S. Lake St. as a continuation of the business, while giving it their own personal twist. Michael’s first location offered a pickup and delivery service out of the modest 600-square-foot building.
In 1988, the restaurant relocated to a spot on the west side of South Lake Street and outgrew the location within a year of service, moving again to 25 S. Lake St.
“At 25 S. Lake St. we offered pickup and delivery and had counter service as well with tables for customers,” Yori said. “We acquired a video and DVD rental business and sold those next to our restaurant for about three years before moving to our current location in July 2000.”
Even after relocating throughout North East, Michael’s food remains consistent to the goal of serving fresh, homemade ingredients to customers.
“Our menu is evolving with a variety of new dinner specials, but our constants are our homemade items like our pizza sauce, dough and meatballs,” Yori said. “Those recipes haven’t changed since we opened.”
A customer favorite is the Cajun Pasta, which is penne pasta tossed in a spicy butter sauce and topped with mushrooms, scallions and freshly grated parmesan cheese. A customer can choose to top the dish with chicken or shrimp for an additional charge.
Next door to the restaurant is the new Yori Wine Cellars, a 14-year project for the business owners, opening earlier this year. Customers can sample a variety of locally produced wines at the winery and pair it with a meal at the restaurant.
“The winery response has been great for the restaurant,” Lynn Yori said. “The convenience of having a winery next to a restaurant that has options for takeout or dining in works well with those who are traveling on the wine trail or are stopping in from out of town.”
Watch for specials, as the Yori’s will be celebrating the restaurant’s anniversary throughout their 30th year in 2018.
Michael’s Restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 20 S. Lake St. in North East.