Sign of the Beefcarver closes Dearborn location

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
The Sign of the Beefcarver's Dearborn location has closed it doors after 52 years.

The roast beef, baked scrod and spaghetti are all off the menu at the Sign of the Beefcarver's Dearborn location.

So are the meatloaf, liver and onions and baked salmon because the restaurant on Michigan Avenue near West Outer Drive has closed it doors after 52 years.

"This was very hard to do," said Charles Pelzer, president of Sign of the Beefcarver Inc. "It's a very emotional time. It's a tough thing to do."

Famous for its beef dishes, the cafeteria-style restaurant's last day for business was Monday, he said.

"We're a family restaurant and have been family-owned our whole history," said Pelzer, who has been with the company since 1972. "I hear the story all the time: Grandpa and grandma used to take us to the Beefcarver all of the time."

He said the Birmingham-based company was forced to close the restaurant because of rising costs.

The restaurant has about 40 employees. Most of the Dearborn location's employees are high school students who work part time, according to Pelzer.

Sign of the Beefcarver  on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn.

"Our clientele is mostly elderly and it's very price-conscious," he said. "Every time the minimum wage is raised, we have to raise prices.

"This business climate has gotten to the point that labor costs are just too high. I can't keep raising prices. Every time I do, I lose customers."  

On Tuesday, the company posted a statement about the closure on its Facebook page.

"It is with a sad heart that we announce our Dearborn location has served its last meal. We would like to thank all the loyal customers we have had the pleasure of serving at our Dearborn restaurant. The good news is our Royal Oak location is open, ready, and waiting to serve your favorite Beefcarver meals. We hope to see some familiar faces on Woodward Avenue."

Pelzer said the few Dearborn restaurant workers who are full time have been offered jobs at the company's Royal Oak location on Woodward Avenue north of West 11 Mile, which will remain open.

The Royal Oak restaurant is the company's original location and the company had 14 locations at one time. The restaurants also were originally known as Sign of the Beefeater.

The company has sold the building on Michigan Avenue and the new owners will take possession of the building at the end of the year, Pelzer said.

He said he's received a number of calls from customers asking to buy fixtures and furniture from the restaurant.

"One wants a table her parents sat at for 30 years," he said. "Another wants some items they saw on a shelf (in the dining room.) The grandson of a man who built and sold the restaurant a boat that's in the store wants to buy it for sentimental reasons."

Fans expressed their sorrow on Facebook.

"It was a family thing with my mom & dad in the '70's and 80's." one customer said in her post. "I miss them and I shall miss eating at the Beefcarver (Beefeater for the 1970's.)"

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

The restaurant opened on Michigan Avenue in the late 1960s.