Arts/Culture
7:01 pm
Wed January 26, 2011

The 1913 Room restaurant to close after 30 years

One of the state’s most renowned restaurants will close its doors this spring. The 1913 Room in Grand Rapids is Michigan’s only AAA five diamond-rated restaurants.

Doug Small is president of Experience Grand Rapids – the area’s visitors and convention bureau.

“This is not the end of the world for dining in Grand Rapids. It’s actually something to celebrate.”

The French inspired, super fancy 1913 Room will be replaced by a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse this fall. Small says the upscale international chain does their homework before investing in a location.

“They’re seeing something in Grand Rapids that’s alive and well and I believe - the recent numbers that we just published that show that convention business is up. Hotel room revenue is at an all time high during a down economy so it supports their reasoning for coming to this community.”

Small says his group certainly touted having the only 5 diamond restaurant in the state, but says it never closed any deals.

Deb Bloom sits across from the 1913 Room, underneath a sprawling gold chandelier inside the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. She visits from Midland every other year for a conference in Grand Rapids. Each time she and her husband take one evening to get fancy; they spend a little extra money to experience the elegance.

“They have this spectacular candy apple. It looks just like a regular apple but it’s an ice cream. It just takes your breath away, I mean, the art that goes into the food is just fantastic.”

Bloom says she’s disappointed to hear the news that after 30 years in business, the 1913 Room will shut its doors this spring. It was opened by businessman Peter Secchia in 1981 and played host to politicians and celebrities along with countless engagements and business deals.

Amway Hotel Corp. President Joe Tomaselli says the 30 employees at the restaurant will be retained and many transferred to Ruth's Chris when it opens.