Metropolitan Grill to close Monday

2014-05-23T00:00:00Z 2014-08-15T15:21:22Z Metropolitan Grill to close MondayBy Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Bob McMahon’s Metropolitan Grill will serve its final meals on Monday, ending an 18-year run on the northwest side.

In a written statement, McMahon, chairman and CEO of the restaurant’s parent company, Metro Restaurants, said Metropolitan Grill was the victim of an “ever-changing food and beverage marketplace” that “presented some challenges that we simply were not able to overcome.”

Dan Multhup, Metro’s vice president of operations, said the restaurant was too big — 10,000 square feet — to keep up with the economic realities of a diminished customer base.

“It’s not built for the demand that exists,” he said.

Multhup announced the closure to employees — between 40 and 50, mostly part-timers — and vendors Thursday morning. He said some of the employees will find jobs at Metro’s other properties — Old Pueblo Grill on North Alvernon Way and McMahon’s Prime Steakhouse on North Swan Road.

“We will do everything that we possibly can to put (the displaced workers) into our system or use the close relationship we have (with other restaurants) to place them,” he said. “We are going to take care of our employees and our vendors.

“The whole point of doing it this way — we didn’t want to do a midnight run and close,” he added, noting that Metro Restaurants has notified the landlord of Plaza Escondida at 7892 N. Oracle Road that it would be leaving. Multhup said the lease payments are current up to May.

Plaza Escondida officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.

All three Metro restaurants as well as McMahon Properties LLC next door to the steakhouse are subjects of twin Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings McMahon filed early this year. At the time he was facing an auction of the eight-building McMahon Properties complex on the corner of North Swan and East Fort Lowell roads. In bankruptcy documents, McMahon listed debts between $1 million and $10 million owed to various creditors, including more than $5 million owed to Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Multhup said he was not sure how closing Metropolitan Grill will impact the bankruptcies. Metro Restaurants attorney Scott Gibson could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Metropolitan Grill opened in late 1996, serving a menu that leaned toward American classics including wood-fired pizza, chops, a popular Sunday prime rib dinner and a grill favorite, sautéed liver and onions. Early on, the restaurant’s 300 tables were nearly always filled and the kitchen staff worked “literally 24 hours a day” to keep up with the demand.

“Unfortunately those numbers don’t exist anymore,” Multhup said.

“It was a financial decision. Going into the summer, it’s going to be even tougher,” he said.

Metropolitan Grill will be open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. today and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday. From Saturday through Monday in honor of Memorial Day, the restaurant is running a buy-one-get-one-free special for all military and public safety (police, fire, etc.) professionals. For reservations, call 531-1212.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642.

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