After nearly 10 years of business, Angelina Italian Bistro will close its doors on December 10 in downtown Detroit. Staff were notified of the closure on Sunday evening.
The future of the M@dison Building restaurant located off of Grand Circus Park near Detroit’s entertainment district had been uncertain since at least last December due to a protracted dispute over rent with landlord Bedrock Real Estate. The restaurant describes the closure as the end result of a “favorable agreement” with Bedrock, according to a release.
There’s still a possibility that Angelina may be revived in a new location; however, “future plans to relocate are not determined at this time.” The restaurant is also “considering possible collaborations with other Detroit restaurants,” according to the release.
Although Detroit’s downtown area has grown in recent years, rising rents have made it challenging for some longterm tenants to make ends meet. This past year one major retail shop Henry the Hatter gave up a space the business had occupied since 1893, after losing their lease. The hat shop recently found a new home in Eastern Market.
In a statement, Angelina Italian Bistro’s owner Tom Agosta attributed the closure to similar circumstances:
It is apparent that the market is close to saturated with new restaurants. Higher rents make it increasingly challenging for us to follow our mission, which is being accessible to all customers for many different occasions.
Last December, Agosta had accused Bedrock Real Estate of trying to force him out of his lease with unfair rent increases. At the time he had claimed at the time that Bedrock was attempting to up the rent from $13.50 per square foot to $37 per square foot with a 3 percent yearly increase. Bedrock in turn fired back that the restaurant had been in default on its lease for 19 months.
It was not the first time the two parties had clashed. In 2013, Agosta challenged Dan Gilbert’s real estate arm over what Agosta argued were unreasonable fees.
People with gift certificates to Angelina Italian Bistro are encouraged to redeem them before December 10. A customer appreciation event is also in the works although no specific date has been set. Following the closure, Angelina Italian Bistro will be donating a portion of its kitchen equipment to Central United Methodist Church, which will put it to use in a new food incubator and food industry training space for low income vets and the homeless.
“We thank and appreciate our amazing customers and staff as they have allowed us to follow our passion for exceptional food and service,” Agosta says. “While we are closing a significant chapter, we look forward to beginning a new one in the near future.”
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