Montana Mike's closes in Urbana

Montana Mike's closes in Urbana

URBANA — Montana Mike's Steakhouse in Urbana has closed after a nearly two-year run.

Co-owner Greg Schmidtknecht said the restaurant, at 1601 N. Cunningham Ave., served its last meal Sunday and its 46 employees were informed Monday morning of the closing.

Patrons with gift vouchers will be able to use them at the Montana Mike's at 3215 N. Vermilion St., Danville, Schmidtknecht said.

He said the closing was due partly to a soft economy and partly to location.

Although some other steakhouses in Champaign-Urbana are doing well in terms of attracting patrons, "we couldn't get them to this side of town," he said.

Schmidtknecht and his business partner, John Frenz, will continue to operate Montana Mike's restaurants in Danville and in Vincennes, Ind. Schmidtknecht said both those restaurants have seen business increase as the economy recovered.

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jmh910 wrote on April 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

They closed on Sunday, but didn't tell their employees they were closing until Monday.

Maybe there's some information lacking to this story, but it seems a little crappy to put 46 people out of a job with no advance notice.

killerut wrote on April 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

The food was ok, but the service there was absolutely horrible.  In two years time, they never got one of my orders right.  Never.  

I'm not sure who was managing that place, but they need to find a different career path. 

jimed wrote on April 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Out of the 2 years they were open they never got any of my steaks right 4 of them.Other said the same thing.They told me please bare with us it take 2 yrs to train a cook.And the one before them there food was not good and the management was rude.Believe me it is not that the people won't come.If the food was good people would go to a restaruant there.People on this side of town have been waiting for a good steak house to get into this location.I have been told by several that the one in Danville was much better.Ned Kelly's was good .But it was said that the price of beef got so high they could not make a profit.


Martin1 wrote on April 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm
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Just how many restaurants have gone under in that location? Half a dozen or more?

pshadden wrote on April 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I truly hate to see people lose their jobs, but saw this one coming.  Great food, great location, went there several times and had no problems.  Went there with a group of people, called ahead and made reservations. They refused to set us together and was extremely rude about it.  The waitress was willing to do it and there was another group of diners in the same room that had tables pushed together.  The manager told us that it would "harm the flow of the restaurant" and proceeded to place us at tables back to back when there were at least some tables next to each other and refused to set us there.  (and there was no one waiting in line) We finally decided to leave, another "manager" came and told us he was sorry that we felt we needed to leave.  No "apology", no, "we are sorry".  WOW...really??  They lost revenue from 12 dinners that night and none of us ever went back.  After we left, we drove right down the street to ElToro, Martin moved tables to set us all together no questions asked.  I am sorry that people lost their jobs, but with management like Montana Mikes had, you don't stand a chance!!  This was not due to "soft economy" or "location".

mspontiac wrote on April 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm

We went once; the beef on my shish-ka-bob was literally so tough and fatty that I couldn't chew it. Service was good. I agree that closing on Sunday and notifying the employees on Monday is a really rotten thing to do.

jimed wrote on April 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Yes the service was good.

areader wrote on April 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Extremely unprofessional and tacky to inform employees of a closing like this management staff did!  Not good!

eastsideexp wrote on April 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm

This is a no-brainer....  Went to the restaurant once.  75 minutes to prepare a basic order for six people.  One of the six meals prepared was a kabob - the beef was actually still raw on one end of the skewer.  A sirloin steak was the opposite - so overdone it was completely dried out.

Never went back again... it was NOT the economy or location.... just a poorly run business.

ffg49 wrote on April 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

My wife and I went there hoping for a good meal, the server took our orders and brought our drinks quickly. 20 minutes went by and our meals did not arrive. 30 minutes and still nothing. The server went to check on our food 3 times and did his best to get the kitchens act together. After 40 minutes I went to the front of the restaurant and told them that I would pay for the drinks and that we were leaving. The manager came out and offered to give us our food for free which we accepted. When we left the restaurant and were half way to my truck the manager ran out the door with our appetizer which they had forgot to bring us.

The food was good but the service was a disaster. All the time we could hear what sounded like loud horseplay comming from the kitchen and much of the staff seemed more interested in watching the Illini football game than running the restaurant. Also I only saw 2 other families there. Its not like they were overwhelmed. We stated in our comment card that we would never be back. I am not surprised that the restaurant closed because several of our friends have described bad experiences there as well.


ddf1972 wrote on April 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Perhaps the described level of service/food cuts it in Danville or Vincennes, where there are few better quality restaurants, but not in CU, where there are plenty of worthwhile places to go at many price points.

acylum wrote on April 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm


I went there once and am surprised it lasted as long as it did.  Service was ok for us, for an almost empty lunch crowd.  Food was very disappointing.  It was no better than the quality of a Ponderosa or Ryan's steakhouse for twice the price.  That, more than anything, was my reasoning for not returning.

