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Greek food may soon be back on the menu in Rochester's Peace Plaza

Signs recently went up for Opa!, a Greek restaurant franchise, at 20 First Ave. SW on downtown Rochester’s Peace Plaza. That’s the former Jerk King/ Mac's space.

Opa!
Signs for a new restaurant, Opa!, fill a store front window at Peace Plaza on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in downtown Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Greek food is returning to downtown Rochester’s Peace Plaza as the owner of closed Jerk King moves to open an Opa! restaurant franchise in the same space.

Signs recently went up for Opa! at 20 First Ave. SW. That’s space where Jerk King operated from 2019 until it closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and downtown construction in 2020.

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Johnson Osei, the man who brought the Canada-based Jerk King to Rochester, is also the driving force behind Opa!. Opa! is a popular Greek restaurant chain in Canada, which recently opened a location in Minnesota’s Mall of America.

The timeline for an opening of the quick casual-style Opa! is unknown. The new Opa! eatery is not connected to Opa! Opa! , a long-time Rochester Greek restaurant at 1106 15th Ave SE.

The Toronto-based Jerk King restaurant filed a lawsuit in November, alleging construction work by the City of Rochester and the Destination Medical Center initiative intentionally interfered with the business when barriers were put in place during Peace Plaza renovations.

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A decision is pending on the city's request for dismissal of the lawsuit, which was heard by Third Judicial District Court Judge Christina Stevens on March 1.

Acropolis Properties, led by George Psomas and a partner, owns the restaurant space as well as the storefront leased by a Primp clothing shop on the corner.

“We are really excited to add another business – that’s not a bank or an office – to give something back to the city and the people who visit Mayo Clinic,” said Psomas. ”We are always on the lookout for a good small business.”

Psomas was the second-generation owner of Mac's Cafe and Restaurant, which cooked up American-Greek cuisine in the Opa!/Jerk King space for more than 60 years. It closed in 2017 and the restaurant remained dark until Jerk King opened.

While Opa! and Primp fill two of the prominent spots owned by Acropolis, a third space last occupied by The Luxe Beauty Bar is now available for a new tenant, according to Psomas.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

Heard on the Street - Jeff Kiger column sig

Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Jeff at 507-285-7798 or jkiger@postbulletin.com.
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