HIGHLAND | A longtime family-style diner is returning under the original management and a new name.
Mike and Carol Kirincic, who ran Michael's Restaurant for 28 years, are reopening the Greek-style diner as Skillets on Wednesday. Skillets, which is at 2040 45th St. in Highland, will feature a revamped menu and serve only breakfast and lunch.
The Kirincics first opened the 3,700-square-foot restaurant in the Porte de Leau Plaza shopping center when it was still surrounded by cabbage patches. They decided to retire and subleased the restaurant to new operators earlier this year.
But Michael's Restaurant did not last six months under the new owners, who abruptly shut the diner down in August. The Kirincics still had time remaining on the lease, and decided to reopen the restaurant they ran for nearly three decades.
"We're going to try a new direction and rebrand it," Mike Kirincic said. "It's going to be more of a pancake house style with limited hours. We'll have different pancakes and waffles, including the healthier gluten-free and multigrain pancakes."
Skillets' menu will contain many of the crowd pleasers from Michael's Restaurant, including chicken dumpling soup, stuffed green pepper soup, a sweet potato skillet and Angus burgers. But they wanted to upgrade the menu, such as by adding Kona coffee, espresso, paninis, and Eggs Benedict.
"There's more of an emphasis on premium products," he said.
They have extensively renovated the 150-seat restaurant, mainly to modernize the decor. They expect to employ about 15 workers.
Lynn Gandolfi, who owns the nearby Tasty Olive Co., said the restaurant's reopening could result in more foot traffic and exposure for the shops in Porte de Leau Plaza.
"I hate to see any of the buildings empty," she said. "I don't think it will have a bearing on my business, but you absolutely want the buildings full."
Skillets will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and offer a Sunday buffet.