Mr. B’s closes in Rochester to re-open as City Tavern Kitchen & Bar

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published January 7, 2019

After more than 40 years in business, Mr. B’s Food & Spirits of Rochester officially closed its doors Jan. 5.

“I know a lot of people are upset, because it has been here for 40 years ... but things move on,” said Rochester Deputy City Manager Nik Banda. “Mr. B’s evidently ran its course.”

The restaurant — famous with locals for its seasoned fries, Slop Burger and pizza — was the original Mr. B’s. Michael Nash and his partner, Marty Tuchman, started Mr. B’s at 423 Main St. in downtown Rochester in 1976. The restaurant has since expanded to three additional locations — Clarkston, Shelby Township and Royal Oak. The other locations will reportedly remain open as each has different owners.

News of the business move broke over the weekend, shocking many in the community.

In a Jan. 3 Facebook post, the 24th Street Sports Tavern of Oxford — owned by Viktor Palushaj — announced it had purchased Mr. B’s in Rochester.

“His family is from Oakland Township, and he said he’s always wanted a bar in Rochester,” Banda said of Palushaj. “He has a good reputation.”

Rochester Mayor Rob Ray said he was surprised to learn of the closure.

“It’s a surprise for anyone that has frequented the restaurant, or really, the institution, but I suspect that it probably wasn’t an overnight decision for the business owners,” Ray said.

Ray was one of many in the community to fill the hometown restaurant during its last day of operation on Saturday, Jan. 5.

“There wasn’t a chair to be had,” he said. “It was packed beyond belief. It was certainly a last hurrah. … There were some pretty strong opinions, with people hoping that the seasoned fries would stay.”

The business, according to Banda, will be rebranded and will reopen in March as City Tavern Kitchen & Bar.

“I’m glad it’s a guy like him,” Banda said. “He’s going to show some love to the facility. He’s going to keep the layout the same, but just brighten it all up. He’s going to redo the floors, install granite countertops, and make it really nice and inviting for families and everyone, really.”

Interior demolition of the space kicked off Monday, Jan. 7, to make way for what Banda called “major interior renovations” — to the tune of $750,000 — which he said will continue over the new few months.

“Anytime you get a reinvestment in a property downtown, it’s a good thing. It could have closed,” Banda explained. “It’s very exciting. There is going to be a short time for transition, and then we’ll have something brand new for the spring.”

Mr. B’s management could not be reached for comment on the closure at press time. Viktor Palushaj could not be reached for comment at press time.