by Rebecca Edwards and Morgan Doherty
After 61 years of serving burgers, malts, fries, and more to the Macalester community and Macalester-Groveland neighborhood, the St. Clair Broiler will be closing its doors on Saturday, Sept. 30.
The St. Clair Broiler – known as “The Broiler” – became one of the first in the Twin Cities to serve charbroiled hamburgers in 1956, when it was founded on the corner of St. Clair and Snelling by brothers John and George Boosalis.
The restaurant’s proximity to campus has made it a favorite among students and an icon in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood. Tim Hennings, the St. Clair Broiler’s general manager and partial owner, identifies the loyalty of the restaurant’s customers as integral to its character.
“I have alumni from Mac who’ve been in the building in the last two weeks, since [the closing] was announced, saying they met their wife here, or their first date, or they even got engaged here…There’ve been three generations in the process coming into this building,” said Hennings.
“My mom went to Mac, and she would also talk about the Broiler,” said Mariel Adams ’18. “It is really a neighborhood institution.”
The Broiler has had several brushes with fame, including a visit from then-presidential candidate Al Gore – who liked the Broiler’s hot fudge milkshake so much, he ordered two to take back to his staff.
But while Gore made just one visit to the Broiler, crime writer William Kent Krueger was a regular – writing at the same booth in the restaurant each morning from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. for the last 28 years.
But with extensive building renovations needed, and the restaurant’s lease requiring it to foot the bill, the Broiler’s run has come to an end.
“We’ve had a really loyal customer base in the neighborhood,” says Hennings, “but the sad thing about neighborhoods is neighborhoods change…we’ve had really loyal customers, and we’ll miss that.”
Mac students seem to share his sentiment. Said Adams, “The Broiler will be missed.”