The Magic of Michael’s

A golden Diana stalks golden deer in a golden forest at Michael’s in Golden Valley. The postcard shows only a small corner of the spacious, richly decorated addition to what was once one of the most popular dining places in the Twin Cities. The project was close to the heart of Michael Crakes, the owner of the restaurant and cocktail lounge at 600 Lilac Drive in Golden Valley. Months were spent in the contemplative stage before the golden forest room at Michael’s officially open for business. Mr. Crakes, better known as “Mike,” designed the motif of the room around a theme he felt fit well into the community caprice of Golden Valley. The stage was set just off the entrance way in a niche that catches the air of a forest glen. Depicted in golden statues, the scene of a strong and powerful buck standing guard while a lovely doe drinks protected from a brook. This was the idea presented to Robbinsdale sculptor Bob Johnson. The theme was worked out in the gilded fiberglass for the figures of the deer and a placid plastic brook.

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The golden forest room was done in walnut and featured more frescoes by Johnson in the same motif as the deer outside. Around the dining area we see again a scene of the two deer, but now they are running through the forest observed by the nude huntress Diana. The tables were dark mahogany with curved back chairs finished in gold cushioning. The back bar was located in the center of the horseshoe that formed a focal point for a separation between the Golden Forest Room and the Caribbean Room done in a marine motif of aqua and light walnut. At the end of the back bar a gold tree swept into a triangular sunset. This tree and two others created by Johnson were wrought in fiberglass tinted in gold and tarnished green. The trees were lifelike to the details of the bark in the late autumn leaves.

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