By Victor Milani
The Northfield Dolphin Restaurant, a staple in the Plaza for nearly a decade, closed it’s door today. I personally tried to broker a new deal between Howard Shafron (Plaza Management) and The Mihaleks, the Dolphin owners. Sam and Sandy Mihalek were receptive for a restructuring of a new lease. Plaza Management, citing alleged past due obligations, were not. The Dolphin did not want to leave Northfield, hoping for a last minute reprieve. Plaza Management, on the other hand, had a Stow Court decree outlining the closing of the Dolphin that they were going to abide by. The losers in this are the many long time patrons (many senior citizens) that got to became regulars. They knew the waitresses by name, who then knew the customers order by heart. Sandy as the host, and Sam in the kitchen worked tirelessly to make the Dolphin a success, where other restaurants and bars before them failed. The charitable deeds performed by the Dolphin helped the community became annual events. Toys for Tots, Christmas in July, Breakfast with Santa, were just a few of the worthy causes the Dolphin hosted. In the weeks since the announcement of the Dolphin closing, long time patrons came in and said their goodbyes. Many wept upon leaving the Dolphin. Personally, I helped bring the Dolphin to Northfield a decade ago when I was the Mayor. I was elated when it became a success, as every other venue that occupied that location, had failed. Recently, Plaza Management allegedly had another business that was going to enter the Dolphin location when it left. Rumor is that will not come to fruition either. Sam and Sandy still have the Oakwood Village Dolphin, and The Whiskey Barrel at Boulder Creek in Streetsboro as venues they manage. Don’t be surprised if they re-appear locally again with a smaller version of the Dolphin in another town. Northfield Village’s loss, will be that town’s gain.
As for the Dolphin in Northfield, the for lease/vacancy signs will be posted soon. They could be there for a while. Mayor Nehez has cited the Plaza Management into Stow Court for maintenance and building violations in the past. Business’s are not flocking to get into the Plaza. The McDonald’s will be performing $500,000 in renovations, pending Councils and Planning Commission approval. Firestone recently remodeled. But the loss of the Dolphin is a blow to Northfield Village, and the Plaza. GOOD LUCK TO SAM AND SANDY MIHALEK!
Photos By Sam Milani