Tower Pizza is Now a Bistro With a New Menu — and Old Relics

We took a sneak peek at the overhead stage, the homey decor and the history uncovered inside this Rochester restaurant.


The Main Street Makeover has brought a lot of changes to downtown Rochester. 

So you may have missed the grounded plane.

Sure, you might think it looks like a restaurant, but to  owner Shelly Anderson, all it's missing are the wings.

"I was a flight attendant for 16 years on the big aircrafts to Asia so I would say this, Tower Bistro, is my grounded plane," Anderson said. "Just like on the plane, all I want is for my customers to be happy and come back."

Part of that customer happiness came in the form of which allows smaller restaurants to get liquor licenses by investing at least $75,000 in renovations or upgrades.

"Everyone was asking me for a beer with their pizza," Anderson said, "I'm happy that people can now have their favorite beer with their favorite pizza."

New menu, new dining room

Tower Bistro is the former Tower Pizza. Besides the new name, Tower Bistro is also sporting a brand new dining area, a new rear entrance and a new menu.

"I hired a new chef and together we came up with a new menu," Anderson said. "It includes fish entrees, pasta dishes and salads along with all the old favorites."

The menu also includes gluten-free pizza, gluten-free beer and a gluten-free chocolate cake that Anderson said "is to die for."

Anderson's favorite new dish is the Bistro Mussels with coconut milk, chili paste, cilantro and lemongrass.

She's excited to serve it tonight in the beautifully remodeled dining room. The space had previously been storage but now is decorated with reds, golds and black in metal, wood and tile. It seats 38.

"We kept the exposed brick. The wood is from the Amish in Saginaw. I think it feels homey," Anderson said. (Writer's Note: It knocked my socks off!)

The dining area also features an overhead stage, fondly called "The Crow's Nest." 

"We plan on having live entertainment up there," Anderson said.

The new dining area can be reached through the back alley or, for now, through the Main Street entrance. 

Uncovering history

Out in front, the old dining area is undergoing a remodel that will transform it into a bar with an all-glass storefront.

And while the guys on Main Street are digging up , so is Anderson.

"We were removing the old drop ceiling that was put in during the 1960's and between that ceiling and the original tin ceiling is the wallpaper from the previous owners, a bakery," Anderson said. 

They also found the State of Michigan Sales Tax License from the bakery, Mac Innis Don's Pastry Shoppe, which expired in 1957.

Anderson plans on having it framed and hung in the new bar.

One thing that hasn't changed is the kitchen size at Tower Bistro. Although it's on the small side, Anderson has no problem with it. 

"Have you ever seen the size of the kitchen on an airplane?" she said with a laugh.

Tower Bistro (formerly Tower Pizza) is located at 334 N. Main. They can be reached at 248-651-4660.



Rochester Hills Mom May 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM
We love d Tower Pizza and are excited to try their new menu and check out the new space!
Alan Smith May 11, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Good luch Shelly from all at RB. We are looking forward to testing the Bistro after our next open dance party.
Linda Raschke May 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Our first visit to Tower Pizza was back in 1973 - we had just bought our first home in Rochester as newlyweds - we filled the front of Tower Pizza with family & friends that were helping us move.....Can't wait to see the remodeled dining room!! :) Congratulations!
David Gifford May 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM
What a great use for that space, just in time for the closing of Main Street. I would love the chance to play the crows nest stage there some day!
Kristin Bull (Editor) May 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Great memory, Linda ... one that calls for pictures!!! Do you have some to share?
Janice Rex-Weaver May 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Great article about one of my favorite places downtown.........get my slice ready Shelly I know you will be seeing me again soon!
Kaitlin Edgerton May 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM
The new space looks awesome! Hopefully the pizza is the same... :)
David "mister ROC" williams May 11, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I will never eat at a bistro RIP tower pizza
David "mister ROC" williams May 11, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I just read this article and threw up all over my computer system. Thanks bistro
David Gifford May 11, 2012 at 06:10 PM
David, what makes you so angry about Tower? Granted, I am not a fan of the word "bistro", it would not prevent me from trying the place out. I see nothing wrong with a business trying to grow and attract more customers, everything can't stay the same forever.
Laura Cassar May 11, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Kaitlin, Tower Bistro assured me all the old favorites, including their homemade pizza, will be on the menu and remain unchanged.
Laura Cassar May 11, 2012 at 06:22 PM
David, I don't even play a musical instrument but I too would love to play in the Crow's Nest. It's so cool!
Steven "pizza lover" markham May 11, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Tower pizza a bistro? What's next Is lapumas gonna serve frapacino? I've lived here my whole life but I'm moving now
Peter Fullerton May 11, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Now Steven that's harsh. Now granted I will NEVER go to tower bistro but moving? That's a bit harsh don't you think?
BIG TIM May 11, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Oh man my grandpa is spinning in his grave! Hello Sir Pizza good bye tower!
Johnkielor May 11, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I've eaten so many manchelas/ tower pizzas over the years that I've had two triple bypass surgeries . Honestly now that it's a bistro I wish that I hadn't survived the last one thanks for the memories. But I'd rather choke down a hotnready
Patrick Mulrenin May 12, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Good luck to Tower Bistro. Thanks for investing in our community.
Rachel C. May 14, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Wow, it's sad to think I live in a community with so many close-minded people. I hope you are all aware that change can be great - and if they have all of the same menu items, what is the big deal? Try it once, and if you don't like it then don't go back! I can't wait to try Tower Bistro!
MJ May 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Rachel, I have a feeling it's one person who had a very busy half hour on Friday afternoon creating aliases and spreading sour grapes. I think our community is better than that. Good luck, Tower Bistro. We'll see you soon!
Megan Reese June 01, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Worst customer service ever! We went there on a Thursday night around 5pm and we were the only people in the joint. The waitress was too lazy to greet us, didn't provide us menus, we had to ask for them several minutes later. We order a water and a Coke and she came back to take our order (did not bring the drinks). She waited until our salad was brought out to provide us our drinks. She was no where to be found the entire time. She did not ask us how our food was, provide us straws or silverware, I had to get up to get my own. The pizza came out and she didn't refill our drinks or ask us how any thing was until I had mentioned to the bus boy and he refilled out drinks. Again, we were the only customers in there. I can understand if it was a busy night but that was not the case at all. The pizza was great, loved the whole wheat crust but I'm not sure if we'll ever dine in there again.
shelly anderson June 05, 2012 at 04:21 PM
The only thing that has changed at "Tower Pizza" is the name and the decor, It is call bistro people because I applied and received the first "bistro license" Which is beer, wine, and liquor....requirements are you have to have more on the menu than pizza, no matter how good it is or how long it's been around!!! "Tower bistro", I really do NOT see the BIG change in the name.
shelly anderson June 05, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Your grandpa is probably saying finally I can have a beer with my Pizza!
shelly anderson June 05, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I am so sorry with your bad service, Please try us again, free pizza on us.... Thank you, Management
Jen D June 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Bistros and pizza don't mix BAD IDEA
Datownie June 06, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I went to order my pizza yesterday when I walked in my stomached dropped my favorite place has been destroyed!! I will never be back
Kingcarebear June 19, 2012 at 04:49 PM
When I think of my tower pizza becoming a bistro I want to cry This really hurts Never...... Will. I return


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