Max & Erma’s closes 13 restaurants in the Midwest

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The line-up of suburban restaurants in Metro Detroit took a hit Monday when Bloomfield Hills restaurant Hogan’s announced it was closing after more than four decades, followed by the news that casual dining chain Max & Erma’s has closed 13 locations in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Max & Erma’s parent company, American Blue Ribbon Holdings, said in a statement Monday the company is closing the locations because it is “in the process of streamlining operations and under-performing locations.”

Max & Erma's at the Laurel Park Place mall in Livonia seen closed Monday.

The statement said every team member would be provided with a severance agreement.

The press release said the next phase of brand revitalization will be announced Monday.

In Michigan, Max & Erma’s closed restaurants at Twelve Oaks Mall, Laurel Park Place and elsewhere. Three locations remain in Michigan: the Detroit Metro Airport, Partridge Creek in Clinton Township and one in Lansing.

American Blue Ribbon Holdings also owns O’Charley’s, Bakers Square and other restaurants.

In Bloomfield Hills, Hogan’s will shutter at the end of the month after more than 40 years of business.

Max and Erma’s website has been updated to reflect just three remaining locations in Michigan.

“We’re the old dogs on the block, the building has been like (this) for 45-50 years,” said owner Rick Bochenek, whose father, Richard Bochenek, opened the golf-themed restaurant in 1975. He says he’s selling the building, at 6450 Telegraph, and it will be torn down.

“The property needs a new identity,” he said. “Things have changed ... there are new restaurants that are really trendy, so there’s more competition.”

The restaurant, about half a mile from the Oakland Hills Country Club, is named after American golfer Ben Hogan. Before becoming Hogan’s it was a Howard Johnson, also owned by Bochenek’s father.

The massive menu offers a lot of hearty American fare such as wings, pasta, steaks and barbecue. One popular item is the roasted garlic bulbs appetizer with Gorgonzola cheese.

Besides the changing restaurant scene, Bochenek said he’s selling Hogan’s because “the money was right. The building is older, and it was just time.”

Bochenek added: “There’s a lot of emotions. A lot of people have been here a really long time. We’ve been here a really long time. It’s been a hard thing to do.”