Main Conrad's Grill location closes amid leasing dispute
The main location of Conrad’s Grill on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road, a longtime oasis of late-night culinary salvation for many an MSU student, has closed indefinitely.
Conrad’s owner Joe Conrad said the restaurant is closing because of a leasing conflict with the company’s landlord, Ballein Management.
“We’ve been in a dispute with the landlords for about four months," Conrad said. "We were under the impression we were operating under a five-year lease extension, and they said that we were on a 30 day month-to-month lease."
Conrad said the company fought Ballein in court over the dispute, but abruptly lost a ruling a few days before Christmas.
“Their original offer to us was to move into one of their new spaces, somewhere in the time frame of 12 to 18 months,” Conrad said. “However, they have no plans with the city yet, and they basically offered us a space to move into that doesn’t exist at all … that’s why it was very hard for us to accept that offer.”
The location has been in operation since 2009 and its closing took many by surprise because of the restaurant's popularity. Chemistry senior Kurt Hamel posted a picture of a statement taped to Conrad’s’ door on Facebook, which stated that for events beyond their control they are “being forced to vacate the premises."
"It’s just kind of sad, it was where you’d always go at the end of your night because it’d still be open almost at 2 a.m., when you’re a freshman going out to parties or after a bar night here in East Lansing,” Hamel said.
Conrad said while the other two Conrad’s locations on Grand River Avenue and in Frandor Shopping Center are still going strong, not all Conrad's employees will be able to keep their jobs.
“Nobody has been terminated as of yet, we’re going to work as much as we can to keep everybody happy, but unfortunately going from three stores to two, there’s going to have to be some cuts,” Conrad said.
While Conrad is disappointed by the closing, he said Conrad’s will continue to look for a new downtown location.
“We were doing really well out of that location, we absolutely did not want to leave,” Conrad said. “Conrad’s is not going anywhere, we will be around and we will be back somewhere in the downtown area sometime soon.”
Brad Ballein, manager of Ballein Management, could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. Ballein is also the owner of Student Book Store and a board member of the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority.
More information regarding the closing will be published as it becomes available.