Big Rock Chophouse closing December 18
By Lisa Brody
After originally announcing it was closing at the end of the year, the owners of Birmingham's Big Rock Chophouse now stated the restaurant will be closing its doors for the last time on Saturday, December 18.
“We were originally planning on staying open through the end of the year, however the way the holidays fell with our hours of operation, we have decided our last night will be Saturday, December 18, 2021,” stated Norm LePage, co-owner of Big Rock Chophouse and The Reserve. “This way our loyal and dedicated staff will be able to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s with their families for a change. They really have been the heart and soul of our restaurant and giving everyone paid time off over the holidays is a nice way for us to show our appreciation for their many years of service.”
Reservations are encouraged for final “goodbye” dinners.
Norm and Bonnie LePage originally announced the closure of Birmingham's Big Rock Chophouse, set in the iconic Birmingham Train Station, on September 8, 2021. It is currently for lease, and reportedly there has been strong interest by other restaurant operators for the space.
The Reserve, an adjacent catering facility, has been approved to be redeveloped into live/work units.
Big Rock Chophouse is located at 245 S. Eton Street in the historic Birmingham Train Station. Prior to opening as Big Rock Chophouse, the train station was restored in 1984 and converted into a signature restaurant called Norman’s Eton Street Station by restaurateurs Norman and Bonnie LePage, who began their long tenure in hospitality when they quit their jobs in 1969 and opened a doughnut shop. Their career includes more than 40 years of experience managing and operating some of the area’s most popular dining destinations, including The Squires Table and Nifty Normans in Walled Lake, to overseeing events and the opening of The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham in 1988.
Big Rock Chophouse has offered classic steakhouse fare with innovative twists, and became a popular dining destination, along with its Got Rocks, A Diamond Crown Cigar Lounge, located upstairs from the main dining room.
The Birmingham Train Station was first opened on August 1, 1931, as the Birmingham Grand Trunk and Western Railroad Depot. Often compared to being a scaled-down imitation of the Birmingham, England, train station, the building is old Tutor Revival style and, at the time of its opening, was considered “modern” in every aspect. The roof was made from Vermont slate using a blended multi-color design. The structure’s herringbone pattern brick construction with half-timber in the gables became a recognizable trademark. This train depot was the third built to service the city of Birmingham and was a stop on the line between Detroit and Pontiac. Eventually maintenance costs and lack of use resulted in the closing of the railroad depot in 1978.
The building sat empty until 1984, when it was restored and converted into a signature restaurant by Norman and Bonnie LePage. It was named Norman’s Eton Street Station until 1997, when the LePage’s and their partners, Ray and Mary Nicholson, officially transformed it into Big Rock Chophouse.