Is Sokolowski’s University Inn closing permanently? Family owners to meet to decide

The Cleveland restaurant has been open for 97 years

Is Sokolowski’s University Inn closing permanently? Family owners to meet to decide

CLEVELAND (WOIO) - The owners of the iconic Cleveland restaurant Sokolowski’s University Inn are meeting to decide if they’ll shut down the restaurant for good after already saying it would shutter.

Tuesday evening owner Mike Sokolowski told 19 News reporter Jen Picciano in a statement:

“Unfortunately our time is up. My brother and I have battled health issues with leg problems (old sports injuries) and other sicknesses, and combined with the COVID-19 it was just too much for my sister [co-owner] Mary Lou to carry the load,” he said. “She’s a tough woman but it was too much. We always planned on making it to 100 years and then getting out. Covid just sped up our decision unfortunately.”

Mike said the restaurant was “unbelievably busy” the past few years.

“Cleveland, Northeast Ohio, and Americans abroad have been so good to us with their support. We were extremely blessed by our Lord and Savior. I can’t thank Cleveland enough. It will always be home,” he said.

But Wednesday morning, 19 News reporter, Sia Nyorkor, stopped by one of the owner’s home where a relative told her they were reconsidering and that “everything is up in the air.”

Sokolowski’s University Inn was established in 1923 and was Cleveland’s oldest family-owned and -operated restaurant.

It’s run by third generation owners and siblings, Mike, Mary and Bernie Sokolowski.

It has been closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Known for dishes including pierogi and stuffed cabbage, Sokolowski’s was awarded a James Beard “American Classics” Award in 2014.

The restaurant was featured on the Food Network, Anthony Bourdain’s show on the Travel Channel and 19 News' Cleveland Cooks.

Famous visitors to Sokolowski’s include Bill Clinton, Kevin Bacon and Jimmy Fallon.

Mike said he plans to release a cookbook in the near future.

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