The Cloverleaf Restaurant lasted more than fifty years between two different locations—the original spot on Plymouth now occupied by the Northside Grill, and its subsequent setting on Liberty that was previously home to Mallis Coffee Cup.
Even though Cloverleaf owner George Stamadianos managed to survive the pandemic, he expected to turn off the lights for the last time at the end of December.
The Cloverleaf was founded by Stamadianos’s father, Nick, who died in 2014. When the pandemic hit, Stamadianos gave away the food he had on hand and locked the doors, he recalled for my story in the Observer’s 2021–22 City Guide.
Also a landlord, Stamadianos was able to hang onto his business by relying on tenants’ rent money, but he said he had never seen Ann Arbor so empty. Checking on the restaurant one day, Stamadianos noticed that a mallard duck had cuddled into a corner next to the front door.
He surmised that the mallard lived in shrubbery at the Federal Building across Liberty and went out for daily waddles, huddling against the glass to get warm. For months, the duck was there to greet him until it one day it moved on.
Even when he was able to reopen, Stamadianos worked by himself for months, cooking and serving orders, with a part-time server to help out a couple of days a week.
Stamadianos declined to tell me what he planned to do next. But he was overheard telling a customer, “I’m buying another restaurant. Pray for me!”
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