About the short notice for the employees.  They likely didn't know sunday it was their last meal they were serving.  News like this happens quickly in a restaurant.  The owners and corporate would know they would close, but often even the store managers don't know until a call comes that Monday morning.  Corporate wouldn't want the staff bailing as they try to finish out their last night of business.  Still tacky, but common business practice with retail and restaurants.

aantulov wrote on April 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

Never went in the place, seriously -do we realy need another steak place that makes what we can do at home easily?

I really wish someone would figure out that a vegetarian place that offered a wide variety of  the food all the doctors say we should be eating each visit would open. 

Ashville North Carolina has dozens all doing well. 

Its hard to make whole wheat pasta, rabbit food, and beans taste good, without a a couple of hours to cook and marinate and thought to recipes- give me a salad bar with a choice of 15 dressings from Thai to Texas to go and the ability to order online- and you can keep my credit card on file.

And another thing, we don't need fawning staff to serve, we need cooking lessons on site-Something I hear the Common Ground Food Coop in Lincoln Square Mall, is going to have shortly, in addition to their current limited lunch & dinner menu. 


Martin1 wrote on April 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm
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The market for such a restaraunt is an eclectic one and would be short lived on a larger scale. That is why such restaraunts are not prevalent in this marketplace.

M64 wrote on April 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I worked at Montana MIkes... and I am VERY offended at some of the rude comments people have left on here. Many of my fellow employees and management have dedicated their lives to that place from day one of openeing. We became like a family, a dysfunctional family at times but a family nonetheless. We worked extremely hard the past few months to get the place back on its feet and had recruited a majority of new staff. I have worked several different places before but I had never seen so many people give their LIVES to a business with recieving such minimal pay. Which is why I am so offended about all of the comments regarding "poor service" . Yes we made mistakes just like other restaurants but I worked there 5 days a  week and even with slow business at least 95% of our customers left happy with positive comments.employees brought cleaning supplies at home and even spent their own money to buy brooms or other things the restaurant needed because we were so dedicated in making it a cleaner better place for our customers.  It seems like the people that have taken the time to comment on here are the minority that are happy to see the business leave or have had negative experiences with Montana MIkes. We loved our costumers and I can vouch for all of our employees that they tried to give the upmost best service they could under the circumstances we were handed at times which were a reflection of our owner. If anything us servers are the ones who got the short of end the stick out of this whole situation. I really find it unappropriate to say such negative things about our work ethic or service skills because you may have had one bad experience or steak.

We were given NO notice of closing, people showed up to work monday morning only seeing a sign on the door informing people we were closed. Our management knew at least two weeks ahead of time which makes it even worse because looking back there were definite signs of closing. Food order wasnt put it which we put in every two weeks....schedule wasnt posted which had been completed for days.... forshadowing comments were made about new jobs,,,; but none of us thought that our owner Greg would have NO consideration in telling us. We would have liked to at least have a manatory meeting Sunday night at 9 when we closed to inform us that the business was closing and perhaps even thank us for our dedication and hard work. Especially considering Greg was in the restaurant Sunday night having dinner and drinking beer. I feel like I was not even treated like a person and all my hard work and extra hours put into trying to make that place better was discarded and unrecognized. Guess thats what happens in social heirarchy when your at the bottom of the triangle right? Its still sad to see my fellow employees...single mom of 5 children... people that moved NEXT door to work there...struggling studetns... people that drove hours daily JUST to work at Montana Mikes get laid off in such a inhumane way. Greg did not even have the decency to tell the closing Manager Sunday night who has worked there since day 1 about them closing down. Further more  it was just them alone in the restauarant that night after everyone left That same manager that would change clothes to cook, cut meat, clean trash cans, do paperwork, then change clothes again and come back on the floor and deal with customers  all within the same shift  found out Monday morning just like everyone else. How ethical.... yet all I read on here is about poor service. How about people start having a little bit of compassion..people lost their jobs without any warning. NO matter what anybody says, there were things that needed to be changed about Montana MIkes we can all agree on that....but on a wide scale of things the LASTt thing that needed to be changed was the staff or service there.

Martin1 wrote on April 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm
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I feel for you M64 and the other staff members let go. It was a heartless release of employees by someone who hasn't lost any sleep over it.