Mike Fink, who runs both Mike’s Restaurant and the nearby Guitar Grave on Congress Street, announced in a letter to supporters this week he won’t renew his lease for the restaurant because of lost business he blames on regular anti-abortion protests on the block.
The protesters turn out weekly with photos of fetuses and stand near the entry of the Planned Parenthood office a few doors down from Fink’s businesses.
In January, Fink organized a highly publicized counter protest, which fueled heated streetside debate and garnered police awareness, but did not devolve into violence.
Now, after dwindling attendance at dueling demonstrations since, Fink wrote in a newsletter he’s planning to sell or close his 437 Congress St. restaurant.
Fink had advocated for a 35-foot buffer zone that would have kept protesters from his and other storefronts, a move that would have essentially forced the demonstrations across Congress into Monument Square, but the city never implemented such a measure.
I’ve decided to close the restaurant and sell the equipment if I do not find a buyer. I have also lowered my asking price to $10,000, which is close to the value of the equipment and inventory. I am very close to giving up selling the restaurant because every time anyone sees the stupid anti-abortion protesters they decide to NOT consider this location.
He also wrote that he plans to open his 441 Congress St. Guitar Grave later on the days when anti-abortion protesters demonstrate on the street. Here’s another excerpt from Fink’s letter:
I still believe these anti-abortion protesters are obnoxious and wrong. I have been warned by the police to not yell at them with intimidating energy. I have been aggravated every Friday and Saturday morning. I don’t like the way I have yelled at, or been inadvertently rude to my customers and others because of the direct result of how upsetting their presence is to me. … Instead of protesting against these zealots I will pursue other more positive, productive and constructive efforts. I would like continue to help Planned Parenthood by organizing and assisting with fundraising events.