Bye, Perkins: University students, locals say farewell to late-night staple

The Perkins Restaurant & Bakery near Riverside Avenue closed on July 14.

The last Perkins restaurant in Minneapolis is seen on Tuesday, July 30. The logo and sign have been removed from the building and it now lays vacant. 

Tony Saunders

The last Perkins restaurant in Minneapolis is seen on Tuesday, July 30. The logo and sign have been removed from the building and it now lays vacant. 

by Caitlin Anderson

Sunday mornings on Riverside Avenue won’t be the same with the recent closure of its Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, a long-standing area staple.

The last Perkins in Minneapolis city limits, adjacent to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, closed its doors on July 14. Many of its patrons — longtime customers and University of Minnesota students alike — were surprised and saddened. The closure marked the end of years of tradition for some, and for others, the end of their late-night hangout spot.

A slew of people drove in-and-out of the barren Perkins parking lot Sunday morning. They slowed down their cars, parked and walked up to the door only to soon discover it had closed two weeks prior.

Some locals frequented this Perkins for their traditional Sunday brunch. University staff member Kevin Haroian, who had been going to the Perkins for the past 20 years, discovered it had closed on Sunday morning.

“I’m originally from Milwaukee, so when my parents would visit, they loved Perkins so I’d take them here,” Haroian said. “It’s been kind of a tradition.”

The location’s convenience brought other patrons to its door. Minutes away from both the West Bank and East Bank campuses, this location often acted as a late-night spot for University students to get cheap and convenient food.

University junior Sophi Heim went to the Perkins after a concert one night at U.S. Bank Stadium to avoid the venue’s steep food prices.

“It’s just a fun vibe at night because who serves breakfast food at night? Like, only Perkins,” she said. “If that’s what you want, that’s where you go.”

University students from decades ago also went to the Perkins for the same late-night appeal. Keith Goldberg, who graduated in 1984, said he remembers stopping at the Perkins with his friends for a quick bite.

“One thing I remember is the interesting characters or people you would find in there at that time of night,” he said.

The restaurant’s signature menu items brought in both college students and regulars, said Ally Zastoupil, a junior at the University who noticed the waiters knew people by name.

“I thought it was really cute,” she said.

Denny’s, another popular breakfast restaurant nearby on Lake Street, also closed recently, locals noted.

“I’m very surprised. … It’s kind of like, what’s going on? These big chains can’t make it anymore?” Haroian said.

While this location is the last in Minneapolis, there are other Perkins locations within ten miles in the greater Minneapolis suburbs, said Vivian Brooks, spokesperson for Perkins, in an email to the Minnesota Daily.

“While it is always a difficult decision to close a restaurant, we have a long tradition in this market/state and intend to continue that,” she said.

Many of the employees from this location have accepted positions at other Perkins restaurants nearby, Brooks said.

“I can definitely see where people would get sentimental about it,” Heim said. “People get hooked on where they go. … Taking that away is like more than just taking away coffee.”